Remember when Canada was a haven for peace lovers? That was during yesterday's Vietnam debacle, as opposed to today's Iraq debacle. Our more conservative citizenry might prefer not to be reminded of such heady times (weirdo hippie freaks, and all), but Canada actually distinguished itself by welcoming Americans who could not support, much less fight in, a war they knew was immoral.
In Lyndon Johnson's America, to be a "draft dodger" or "peacenik" could be both unpopular and dangerous. In Canada, the same person was mostly (if not universally) recognized as a person of principle and conviction.
The Americans sent 8.7 million troops to Vietnam over the course of a pointless war that ended for them in total defeat in 1975. Fifty thousand young Americans died needlessly, as did 1.3 million Vietnamese, north and south. The deep scar across the American psyche remains angry and livid to this day.
It was Pierre Trudeau who made the tough decision to risk U.S. governmental wrath and welcome Vietnam war resisters. (Yes, yes, I hear you: Of course it was Trudeau, the coward who refused to fight the Nazis, et cetera, et cetera. Whatever. You can choose to keep your viewpoint fixed in 1940, or else you can see a man who learned, grew and became a leader with vision, conviction and moral courage.)
There was an unanticipated reward for our acceptance of the estimated 30,000-40,000 American war resisters who came to Canada. Many of those who ended up staying and making their homes here -- a disproportionately bright and educated lot -- also ended up enriching Canadian society immeasurably. Untold contributions over the past four decades in science, business, journalism, the arts and the academic world have been made by those very people.
On the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war, Montreal Gazette journalist Jack Todd -- who made that profound border-crossing himself -- spoke with the CBC. "That decision to come to Canada in 1970," he said, "is the bravest thing I ever did, and I'm damn proud of it ... I think we were right, and what we did was an important thing."
The above, noted by Vince, is from Janice Kennedy's "Obstructing the peace" (The Ottawa Citizen). Saturday the US military announced: "Two 15th Sustainment Brigade Soldiers were killed and five others were wounded during a mortar attack in the vicinity of Baghdad Oct. 10." Saturday was the 13th, Wednesday was October 10th and, in addition, M-NF elected to take the day off Friday from officially spinning via press releases.
In the only article filed from Iraq, Alissa J. Rubin contributes "Persecuted Sect in Iraq Avoids Its Shrine" to this morning's New York Times. It runs on A18 and is ten paragraphs long. A photo, credited to "THE NEW YORK TIMES" accompanies the article and serves only to make readers wonder why Rubin didn't interview the woman not wearing a veil and carrying a handbag? Or the woman standing hear her but largely out of the shot (who appears to be wearing a t-shirt)?
The article is on the Yazidi who have been persecuted nonstop since the start of the illegal war with women from the sect being kidnapped for forced marriages to other sects in order to stamp out the Yazidi. Rubin tells readers about the fatawa issued by the Islamic State of Iraq ordering the deaths of all Yazidis and notes that they also are "under pressure by both Arab and Kurdish Muslims who want them to contribute to Islam." She notes the August truck bombings targeting the Yazidis (that resulted in mass fatalities, Rubin reports "close to 500," other outlets reported over 500, including the BBC and CNN) and that an estimated 70,000 of them are now refugees living outside Iraq. They must make a pilgrimage (at least once "in his or her life") "to the Lalesh temple" which cancelled the prayers this year. "Only a few pilgrims" missed the word of the cancellation and showed up this year. Which again makes you wonder why the two women in the paper's photo weren't interviewed? (All quotes in the article come from men.)
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Neawspapers) reports Saturday's violence included 3 corpses discovered in Baghdad, the targeting of General Soran Abdullah (Kirkuk police) with a bombing aimed at his motorcade in Kirkuk -- one police officer dead (two wounded), a man shot dead in Kirkuk, General Torhan Abdulrahman and Brigadier Burhan Tayib (Kirkuk Police) were targeted in a Kirkuk bombing that claimed the life of 1 police officer and left three more wounded, and Dr. Zuhair al-Barazanchi (Basra General Hospital) was kidnapped Friday. AFP reports a Samarra truck bombing that claimed at least 17 lives and estimates there were 31 reported deaths on Saturday across Iraq. Apparently missing news of the Samarra bombing and a great deal more, AP happy talks it with, "The civilian death toll in Iraq fell to its lowest level in recent memory Saturday, with only four people killed or found dead nationwide, according to reports from police, morgue officials and credible witnesses."
Jomana Karadsheh (CNN) reports on the FBI questioning of eye witnesses to the September 16th slaughter in Baghdad:
Abdul Wahab Abdul Razzaq, who works at a bank, said he was driving toward Nusoor Square when he saw a traffic jam. He turned his car around to avoid it.
In his rearview mirror, he saw a private security convoy coming up behind him. One of the convoy vehicles hit his car, and someone inside threw water bottles and flares toward him. They started shooting when cars could not move, he said. Abdul Razzaq said he was shot at three times, and two of the bullets hit him.
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