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Afghanistan: Media Fiddles While Canadians Come Under Fire PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Thursday, 09 February 2006 10:08
Afghanistan: Media Fiddles While Canadians Come Under Fire

PEJ News
- C. L. Cook - The "muscular" new Canadian approach to fulfilling the foreign policy objectives of the Bush administration today again bore bitter fruit for Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan. Dismissing the damage to troops and their Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) as "minor," the national broadcaster missed entirely the damage being done to Canada's international image.



Media Fiddles While Canadians Come Under Fire

C. L. Cook

PEJ News
February 9, 2006

Four Canadian soldiers were hurt when their convoy, on what was described as a joint U.S.- Canadian reconnaissance mission, was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted along their route. The Canadian contingent, dubbed 'Task Force Orion,' are recently arrived in the Taliban heartland city of Kandahar, and are expected, according to the Canadian general slated to take command of the greater, 'Task Force Afghanistan,' Brigadier-General David Fraser, to both "kill and die" there.

Indeed, just last month, Glyn Barry, Canada's head diplomat to the country was killed, and three Canadian soldiers wounded when their convoy was hit by a suicide car bomber. Attacks have been on the increase for at least a year in Afghanistan; attacks increasingly emulating the tactics seen in Iraq.

The Brigadier-General minces no words about Canada's involvement and his upcoming role as the Number One of the Multinational Brigade in Regional Command South, adjunct of the greater, American-led 'Operation Enduring Freedom,' saying; "This is a dangerous mission. This is a dangerous environment, and I cannot reduce the risk to zero." 

Neither Canada's number one commercial broadcaster, nor Brig.-Gen. Fraser seem overly concerned with the greater danger the country's military adventurism poses for Canadian citizens, at home and abroad, or Canada's squandered reputation as mediator and peacekeeper on the world stage.

Instead, as Stephen Thorpe of Canadian Press reports, the increase IED and suicide attacks have led to "more liberal rules of engagement" for NATO troops, allowing they "fire on suspect vehicles and other attackers in Afghanistan." It can only be hoped, NATO will take more care than their American counterparts in Iraq, where un-tolled numbers of civilians have been killed at checkpoints, and just last week, a car carrying Canadian diplomats was shot at.

There will doubtless be more stories to come of Canadians wounded to a less "minor" degree as the campaign in Afghanistan continues, but few published by Canada's over-concentrated media are likely to explore their role in down-playing the nature of the conflict before the fact, the sea-change in Canadian foreign policy it represents, or the new understanding of Canada's role in further military deployments to Afghanistan, and those other "hot spots" around the edges of America's burgeoning empire.

Chris Cook is a contributing editor to PEJ News and hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 February 2006 10:08

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