Skip to comments.Surely genocide is reason enough
Posted on 04/09/2003 11:11:05 AM PDT by knighthawk
I spent the majority of my life beside tens of thousands of fellow Canadian Forces personnel, serving the nation and actively supporting its values at home and abroad. As a direct result, I rejoice in our freedom of speech that encourages demonstrations and debates -- pro and con --throughout the land, including Parliament, regarding the current war in Iraq. Mind you, surely there is a rule somewhere that requires research somewhat proportional to the seriousness of the issue before one marches in protest or support of that issue. I would suggest that the same rule should apply to political leaders when they attempt to justify their decisions.
Attacking our government's decision to surrender our sovereignty in favour of a dysfunctional United Nation's Security Council is to beat a dead horse. Much has been written on the subject and the case has been persuasively made that Canada successfully hid behind the skirts of the UN regarding Iraq. This, the same UN that gave us "safe havens" in Bosnia, a humiliating defeat in Somalia, the slaughter in Rwanda and UN missions requiring rescue in East Timor and Sierra Leone -- to name but a few failures since the end of the Cold War.
Nevertheless, I cannot comprehend how our government can formally demand that Saddam Hussein should be indicted on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity once the war is over, and in the same breath try to justify not taking part in the very action designed to remove him from power and bring him to trial. Forget links with terrorism and destroying weapons of mass destruction. Genocide trumps them both -- doesn't it?
The Canadian government, by introducing the term "genocide" into the vocabulary describing the current Iraqi regime and its leader, Saddam Hussein, stands in stark contrast with its decision to not participate in the war to remove him. Canada ratified the UN's 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide yet, for all intents and purposes, it has ignored Saddam's blatant genocide activities and has decided to let other nations shed their blood to bring him to justice.
All of this must be compared to Canada's decision to intervene with deadly force against a sovereign nation during another war, citing ethnic cleansing as the justification. In 1999, when Serbian security forces responded to attacks from the Kosovo Liberation Army by pushing a good number of Kosovo Albanians over the border into Macedonia and Albania, NATO intervened with Canada as a willing participant. Initially, the term genocide was erroneously used to describe what was happening in Kosovo. This was a gross insult to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The Jews who were rounded up by the Nazis during the Second World War and forced onto trains were not dropped off at the nearest border and kicked out of the country. As despicable as ethnic cleansing is, it is certainly not genocide. The UN itself has assisted in ethnic cleansing a number of times when it was the best of a bunch of bad options. Following the Turkish intervention in Cyprus in 1974, the UN assisted in relocating Greek Cypriots to the South of the Island and Turkish Cypriots to the North. In the Former Yugoslavia, we in UNPROFOR facilitated the movement of people in all three communities, Muslim, Croat and Serb, when to deny them such protection would have guaranteed their death.
In a similar vein, the peace marchers constantly advertise the tragedy of civilian casualties as justification for not proceeding with the war. One has to ask where were these folks when Saddam's regime was torturing and brutally murdering 250,000 of its citizens during the past 15 years. I won't jump on the "gassing his own people" bandwagon as there is considerable doubt regarding the accuracy of the charge. There is no doubt that the Kurds were gassed and killed in atrocious numbers, but some CIA reports indicate the perpetrator was Iran. But considering the tonnage of bombs dropped to date, the Iraqi civilian casualty toll (one is too many) has been modest to the extreme compared to Saddam's record.
Surely the litmus test for Canada's foreign policy should be -- does it pass the "do the right thing" test? Bombing the hell out of Serbia in a futile attempt to stop ethnic cleansing -- the revisionists are now saying the bombing was designed to remove president Slobodan Milosevic, something that happened much later and had nothing to do with the bombing -- while avoiding anything but words to try and stop a dictator that has used genocide as a convenient and favourite tool, fails the "right thing" test in my mind.
Who can argue with "war is bad and peace is good" and all the myriad of variations on the same theme? The questions the anti-war protesters and our political leaders have to answer is: Who would have spoken for Saddam's next 250,000 victims? Who would have stopped the genocide?
Maj-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie, now retired, commanded UN troops during the Bosnian civil war of 1992.
McKenzie was always an honest man, kudos to him.
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I'm beginning to believe that it's inversely proportional.
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