Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Spirit Permeates Afghanistan Rallies

"Canada out of Afghanistan" rallies touted as "huge success"

Ah, yes. Halloween. That time of year when adults and children alike disguise themselves as someone or something else for fun.

It should come as no surprise, then, that in the days leading up to Halloween, the “venerable” Toronto Star has been hard at work describing October 28’s “Canada out of Aghanistan Now!” rallies as something they weren’t – a success.

500 protestors marched through the streets of Ottawa (population 859,704). 200 protestors showed up in Halifax (population 359,111). 500 congregated in Montreal (population 3,326,510), and 600 in Vancouver (population 600,000). In Edmonton (population 937, 845), fewer than 100 turned up.

Success? Hardly. Not in one of these cases did so much as 1% of the city’s population turn out to agitate against Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan.

“I get the feeling we’re making history here today,” said NDP leader Jack Layton. “Millions of Canadians are deeply concerned about this combat role.”

Layton, whose comments about Canadian involvement in Afghanistan have alienated Canadian military service men and women from his party, may have wanted to check his rhetoric before spewing this absurdity. If “millions of Canadians are deeply concerned about this combat role,” millions of Canadians might have actually shown up to these rallies.

Thousands (but barely thousands) of Canadians in 37 cities – far from what Toronto organizer Sid Lacombe implied when he said, “there are 37 different actions happening in Canada today, all the big cities, and even small towns.”
37 rallies in a country with a population of 32,000,000 hardly represents a huge success. In fact, a mere 37 rallies is a dismal failure.

Even more amusing is the common failure in logic. It seems that many protestors have confused the war in Afghanistan with the war in Iraq. “It’s an illegal war,” 60 year-old Ellen Schifren asserted.

The same charge leveled against the American war in Iraq. Of course, one might expect an obvious international law expert like Schifren to know that the war in Afghanistan is actually being conducted under a UN mandate.


This was hardly atypical. Many of the protestors carried placards portraying Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a war monger, despite the fact that it was actually the Liberal Party of Canada that committed Canadian troops to Afghanistan, and did so without a parliamentary vote, or even a debate.


While one certainly can appreciate the value of dissent on an issue as key and important as the war in Iraq, these rallies essentially turned out to be nothing more than a Halloween masquerade – protesters masquerading failure as success, Stephen Harper as George Bush, and the dumber as merely dumb.

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