Thursday, December 28, 2006

Politicking Means Never Having to Answer to your Constituents

I recently wrote a letter to our illustrious PM registering my disapproval of our actions in Afghanistan. I clearly stated we should end our combat mission and work towards peace and security for the Afghan people. Here's a selection of what I wrote:
Killing people doesn't win their hearts and minds. We should not be fighting as part of NATO, but should find positive alternatives, such as protecting NGOs who are on the ground working efficiently for reconstruction.

The Northern Alliance (the 'Good Guys' we are supporting) are just as violent and fundamentalist as the Taliban were. The people of Afghanistan are left with little choice and little hope.

We need to stop killing the Afghan people, and start talking. Negotiating. Rebuilding.

Here's the prefab response I received (note the total lack of response to my actual letter):

It is in Canada's national interest to see Afghanistan become a free, democratic and peaceful country. An unstable Afghanistan represents a serious threat to Canada and the world. Canada has assumed an international leadership role by serving in the United Nations mandated, but Canadian led, Afghan security mission.

Canada has a tradition of stepping up to the plate and providing leadership on global issues. The Prime Minister is proud of the Canadian Forces personnel who have put themselves on the line to defend our national interests and to help Afghans rebuild their country. They are standing up for core Canadian values and achieving important victories for the people of Afghanistan.

As you may know, the House of Commons voted to extend the Canadian military mission in Afghanistan until February 2009. If you would like to access further information on this issue I would encourage you to visit the following websites:

Once again, thank you for taking the time to write.

There's some very interesting and subtle manipulation going on. They make it sound like a UN mission, and don't mention NATO at all. They don't use words like "kill", "maim", "fight", or "war". Indeed it sounds like a UN peacekeeping mission.

It's not that I actually expected anything different, of course. I think a simple acknowledgement of my disagreement would have made me feel heard, but that's just not politics.

No comments: