"End the War in Afghanistan," say Ceasefire.ca supporters

Based on our online poll of over 1,800 Ceasefire.ca supporters, it is clear that the majority of respondents do not believe that the current path being taken in Afghanistan is the right one.

In fact, less than two percent of respondents still believe that the best course of action for Canada in Afghanistan is to continue attempts to defeat the Taliban through armed conflict. Rather, 45.4 percent would call for the immediate withdrawal of Canadian troops, while 45.6 percent would like Canada to support negotiations with insurgent groups such as the Taliban in order to put an end to the conflict.

The inauguration of the Obama Administration raised hopes within the U.S. anti-Iraq war movement, but it appears to have had little effect on the opinion of a large majority of Ceasefire.ca supporters.

Obama is strongly opposed to the war in Iraq, but he has embraced the war in Afghanistan and has committed thousands more troops. Since 69 percent of respondents said that their opinions were unaffected by the change in U.S. administration, there appears to be a desire for a Canadian policy on Afghanistan that is independent from U.S. policy.

The Obama Administration has made no secret that it hopes for increased commitment from allies in Afghanistan, including Canada. Despite Obama’s enthusiastic reception by the peace movement, only 10 percent of our respondents were more likely to support a Canadian military presence beyond the end of the current mission in 2011, while 21 percent were less likely to do so.

Based on our poll, a more peaceful and diplomatic approach seems to be favoured among respondents, as 40 percent believe that Ceasefire.ca’s primary objective should be ending the war in Afghanistan, while 29 percent think that the focus should be placed on supporting the UN and peacekeeping efforts.




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54 Responses to “"End the War in Afghanistan," say Ceasefire.ca supporters”

  1. SusanAugust 26, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    Problems related to low blood pressure have to be taken seriously. Of course there are medications to control it and that is helpful. I prefer a more self reliant approach over medicine because of the side effects. It is even better if the the person will make lifestyle improvements. The DASH diet was developed specifically for high blood pressure and can do a lot to get it under control. Thanks friend

  2. Sylvie CoutureSeptember 15, 2009 at 10:20 pm #

    Obama needs to stop the war in Afganistan

  3. EthanMay 4, 2009 at 1:11 am #

    Ok, So you people want the War to end, So do I bet most of the worlds population.
    But. To withdraw the troops, what good is that going to do. Everything that has been done to improve the economy and social structure will just be destroyed again. You think that there are problems in Canada, Sure, people may lose their jobs and go on benefit, how about the people who survive by doing things that nobody would ever think of doing over here.

    Honestly, you need to think.

  4. KurskApril 28, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    It is truly sad to see that 45 years of leftist indoctrination have turned Canadians into quivering blobs of Jelly.

    Why, if only we unilaterally disarmed, returned to peacekeeping equipped with nerf batons and negotiated with our enemies from a position of weakness, the world will like us.Really like us.

    Perhaps you should all go into the kitchen right now and get a head start with a dull carving knife on your neck.

    Also, while you are at it, please learn the proper supine position from which to grovel to your new masters…I am sure they will appreciate it.

    Freedom is never free folks, in case you have forgotten that lesson.The little comforts you gain today from being weak, are erosions in our inherent right to live as free people.You may have that luxury, others don’t.Why deny them that inherent right?

  5. Jane GalvinApril 28, 2009 at 10:34 am #

    Thank you for this opportunity.

    I support the ending of the war in Afganistan followed in due course by Canada in a peace-keeping role with NATO.

  6. SusanApril 28, 2009 at 3:25 am #

    “It could be argued that the decision to take on an explicitly war-fighting role in Afghanistan will turn out to be another watershed decision, this one at odds with Canadian values and Canadians’ convictions about the military’s role in the world and society.
    It also is having the effect of transforming both our foreign policy and our foreign aid policy. Our role in the war is dominating our international reputation and integrating us into the U.S. and its imperial designs on Middle East oil.
    The war’s “building democracy” cover story has been debunked by countless sources. The initial invasion was justified on the basis of destroying al-Qaeda, a loosely organized force of no more than 300 fighters. The Taliban government, as hideous and deeply reviled as it was, had nothing to do with 9-11.
    Any military action that followed the rapid rout of al-Qaeda was directed at occupying the country as part of the U.S. plan to control Middle East oil and gas. Alan Greenspan, the former head of the U.S. Federal Reserve, stated this year that Afghanistan and Iraq were all about oil. The Taliban had broken off negotiations with the U.S. for a pipeline from the Caspian Basin. According to Middle East expert Eric Margolis, “In early 2001, six or seven months before 9-11, Washington made the decision to invade Afghanistan, overthrow Taliban, and install a client regime that would build the energy pipelines.
    “The U.S. blithely “appointed” Karzai as interim president and then manipulated the political process to ensure that he won the subsequent election. A former consultant for U.S. oil giant Unocal, Karzai (a former Taliban supporter) was part of negotiations between the Taliban and Unocal for a gas pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India from the Caspian Basin.
    His support is American fire power and cash and Afghan opium producers.His election was the result of systematic manipulation by the U.S. and by the changing of the 1964 secular constitution to one that declared Islam supreme: no laws could violate “the sacred religion of Islam.” The new Political Parties Law also restricted parties
    Following his own election, Karzai appointed some of the most reviled war lords in the country to senior posts, including Abdul Rashid Dostum, known as the “butcher of the north” to be the new army chief of staff. All of this, of course, was done with the approval and connivance of the U.S.
    The definitive piece of evidence about the real goals in Afghanistan arrived a few weeks ago with the announcement that Afghanistan had signed a major deal to build the pipeline the U.S. has wanted all along. If the reports are accurate, the $8 billion pipeline will go through the southern part of the country — and right through Kandahar. With this final piece of the puzzle in place, Canada’s role becomes even more clear: a private protection force for the American pipeline.”

    quotes from Murray Dobbin, 2008, from The Tyee online newspaper

    I pity the naive soldiers and their families sacrificing their health and their lives for unethical corporate shareholders.
    I believe the only way for Canada to become honorable once again, is for all of us to become ethical in our money-spending, investing, and banking institutions. Right now, all banks of Canada are partners in the Security Prosperity Plan in deep harmonization with the U.S. All Canadians are directly involved in funding these wars through our CPP payments and our banks.
    We must become ethically responsible, before we can expect others to.
    Join local Credit Unions. Support independent media, resist buying the warmongers newspapers!
    For an eyeopener check out the website “The Canadian Council of Chief Executives.ca”

  7. Mark CollinsApril 27, 2009 at 10:06 pm #

    A response to Mr Staples, at “The Torch” (and, if one should take the time to look at posts at that blog, one will see that a fairly broad perspective about events in Afstan is given). In the case of Mr Staples’ post above a certain amount of disdain was inevitable:

    “Guess what? Ceasefire.ca readers oppose Afghan mission”


  8. LindaApril 27, 2009 at 9:35 pm #

    I agree with those who say we developed our reputation as peacekeepers starting with Lester Pearson & that’s where we should return. Afghanistan has never been stable – not ever in history. What makes any nation believe that they can make any real difference if historically it’s always been a loosing game. Either get out altogether or send in PEACE KEEPERS only and end this madness.

  9. Jeanette CampbellApril 27, 2009 at 9:32 pm #

    Hip hip hurrah…all Canadian soldiers out of Afghanistan now…Canadians do not want to see their soldiers coming home in body bags fighting another useless armed conflict in the Middle East. The resources of the Canadian military would be put to better use in peacekeeping efforts around the globe.

  10. lorna sutherlandApril 27, 2009 at 8:41 pm #

    If the majority of people vote for Canadian soldiers to be in Afganistan I think this should be done through the United Nations.
    Personally I do not beleive in war to change peoples cultural and or religious beliefs. The people who live in Afganistan must beleive in wanting the change themselves and not support war because of how their people have evolved. They are multiethnic and multiracial and must learn to get along with each other. If we can help in a social way by student and people exchange rather than by soldiers I am all for Canadians being there. I am only for our Canadian boys defending their own country because promoting democracy is a good idea but must be given to the people in a different way because violence is not a good model
    I feel for the Afghanistan women and children but western women’s rights were slow to evolve over time as well.
    Canada does not have a large population and we do not need our soldiers to die when they cannot change the talibans attitudes and beliefs in the short term.
    I am grateful to live in a free country but I would not want my family involved in war unless it was to stand on guard for Canada
    Perhaps the attack is teaching the men about violence against women and its traumatic results to everyone
    Lorna Sutherland

  11. jimApril 27, 2009 at 8:28 pm #

    Eliminate the demand for drugs in Canada and the U.S., and you will defeat the Taliban and other extremists.

  12. AnnaApril 27, 2009 at 8:17 pm #

    I can’t believe Canadians haven’t put enough pressure to pull the troops out of Afghanistan. Let’s bring our country back to a peacekeeping country and not a get sucked into US policies.

  13. Roland RainvilleApril 27, 2009 at 7:19 pm #

    I wrote an important document (6 pages) about the basic history of Afghanistan from 1979 to 2001. I can’t understand why nobody seems to know what happens in this remote country, before the western world agreed to go to war against it, October 7th 2001, under the direction of the Bush govenment.

    I am trying to include my document herewith. If I don’t succeed, please give me an address so I could forward it to you as soon as possible. My sole and unique hope is to inform all people of the world. I am not looking for money.

    (To better understand the government of our friends and neighbours to the South, Part II)

    In his book Nemesis, the American author Chalmers Johnson writes (page 110): “The Carter administration deliberately provoked the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which occurred on Christmas Eve 1979.” On July 3, 1979, President Jimmy Carter signed a highly secret finding authorizing secret aid to the opponents of the People’s Democratic Party, the pro-Soviet government of Afghanistan which favored women’s education. Former CIA director, Robert Gates acknowledges that the U.S. had begun to aid the anti-Soviet mujahideen guerrillas, six months before the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. According to Zbignief Brzezinski, U.S. national security advisor, it was hoped that the American aid to the Afghanistan rebellion would provoke a full scale Soviet military intervention in this country. President Carter wanted to tie down the USSR and so prevent its leaders from taking advantage of the anti-American revolution in Iran. Shortly before, this revolution had forced the shah (associated to the U.S.) of Iran out of his country. In Teheran, Capital of Iran, university students had isolated the U.S. embassy employees, which resulted in the famous U.S. hostages crisis.

    The Afghan anticommunist revolt began in the west of the country, March 1979. Its purpose was to stop a modern initiative of the Afghan government making possible for Afghan girls to go to high schools. Three countries, the U.S., Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia came to support the rebels. Each of these three countries had various motives in their move against the pro-Soviet government. However, the U.S. did not take these differences seriously until 1990, when the radical Islamist Taliban established, in Kabul, a fundamentalist government of the most extreme sort. This government, which was recognized only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, granted Osama bin Laden freedom of action and offered him protection against American efforts to capture or kill him.

    In the 1980s, in view of the Cold War, the Reagan White House and the CIA wanted to see many Soviet soldiers killed. Both also hoped to see the U.S. credibility restored. They felt that this credibility had been lost when the shah of Iran (supported by the U.S.) was overthrown in 1979. Other than favoring the invasion of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan, and killing Soviet soldiers, the CIA had no coherent strategy for its action in this country. The CIA officers seemed rather ignorant of the history, culture, religion, and aspirations of their allies. The CIA Director, William Casey, knew about nothing regarding Islam and the grievances of the Middle East nations against U.S. imperialism. He was a catholic and saw political Islam and the Catholic Church as natural allies in covert actions against the Soviets. He thought that the USSR wanted to strike at the U.S. in Central America and in the oil-producing states of the Middle East. Casey supported Islam as an answer to the Soviet Union’s atheism. In Pakistan (located immediately east of Afghanistan), the Muslim organization Jamaat-e-Islami was strongly backed by the Pakistani army, and Casey, more than any other American, was responsible for creating an alliance which included the CIA, Saudi intelligence, and the intelligence forces of General Mohammed Zia-Hul-Haq, Pakistan military dictator from 1977 to 1988. At the suggestion of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) organization, Casey arranged for the printing of thousands of copies of the Koran, and the distribution of these copies in both Afghanistan and Soviet Uzbekistan. Without presidential authority, he fomented Muslim attacks inside the USSR, and he always maintained that the CIA clandestine officers were too timid. He preferred the aggressive attitude of his friend, Oliver North, the marine lieutenant colonel at the heart of the Iran-contra scandal. As a top Reagan administration official, North had organized, during the war between Iran and Iraq (1980-1988), the covert selling of weapons to Iran (for use against Iraq) in order to generate funds for the Nicaragua Contra rebels (promoted by the U.S. government). Such activity was in direct violation of U.S. law.

    A most remarkable aspect of the CIA’s operations in Afghanistan was the roles played by two out-of-control Americans. One was Charlie Wilson, a member of the Appropriations Committee of Congress; the other, Gust Avrakotos, a ruthless CIA clandestine services officer, who worked rather independently of any supervision. Avrakotos, the son of a Greek immigrant, joined the CIA in 1961 and was later recruited by the head of the Afghan program, John McGaffin, who said to him: «If it is really true that you have nothing to do, why not come upstairs? We’re killing Russians.» He became the street fighter who worked in arming the tribesmen of Afghanistan with Kalashnikovs and Stinger surface-to-air shoulder-fired missiles. Under the covert guidance of both Wilson and Avrakotos, the CIA flooded Afghanistan with an incredible array of very dangerous weapons and moved to equip and train holy warriors in the art of waging a war of urban terror against the USSR.

    In 1976, Charlie Wilson had become a member of the House Appropriations committee. Shortly after he was appointed to the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. There, he soon discovered that the CIA’s budget and 40 % of the Pentagon’s budget were totally hidden from the public and from most congressmen. In these conditions, he could add to any project, any amount of money he personally favoured. In 1986, he was finally able to join the Houses’s Intelligence Committee, which added to his ability to earmark doubling and tripling the secret funds he could direct to Afghan operations. In 2005, Wilson had become a lobbyist for Pakistan and declared in an interview: «We would never have won the (anti-Soviet Afghan) war if it had not been for earmarking, because the CIA would never have spent the money the way we wanted it to.»

    Wilson came under the influence of the charismatic head of Pakistan’s army, General Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq. In 1977, Zia had seized power, declared martial law, and in 1979 he hanged the president, Zulficar Alli Butto, who had promoted him. (Zulficar Alli was the father of Benazir Butto, who was assassinated in Pakistan in December 2007). In retaliation to the assassination of Alli Butto, President Carter cut off all U.S. aid to Pakistan. However, in 1980, Congressman Wilson visited Pakistan and came close to Zia. For the first time, he learned about the heroic anti communist mujahideen who were fighting against the Soviet Union across the border in Afghanistan, and he became a convert to their cause. He used secret earmarked funds to restore U.S. aid money to Pakistan, and added several million dollars to the CIA’s efforts to arm the Afghan guerillas. The Saudi Arabia government secretly matched each dollar supplied by the CIA. Pakistan provided the fighters with sanctuary, training, arms, and even sent its own officers into Afghanistan as military advisers. Saudi Arabia served as the fighters’ bankers, providing hundreds of millions with no strings attached. Many governments, including Egypt, China and Israel also supplied arms secretly.

    However, Pakistan’s motives in Afghanistan had nothing to do with those of the U.S. Zia was a devout Muslim and a passionate supporter of Islamic groups in Afghanistan. He feared that Pakistan might eventually be squeezed between a Soviet dominated Afghanistan and a hostile India. He was also concerned about an independence movement among the Pashtuns, the largest tribal group in Afghanistan and one of the largest in Pakistan, that, if successful, might cause the breakup of Pakistan. Zia demanded that all weapons and aid for the Afghans, from whatever source, first pass through the hands of Pakistan’s military intelligence, the ISI. The CIA fully agreed. In doing so, the CIA contributed to lay the foundation for the decimation of Afghanistan and for the rise of the Taliban.

    In cooperating with Zia, Congressman Wilson’s major preoccupation was to supply Afghans with the most effective weapons against the Soviet’s very feared weapon, the Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship. Wilson favoured the Oerlikon antiaircraft gun made in Switzerland. However, his CIA partner Avrakotos considered the Oerlikon too heavy for the work of guerillas. After months of controversy, it was finally agreed to supply the far lighted American-made Stinger shoulder-fired missile. The Stinger proved to be very murderous, and, in April 1888, the head of the USSR, Gorbachef, decided to bring the Soviet troops back home. The terrible war had come to and end, but only temporarily.

    Until 1973, Afghanistan had been a functioning state with a healthy middle class. In April 1978, interfered to support the government. In 1979, the rebellion, then the war, involved by chronological order: 1- the, local rebels in March, 2- neighbourcountries, 3- the CIA, July 3rd, and 4- the USSR forces, end of December. The country became a warring collection of tribes, Islamic sects, and heroin-producing warlords. The war killed 1.8 million Afghans, and produced a few millions wounded. 2.6 million became refugees*; ten million land mines were left strewn around the country. Roads, bridges, electricity and water services were very much damaged. On the other hand, the war took the lives of 15,000 Soviet soldiers. Then, the warlord of Afghanistan, Hekmatyar, started to put in place a clandestine plan to eliminate his rivals and to establish his Islamic party, as the most powerful national force in Afghanistan.

    In 1989, the Berlin wall fell. In 1991, the USSR imploded, and the U.S. lost all interest in Afghanistan. In Kabul, the pro-Soviet government which had organized the education of Afghan ladies, remained in power. However, Hekmatyar soon plunged Afghanistan into a civil war. In 1994, both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia transferred their secret support to the recently created Taliban, the most military effective power among the warring groups. In September 1996, the Taliban conquered Kabul. Then, they killed the formerly Soviet backed President Najibullah, expelled 8 000 female undergraduate students from Kabul University, and fired a similar number of women schoolteachers. They also granted Osama bin Laden freedom of action, and offered him protection against American efforts to capture or kill him. Shortly before his death, Najibullah had told reporters: “ If fundamentalism comes to Afghanistan, war will continue for many years. Afghanistan will turn into a centre of world smuggling for narcotic drugs. Afghanistan will be become a centre for terrorism.” His predictions proved fully accurate.

    The finding signed by President Carter, the 3rd of July, 1979, which, the U.S. government had hoped, would favour the intervention of USSR troops in Afghanistan, had succeeded fully. After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1988, the CIA continued to support Pakistani initiatives; it also aided Heckmatyar’s successor, Mullah Omar, leader of the Taliban. At this moment, the CIA watched Afghanistan descend into one of the most horrific civil wars of the 20th century. It awoke of its naïve and ill-informed reading of Afghan politics, only after Osama bin Laden bombed the U.S. embassies in both Nairobi and Dar es Salam, August 7th, 1998. Even then, the CIA considered that the Islamist threat consisted almost exclusively in terms of Osama bin Laden’s leadership of al Qaeda. The CIA failed to see the larger context, including the policies of Pakistani military intelligence, or the funds flowing to the Taliban and al-Qaeda from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It devoted itself solely to trying to capture or kill bin Laden himself.

    On August 20th, 1998, President Clinton signed a top secret finding authorizing the CIA to use lethal force against bin Laden. The same day, he ordered seventy-five cruise missiles, costing $750 000 each, to be fired at a camp (seven miles south of Khost) where al-Qaeda was meeting. The attack killed twenty-one Pakistani, but bin Laden had been forewarned by Saudi or Pakistan intelligence. Following the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York and of the heavy damage of the Pentagon in Washington, on September 11th, 2001, President Bush decided, without the authorization of the United Nations, that the U.S. should invade Afghanistan. The invasion occurred on October 7th, 2001. Officially the purpose was to kill or capture the terrorist enemies of the United States. The first of such enemies was Osama bin Laden who, in the 1980s, had worked with the CIA to kill Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan. So far, Bin Laden has survived the U.S. attacks.

    In fighting against terrorism, the CIA organized secretly, under the President orders, the illegal kidnappings of terror suspects in several countries, including Italy and Sweeden. According to Chalmers Johnson, there is no evidence that such illegal activities have contributed to the security of the U.S. According to Dan Coleman, retired FBI agent, who blew the whistle on the CIA’s torturing of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay: “ They (CIA and U.S. government) loved that these guys would just disappear off the books, and never be heard of again. They were proud of it”. Detained suspected terrorists are known as “ghost detainees”, completely off the books. No charges are ever filed against them, and they are hidden from the inspectors of the International Committee of the Red Cross. No one knows the exact number of illegal kidnappings that have taken place after September 11, but the New York Times quotes former government officials as saying: “Since the September attacks, the CIA has flown 100 to 150 suspected terrorists from one foreign country to another.” The London Times, CBS News 60 Minutes, and other sources were able to identify at least 600 flights of CIA airplanes to forty different countries, including 30 trips to Jordan, 19 to Afghanistan, 17 to Morocco, 16 to Iraq, with stops in Egypt, Lybia, and Guantanamo. Aircraft known to be involved in kidnapping operations have landed at British airports at least 210 times since September 11. In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush observed that “more than 3000 terrorists have been arrested in many countries, and many others have met a different fate. Let’s put it this way: “They are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies”. Human Rights Watch has identified at least twenty-four secret detention and interrogation centres worldwide operated by the CIA. These include al-Jafr prison in a Jordan desert; Kohat prison in Pakistan; holding sites in the cities of Kabul and Kandahar, and the Bagram Air base and Camp Salerno, near Khost, all in Afghanistan; three locations in Iraq, including parts of Abu Ghraib prison; the Camp Echo complex and the new Camp 6 at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; a secret location at al-Udeib Air Base, Qatar; prisons in Egypt, Thailand, and in brigs of U.S. ships at sea; at least two CIA prisons in two old Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe, probably Poland and Romania; in Morocco a secret police headquarters in Temara, and at the new CIA torture centre under construction at Ain Aouda, south of Rabat; and possibly at U.S. naval base on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

    *In the middle of 1984, according to American authors Shaista Wahab and Barry Youngerman (A BRIEF HISTORY OF AFGHANISTAN, see references), about five million Afgans were expelled from their country, mainly to Pakistan but also to Iran. On more million were to join them in the following years. More than one million countrymen found refuge in Kabul, the capital, and several thousands in other cities.


    1-Chalmers Johnson, NEMESIS, Metropolitan Books, New York, 2006, pages 110 to 136. Chalmers Johnson, historian, journalist and writer, has consulted several CIA censored reports and documents, declassified a few years ago. His book Nemesis is available at the Ottawa Public Library.

    2-Shaista Wahab and Barry Youngerman, A BRIEF HISTORY OF AFGHANISTAN, Copyright ©2007 by Infobase Publishing, New York, 308 pages.

    3-Anthony Arnold, AFGHANISTAN (The Soviet Invasion in Perspective), Hoover Press Publications 251, printed in the United States of America, 1981, 126 pages.

    4-Kathy Gannon, I IS FOR INFIDEL (from holy war to holy terror: 18 years inside Afghanistan), published in the United States by Public Affairs, a member of the Perseus Book Group, 2005, 186 pages.

    Roland Rainville,
    Ottawa, March 24, 2008

    I was born in St-Prime, Lake St. John, Qc, Canada, in 1930. Classical studies in Chicoutimi: 1943-1951. Studies in sociology, political sciences and public administration: Laval University, Québec, 1951-1955. Career: National Film Board of Canada, 26 years of which three in Buenos Aires, from March 1965 to August 1968, where I represented the National Film Board in South America. Quebec Government, assistant to the Director General of the Quebec Film Board, 1963-1965. Canada Foreign Affairs, ten years of which three in Mexico as Cultural and Information Counsellor, Canadian Embassy in Mexico, 1971 to 1974. Retired in March 1994.

  14. RickApril 27, 2009 at 3:34 pm #

    Clear & simple: let’s get Canada back to the status it used to enjoy . . . as a keeper of the peace and a bringer of social programs and social justice. If we truly build security, safety, and good lives for Afghanis, what the Taliban offer won’t have a chance. So get Canadian troops out of combat roles, decouple us from US policy and imperialist ambitions, and start bandaging people rather than bombing them.

  15. alois amannApril 27, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    Canada’s decision makers are required to advance policies favorable to corporate interests, especially those that have multinational connections through partnerships with foreign firms.

    Not a single member of any country’s financial elite would intentionally diminish profit or personal compensation for idealistic concerns. That goes against corporate charters.

    Whenever I hear justifications for foreign intervention rife with topics like “rape,” “drugs” or “extremism,” I suspect the writer is likely to benefit from the economic advantage of continued exploitation.

    That, or else they possess the curiously American trait of wanting the rest of the world to ape their bad behavior. There are a lot of Americans on Saltspring, eh Percy?

  16. Cathy MaritnApril 27, 2009 at 11:00 am #

    While I agree that we should support the UN and return to our role as peacekeepers, I strongly disagree with the stand on Afghanistan. I watched those brave Afghan women demonstrating against the imposition of Sharia Law in terror for them. They found the strength because countries like Canada are there and our loud response supported their battle. Violence against women in any form is a good reason for us to be there.

  17. Cathy MaritnApril 27, 2009 at 11:00 am #

    While I agree that we should support the UN and return to our role as peacekeepers, I strongly disagree with the stand on Afghanistan. I watched those brave Afghan women demonstrating against the imposition of Sharia Law in terror for them. They found the strength because countries like Canada are there and our loud response supported their battle. Violence against women in any form is a good reason for us to be there.

  18. C. RahnApril 27, 2009 at 10:08 am #

    I am in accord with the survey results. Canada should keep its policy independent of the US and contintue its fine tradition of peackeeping, peace making, and disarmament efforts.

  19. D. W. DietrichApril 27, 2009 at 9:20 am #

    It is heartening to see the results. The key question for me is how more Canadian people can be convinced that in this day and age, the misuse of human imagination and planet resources especially in the exercise of war as a solution to conflict is not only counter-productive but absolutely geo-cidal. Our memories are short. So try this thought experiment now. If the Taliban had the power to impose their values in Canada through violence and war, what would we do? Fear and violence breeds more. To break this cycle, I believe we need to show the very example we seek to promote. Every child knows that bullies, no matter what their good intentions, cannot provide a healthful play-ground. We Canadians need to return to peace-keeping, at home, especially with the Indigenous peoples, and abroad, within a fair United Nations’ framework.

  20. Clarise & Garnet MacLachlanApril 27, 2009 at 9:12 am #

    We are known as a peacekeeping nation. I really resent anyone who thinks that we Canadians are weak and are not able to hold our own in the field of fighting for freedom and anyone who thinks this way should read our history books, not the American or British history books. I resent also Steven Harpers policies that tend toward the American way of thinking and their policies. We are a proud and strong nation and we should begin by stopping the spread of arms for profit and should train our peacekeeping forces to start negotiating with all nations who are at war with each other. Somehow there has to be a road to peace and I know that it can begin with Canadian policies not American.

  21. sharonApril 27, 2009 at 2:25 am #

    When all the words are said, what remains . . . innocent blood is still being spilled.

    Canadians have been sheilded from truth, comforted with toys/hobbies, blinded from poverty in their own country.

    Our military fought to end all wars, to never have our Canadians killed in battle ever again . . . what has happened, who is responsible for this change to an aggressor.

    No matter how learned the speech, fact-filled the reports, the final feeling I have is a deep yearning for the withdrawal from military conflicts and messing with other communities and countries.

  22. DavidApril 27, 2009 at 1:01 am #

    The answer is peace. With peace we can develop goodwill by supporting the educated people of Afghanistan to make a difference in their homeland.

    We only need military action to fire bomb the poppy fields with drones to stem the flow of narcotics around the world.

  23. JohnApril 27, 2009 at 12:18 am #

    I am a pacifist, i hate the institution of war to solve indifferences in race, colour of skin, ideology, or religion.
    Therefore Canada is not recognizing this simple concept of love your neighbours.!
    Communicating in a non-judgemental, unbiased, opened-minded manner is the first step of making your enemies, friends…. without resorting to the use of modern warfare weapons,to solve these simple indifferences.

    My god tells me to love my brothers and sisters! and this is how i conduct my life, embracing hunanity with love from my heart!
    I am blessed by the creator, with positive energy.

    I say! no to war and Canada should return to peace keeping tours elsewhere out of Afghanistan immediately!

  24. RanaApril 26, 2009 at 10:56 pm #

    PS: Thank you Rowan Percy and Angus Cunnigham for your perceptive and articulate thoughts.

  25. RanaApril 26, 2009 at 10:33 pm #

    Although I do agree that the removal of troops from Afghanistan is something that requires immediate attention, I think it’s a shame that only 15% of the pie goes to disarmament and promotion of treaties reducing nuclear weapons/ preventing space weapons. Disarmament is the first step towards towards disabling war… of course, as mentioned above by Barbara Cooper, once profit is taken out of the equation, as in stopping arms dealing, disarmament all of a sudden is no longer the behemoth task it is now… one way or another, regardless of what Ceasefire’s PRIMARY focus will be for the time being, I hope that you will always keep an eye on each of these issues and raise the red flags when need be. Again, as B.C wrote above, these are all interrelated phenomena and necessary organs in the body of a peace- promoting Canada.

  26. Patricia SeeleyApril 26, 2009 at 10:32 pm #

    There is no negotiating with the Taliban! We are seeing the result in Pakistan right now — it’s terrifying! Give them an inch and they’ll take the whole region and as far beyond it as they can get away with. Fundamentalist religion, whether it’s Islam, Christian or Judaism, is the enemy of freedom and human rights everywhere.

    That said, I don’t actually believe in military solutions to social problems. Our position should be one of defense of women, children and non-combatant men against fundamentalists who would rule with violence and cruelty. We study how the civilized world gradually became civilized — how we pulled ourselves out of medieval ways of thinking and behaving, how we got a grip on our own fundamentalist tendencies, how we gradually democratized our own undemocratic systems, how we (slowly but surely) liberated women from oppression by men, and so on. And then we should lend a hand to those in Afghanistan — RAWA and other groups — who seek to work towards a secular and modern Afghanistan.

    We can’t just throw up our hands and declare it a lost cause. We just need to get our priorities straight.

  27. Sandee CowleyApril 26, 2009 at 10:10 pm #

    Hi: Thanks for keeping me informed; however, I am absolutely FOR our mission in Afghanistan. No man is an island and never ask for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for thee, and me.

    North Americans are so blessed in every way possible. We OWE life, the world our courage, monitary help, blood. Peace makers can not be bowling pins to be mowed down by a foe who cares for no one, not even their own.

  28. trishApril 26, 2009 at 7:52 pm #

    I am relieved that people spoke up for our role as peacekeepers. It is vitally important. And we need to somehow find a way to stop the next genocide, like Rawanda, which is taking place at this time in Darfur. Surely the world can take some action this time, before it is too late.

  29. Shane NestruckApril 26, 2009 at 5:54 pm #

    Today (April 2009) Canada is led by a government that represents a very small number of Canadians….minority government with an extremely low voter turn-out.
    AND YET, Steven Harper acts and operates like some relegious dictator, taking Canada further and further into Bushite oblivion.

    Today I’m ashamed to be Canadian.

  30. Donald DonaldsonApril 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm #

    What has happened?
    As a Retired Educator, I used to proudly proclaim tha Canada was the World’s Peace Keepers.
    Now, because of such political positioning, we are TOO CLOSE to the U. S.
    We do their DIRTY WORK
    The U S is hated because of their Political Interventions in order to promote the Corporate Elite.
    Lets revert to Our Proud Canadian Leadership again.

  31. PaulApril 26, 2009 at 4:22 pm #

    Sigh, so many threads. So little time.

    I’m amazed that anyone who might be described as a supporter of ceasefire.ca would have any time for a continuation of the conflict in Afghanistan, with or without the fig leaf of a UN resolution, or Obama’s brand of Empire Lite.

    We need to be clear that the UN is pretty much a creature of the Security Council, which is subject to the whims of powerful states who are not interested in peace or justice. Just because the UN sanctions an intervention, which it belatedly did in Afghanistan, does not mean the intervention is justifiable.

    We need to get out of Afghanistan without delay. The women at rawa.org, who have sacrificed much over the last 30 years to fight for human rights in Afghanistan don’t want us there. We should leave.

    We need to convert our sizable war industries to peaceful purposes, or shut them down. We must end the hypocrisy of Canadians taking pride in avoiding the war in Iraq while profiting from armed aggression there and around the world. Once we have done that, perhaps we will have earned the right to call ourselves a peace loving nation.

    As a peace movement, we need to be very careful about relying on the UN to keep us out of “bad” wars. All wars are bad, and we need to assert that collectively within the UN where possible, and individually at all times.

  32. RobApril 26, 2009 at 3:49 pm #

    Start at the root of the problem.

  33. Angus CunninghamApril 26, 2009 at 3:36 pm #

    I have been impressed with the quality of the letters I have read at this site. They affirm my feelings that Canadians are under-informed as to what is happening in Afghanistan and the import of that for our safety and the safety of the urban world at large.

    Not long ago the UN informed us that, for the first time in history, a majority of the world’s population now lives in urban conditions. When I made that transition, from farming country in Britain, I felt strange and alarmed. The simple cultural presumptions I took for granted in the small rural world in which I grew up were not only invalid in the urban world in which I began to take my place; they were under assault, and alarmingly so.

    Recently, I had a conversation with a Pakistani who was visiting Canada to decide whether to immigrate. He affirmed that the issues of rural versus urban living are the issues enveloping Pakistan and its Taliban-related unrest in the highland wilds that separate Pakistan from Afghanistan.

    Rowan Percy, in an earlier letter to this forum says “The Taliban will not be moved by negotiations alone, so I support a multi-pronged strategy. I believe we need troops on the ground to respond to Taliban incursions and Taliban oppression and control of the population through violence. If the Taliban and Al-Quaeda see enough strength in their opposition they may be willing to negotiate. Without seeing it they will continue their campaign of violence and rule through terror.”

    I believe Mr. Percy’s point of view encapules a truth we ignore at our peril. It reminds me of the conversations I had 40 years ago with my father, Lt. Col. G. P. (Peter) Cunningham, who spent much of his early life fighting Pashtun tribesman who perennially marauded the NW Frontier of India. One of his pupils at the (then new) Pakistan School of Artillery, was (later General) Pervez Musharraf. While Musharraf was in power, the Taliban threat was not as severe as it is now. Both men had learned that inflamed tribesmen are not going to negotiate without both a need to do so, and a reward for doing so. That is a reality that will only slowly change in the measure that we both accept and confront it in ways respectful of what courageous and wise men from the past have learned.

    The war on terror was a horrendously bad name for the management and leadership of the interface between medieval rural dwellers whose ancient customs are under assault and the expectations of urban dwellers. But let us be clear: we urban dwellers are not always “in the right”. That is another of the many inconvenient truths our surfeited and often hypocritical society is having to learn.

    My father learned Pashtun, the language of the Taliban. He learned that the Taliban have a code of honour. He learned that if one patiently invokes the best parts of any code of honour, better behaviour does occur. So, yes, the tales we hear of primitive behaviour by the tribesmen of a challenged civilization are alarming to our modern ways of thinking. But those ways of living are not to be disrespected. They have kept British, Russians, and now the might of NATO at bay. They ease the transition to modern values and customs of rural folk.

    The war on terror policies were a gross example of simplistic and politically partisan behaviour by arrogant people living in a privileged, ideological bubble. The people who perpetrated that policy are the ones responsible for the horrendous mess unleashed in the Middle East and South Central Asia. We must now be patient, hopeful that the new Obama-led values emerging from Washington will be worth our supporting.

    As Mr. Percy wrote: “Canadians have learned a great deal on the ground. Our knowledge must by now be invaluable. We would likely be a lot more effective in concert with increased American troops. I am not in favour of separating our strategy from that of the United States. I am in favour of working closely with the US and the UN.

    Afghanistan is a horribly decimated society, through decades of conflict with the Russians, with Taliban rule and now this war. But if we abandon Afghanistan we will see a continuing accretion of power to the Taliban and to terrorist networks in the whole region. This is not something the world can afford.

    I think we should be studying and learning about the ways of the warlords through the Afghan people. If we can help to decrease their power by facilitating any reasonable demands they may have, we should do that.

    We should not show tolerance for rape of women by their husbands. This must not be negotiated. We must not be complicit in human rights violations.

    This whole situation is ugly and complex. Just because that is the case is not a reason to pull out. It is a reason to stay.”

    Mr. Percy knows what he’s talking about.

    As for my perspective, I say we must learn to be more authentic and empathic at the same time. Only with practice in balancing those quintessentially human ways of being will we have a glimpse again of those “sunlit uplands” of which Churchill spoke so movingly. in our last time of great world crisis.

    Angus Cunningham

  34. DonaldApril 26, 2009 at 2:38 pm #

    There are a number of dissident groups in Afghanistan; yet, the Taliban is the only one mentioned by the mainline press in a game of either or.

  35. Ismail ZayidApril 26, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

    Canadian Troops should be withdrawn immediately from Afghanistan.

  36. SteveApril 26, 2009 at 2:30 pm #

    If Ceasefire only has around 1800 “supporters” in the whole country, the organization seems to represent only a very small part of the population. Why is this? And how effective can it be? [N.B. We have more than 15,000 subscribers. 1800 completed the survey - Ceasefire.ca]
    Wouldn’t it be more useful to do an independent survey of samplings of Canadians across the country rather than just Ceasefire supporters, or has this already been done?

    Personally, I wish our government would withdraw our military from ALL of its overseas interventions, particularly in Afghanistan and Haiti. In Afghanistan, we’re mainly just supporting the US empire in extending its control over oil and gas in the Middle East. In Haiti, we assisted the US/UN-led overthrow of a democratically elected government, and now we’re helping the new government oppress and exploit people, not help them.

    UN peacekeeping missions are bogus. The UN cannot be trusted because it is too often a tool of corporate political or corporate interests.

    If there is a genuine desire to help people of poor or developing countries, aid should probably just be given to NGOs that are doing this work and know best what is needed. Moreover, there is something fundamentally wrong if the government in a supposedly democratic society can make its own unilateral decisions about where to intervene in other countries militarily or whom to give financial aid, all of which must be funded by Canadian voters and taxpayers.

    We need to greatly decrease the power of our government and increase the role of ordinary citizens in decision-making, particularly with regard to international relations and protecting the environment. Moreover, the mainstream media is too much under the control of private businesses, which are too greatly influenced by the goal of profit. There should be a national, publicly-funded newspaper that gives equal space to divergent views, so that people can be presented conveniently with as many facts and interpretations as possible on which to base decisions.

    For starters.

  37. Connie MillerApril 26, 2009 at 1:37 pm #

    Just keep it simple. A good government should be sovereign but should conform to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights just as closely as they possibly can. I would suggest having a big workshop- conference so that Afghan’s citizens can design a great country which would include what would be good for women, children, the elderly, the disabled, men, and the environment. After they get a good plan, they should put everyone to work implementing it. After it is in effect, they can make improvements as they see fit. They should ignore the Taliban and focus on what would REALLY be good for the people and for their country.

  38. les bradenApril 26, 2009 at 1:31 pm #

    I dont believe the Taliban can be negotiated with. I also dont believe Canadian troops should be used for conflict purposes but rather should be used only as part of the UN peacekeeping strategy. I believe the Taliban are very dangerous radicals with absolutely only one agenda, extremism. They are not to be ignored. They appear to have a goal of taking over control of Pakistan. Pakistan has nuclear weapons and if they fall into the hands of the Taliban I believe the whole world will be in deep trouble. The taliban without doubt will use nuclear weapons to serve their ends. Therefore I believe that for world stability Canada has to stay engaged in some capacity but i dont believe they should be waging war but serving peace initiatives.

  39. Sheila PrattApril 26, 2009 at 1:15 pm #

    When I talk to people I know about the invasion of Afghanistan, GMOs in our food or activities that could be called ‘scandals’ in our provincial government, they are unaware of the issues I bring up. They share my perspective when I talk with them, but know nothing.

    I think the media is woefully incompetent. Telling half-truths and making assumptions within a ‘news report’ is incompetent, if not downright dishonest. I watch The National almost every night; I don’t know who is responsible for its content, but I find whenever Peter Mansbridge appears anywhere other than The National, I turn him off. Perhaps the CBCs coverage/perspective is being dictated by the federal government’s underfunding of the CBC. Whatever the problem, the public is underserved/manipulated by the media. The private media, watched by millions of Canadians, is even more irresponsible than the CBC has become.

    I have the luxury of listening to the CBC, NPR, Amy Goodman, etc. and I do some reading from the CCPA Monitor, The Tyee and listservs that I’m on because I’m retired and have the time to indulge myself. Because our media, including the CBC, is not doing it’s job (based on what I hear and read elsewhere), the public is not informed, is ignorant and is subject to fear-mongering, manipulation and ‘mob behaviour’.

  40. sterling haynesApril 26, 2009 at 1:15 pm #

    1 Negotiate with the Taliban to end the war and stop terrorism
    2 Support the UN and peacekeeping forces
    3 Stop the spread of arms for profit by the US, Israel, France etc

  41. Patrick CharetteApril 26, 2009 at 1:14 pm #

    When will our supposed inteligent leaders understand different countries have different cultures and are not to be tampered with. We spend unaccounted millions/billions fighting to convert them to democracy (with it’s shortcomings) and end up forced to walk away. The greatest insult is to bring home DEAD soldiers and have the nerve to say they died dedending our country — they died trying to change another country. We have not been attacked by this/these countries. Get out/come home spend all the billions at home protecting our social services and way of life.

  42. Rowan PercyApril 26, 2009 at 1:12 pm #

    I have looked at your pie charts showing the distribution of opinions regarding Canadian conflict in Afghanistan, negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan or withdrawal from troops.

    I believe that the world cannot afford to allow the Taliban or other extremists to grow the power to shore up ignorance, lack of education and a society based on control through terror, violence and religious fundamentalism.

    As Canadians we have a responsibility as members of the global community. This is not a time to say, well, this is an unpopular war so we should just withdraw. We need to consider the situation in light of what is happening, not just in terms of our opinions.

    The Taliban will not be moved by negotiations alone, so I support a multi-pronged strategy. I believe we need troops on the ground to respond to Taliban incursions and Taliban oppression and control of the population through violence. If the Taliban and Al-Quaeda see enough strength in their opposition they may be willing to negotiate. Without seeing it they will continue their campaign of violence and rule through terror, especially the suppression of women and basic human rights, their opposition to education and jobs for girls and women, their promotion of drug-trade agriculture and their promotion of fundamentalist attitudes.

    The Canadians have learned a great deal on the ground. Our knowledge must by now be invaluable. We would likely be a lot more effective in concert with increased American troops. I am not in favour of separating our strategy from that of the United States. I am in favour of working closely with the US and the UN.

    Afghanistan is a horribly decimated society, through decades of conflict with the Russians, with Taliban rule and now this war. But if we abandon Afghanistan we will see a continuing accretion of power to the Taliban and to terrorist networks in the whole region. This is not something the world can afford.

    I think we should be studying and learning about the ways of the warlords through the Afghan people. If we can help to decrease their power by facilitating any reasonable demands they may have, we should do that.

    We should not show tolerance for rape of women by their husbands. This must not be negotiated. We must not be complicit in human rights violations.

    This whole situation is ugly and complex. Just because that is the case is not a reason to pull out. It is a reason to stay.

    Thank you for reading these thoughts. I realize they are not in harmony with your goals, but I hope you will consider them seriously.

    Rowan Percy

    Salt Spring Island.

  43. Peter ElkingtonApril 26, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    I think this government is on the wrong track completely. Canada’s emhasis has always been on peacekeeping. The trrop withdrawal in 2011 can come soon enough. I hope they listen to the wishes of the people and not just a few.
    Blessing on your work.

  44. ursulaApril 26, 2009 at 12:57 pm #

    I do not support the war in Afghanistan, because we will not be able to change peoples thinking there to suit us. We can not and will never be successful with military force either, since that will create more hate for the western world and democracy.
    We are eluding ourselves if we think we made progress there. Progress in what? Our soldiers are dying for nothing. The money spent on warfare could be used to create jobs at home, work on environmental issues and clean up our own polluted areas of which we have many.
    Ursula Salemink-Roos

  45. John OlsenApril 26, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    The immediate need is to start to restore Canada’s international standing as a peacekeeper by withdrawing immediately and without limitations from a military presence in Afghanistan. After that is done, we need to announce publicly that Canada will never again participate in any foreign mission that is not directly authorized and supervised by the UN.

    In a small group discussion after he left office, Mike Pearson once speculated about how war could be rendered unacceptable to societies throughout the world. He suggested a modest start could be made by Canada devoting all of our overseas military activity to the UN as a standing police agency. His first step would have been to reduce Canada’s participation in NATO by pulling troops out of Europe and attaching specific limiting conditions to our continuing participation in the Treaty.

    He thought other nations might also sign on to the idea of a standing UN force. He also suggested a General Assembly committee could be struck to direct that agency, bypassing the Security Council in the long run.

  46. Bob EwashenApril 26, 2009 at 12:50 pm #

    Supporting the puppet government of former warlords which continues currupt practices makes no sense. All military action should be terminated, and replaced with social support of the population. Food, schools, health care and agricultural support. Providing assistance with infrastructure to manufacture commercial morphine might not be a bad idea.

  47. James BacqueApril 26, 2009 at 12:49 pm #

    In the rest of the world, people turn politics into war. In Canada we have learned how to turn war into politics. We have done this in Quebec and elsewhere. Let us not shoot people we disagree with; let us try to educate them in our ways–and ourselves in theirs.

  48. Camille RochApril 26, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    My opinion is to withdraw Canadian troops immediately.

  49. Barbara CooperApril 26, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

    I seem to remember picking the “stopping arms dealing” in the survey, and wonder how many others chose that as a priority because we will leave Afghanistan and stop all other wars once the _profit_ is removed from the endeavour! So the percentage on “leaving Afghanistan” might be much higher. The trouble with polls is they don’t always show interconnections and wider views of the question.

    And of course, this poll was from people who read a website dedicated to peace through justice!!

    ah – Polls! :-)

  50. YvonneApril 26, 2009 at 12:17 pm #

    The Canadian Government has never told the truth to its citizens, e.g. that the mission is to protect the projected gas pipeline from Turkmenstein, as reported in the Globe & Mail in June 2008 in its Insiders Report and a few days later in the Toronto Sun. Just as they have hidden the truth about why the Bear Head project (Schreiber/Mulroney) which was to use metal strong enough to stop bullet penetration and save our soldiers’ lives. We have lost 118 soldiers in Afghanistan and we just get coverups from this Government. The Truth Must Be Told.

  51. Pierre JasminApril 26, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    In total agreement with the poll results

  52. kenApril 26, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    the war is all propoganda from nato,usa and canada…the wars of empire must be stopped. anybody can see now that it is total insanity to continue this way. there are too many major problems….problems of survival…obama appears to be just another empire builder…he is either kept on leash or he believes the lie of t he good american…with a few bad apples of course…stop it now…


  1. Survey Tells Us Your Afghanistan Agenda | Ceasefire.ca - May 1, 2009

    [...] Nearly 2000 Ceasefire.ca supporters participated in our “Your Afghanistan Agenda” survey and the results are clear: you want Ceasefire.ca to focus our efforts on ending Canada’s war in Afghanistan.   We hear you, and in the next few weeks we will be launching a new campaign to focus renewed public attention on the war. We’ll urge the Harper government to bring Canadian troops home, and support a negotiated end to the conflict.   As well, you told us that you want the government to support the United Nations and peacekeeping. As a supporter of Ceasefire.ca, you know that our contribution of military personnel to UN peacekeeping missions has nearly disappeared, and yet we have thousands of troops fighting a war in Afghanistan with NATO and the United States.   We would like to hear your ideas and comments about our survey results. You can view the results and charts on Ceasefire.ca. We encourage you to leave a comment and join the conversation about how we can make Canada a leader for peace, once again: http://www.ceasefire.ca/?p=1090 [...]

  2. Terry Glavin: Sanctimonious drivel or progressive feminism? You decide - News and Opinion Blog of Blogs - April 29, 2009

    [...] a study in stark contrasts, read this gibberish (or this) and then compare with this, or this, from our dear comrade Lauryn Oates:It will be a [...]