A pathetic protest
posted by the National Post
on Tuesday, October 31, 2006
If Canada's pacifists weren't so wrong-headed, we would feel sorry for them.
On Saturday, activists opposed to Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan staged protests in three dozen cities. The results were pathetic. In Edmonton, Calgary and Hamilton, Ont., respectively, 100 people showed up. In Halifax and Toronto, it was 200. Montreal and Ottawa did the best -- with a mere 500 each.
The people of Afghanistan should be quite glad for this meager turnout: Right now, soldiers from Canada and other NATO countries are the only thing standing in the way of a total Taliban takeover of the country.
We find it ironic that Jack Layton, who marched in Toronto, has lent his voice to Canada's pacifists. The NDP postures as a true guardian of women, religious minorities and other disadvantaged groups. Yet the Taliban, whose return to power Mr. Layton seems so eager to facilitate, constituted one of the most misogynistic and backward regimes known to humankind. Slogans against George W. Bush and "neo-imperialism," which have become a cliche of the modern protest movement, cannot paper over Mr. Layton's hypocrisy.
Nor can Canada's pacifists square the circle of a protest movement that claims to support Canadian soldiers, even as it spuriously undermines the cause for which they enthusiastically and justly fight. "Support our troops -- bring them home," as one banner put it, is a contradiction in terms.
Of course, Mr. Layton and the other protesters who marched on Saturday have an answer to all this, one encapsulated by the popular placard "Build homes, not bombs." According to this view, Canada should help the people of Afghanistan not by stabilizing the country and fighting Islamofascist insurgents, but by showering Afghans with foreign aid.
That's a nice thought, but it ignores the fact that aid is meaningless if it isn't delivered in a secure environment. What good does it do to build a school if a bunch of terrorists come and burn it down the next day?
Despite 42 Canadian combat deaths in Afghanistan, most Canadians continue to support the Afghan mission. Far from convincing our government to bring the troops home, Saturday's protesters merely reminded Canadians how unpopular their viewpoint really is.