How would you regard your liberators?

Let’s say it’s ten or twenty years into the future. After flirting with socialism, Islanders elect a right-leaning government that, as its term plays out, comes to espouse a form of radical Presbyterianism. The transition is gradual enough that by the time anyone notices, government control over Islanders’ daily lives has increased dramatically, and the “Island way of life” is heavily policed, managed and restricted. Whatever protest gets raised is swept away almost instantly by special squads of government-sponsored goons. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are both relics of an earlier time. There is rumour that there have been kidnappings and government-sponsored murders west of O’Leary.

Now let’s say that an outside force — maybe it’s America, maybe it’s Ontario, maybe it’s Ireland — seeing this tyrannical chaos, decides that Islanders must be liberated from their Presbyterian oppressors, and, after massing resources in New Brunswick for several months, launches a dramatic military assault. Charlottetown is bombed nightly. Summerside, originally to be bypassed, is under siege. Hundreds of Islanders, some in the army, others simply bystanders, are killed.

Let’s say this is our future.

Setting aside the implausibility of the conceit, consider this question: if you were in the middle of this situation, if buildings around your house were being bombed every night, if your kids could no longer go outside, if you feared for your life constantly, if your old friend from high school was blown up because he happened to work at the phone company, if your neighbour’s kids were incinerated before your eyes in the Sobey’s parking lot. If this was your reality.

How would you regard your liberators?

I don’t know the answer to that question.

Comments

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 1, 2003 - 14:00

To me, it has Baptist written all over it. Having said that, there are a few points I would need clarification on to draw a conclussion;

1.Have we invaded several neighbors lately?

2.Are we sitting on enough wealth of natural resources to keep us all comfortable for the rest of our and our children

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 1, 2003 - 14:02

Plutonium

art's picture
art on April 1, 2003 - 15:08

I wonder if the ghost that hangs over these images is not only Iraq but also Rwanda. Critics argue that the United States attack on Iraq could be the final blow to the United Nations

Rob MacD's picture
Rob MacD on April 1, 2003 - 15:22

It is impossible, thank goodness, for me to get into the mindset necessary to imagine such a future-island. However, I think I’d be welcoming such a freedom-attempt, even at the horrific costs you outline. 20 years is not long enough for me to forget, for instance, the freedom Cows ice cream represents. “Je me souviens Cows!” would be my battle-cry. And, really…how sad is that?

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 1, 2003 - 15:25

It would be fun to read the headlines in The Guardianduring these times

jimbob's picture
jimbob on April 1, 2003 - 16:07

i remember back in the early 90’s when i was in the reserves (721 comm reg’t) and we staged a multi-weekend exercise around this time of year, late winter/early spring

the officers (lacking a truely identifiable foe with fall of USSR) decided that the island was facing amphibious and airborne invasion by a large nearby nation, working as it turns out, with the “cape breton liberation army” to seize PEI

721, along with PEIR and some reg force units (several APC from gagetown & some specialized fellows from petawawa — cdn. airborne i think) were the good guys and 1 sqd. from PEIR along with others played agressor

scenario had amphib landings in belfast, panmure, brackley, etc. airborne assault on ch’town & s’side airports and saboteurs working on the power & phone installations

mostly a comm exercise with other comm units across canada to see how the response would be from a drill point-of-view

it also gave the guys a chance to get into the woods for a few days

nevertheless it was chilling to read the intro to this thread…

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on April 1, 2003 - 17:51

Here is another scenario.

I live along the Bunbury Road. Say my barn had been burnt down with my childern in it by a terrorist organization that belonged to a Baptist sect based in Monatgue.

Imagine how I feel about this — not reasonable at all. I want to lash out. These folks have destroyed the symbol of my place and have murdered my children. I am really pissed and many in my family want me to do something.

You are my neighbour and you also work for me and 80% of your livliehood comes from this relationship. First thing — I ask you to help me build a fence around our part of Bunbury and I put in an elaborate security system. You go along with this. After all it could be you next.

I then ask you to join me and my brothers as we go to Montague to teach those Baptists a lesson. I have a lots of guns and trucks and brothers. You tell me that you understand how I feel and that you will look after my place while I am gone but you will not take the law into your own hands. I might just accept that.

But if you tell me that that I am an asshole. That I should not feel the way I do and that I should rely on the police — who by the way are partly baptist — how am I going to feel about you?

Alan's picture
Alan on April 1, 2003 - 18:01

Sounds more like the Campbellites will suffer from all this. [I think if we are going to slander/kill off the protestant sects, lets get specific.] First of all, going after Montegue Baptist is going to trigger reaction from the Bear River area McGregor Baptists, a singular but devout group. Reaction by them might involve confusion among Church of Scotland and Free Church of Scotland Presbyterians which would in turn cause backlash against Campbellites (aka New Glasgow Christian Church).

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 1, 2003 - 18:39

Being a son of your neighbor, I would denounce him, disown him, (pointless, since he is soon to abandon the family and run away with the family fortune anyway) and seek to distance myself from him. I would attend as many ballgames and figure skating events as possible, (in spite of the judging) singing my neighbors national anthem as loud as I could.

I would encourage a bold new approach to the family, one that encourages those with vision and genuine leadership qualities to step up to the plate, hopefully from different perspectives, ending the one-party system the family has suffered under for many mean, miserable, miserly years. I would listen intently to family discussions among those who wish to replace the legacy-seeker, and support him/her with a vote at the final election, reminding him/her of the damage done to all by the preceding authority, and lobby for restrictions to our neighborhood, welcoming all, but demanding that those who live her must leave their hatred and fanatical ideas home. And be very strict about this, using new, common sense legislation, and enforcing it. This would be a good first step in repairing the neighborhood. Then, invite our neighbors into our homes, make them feel welcome and show them it is they with whom we share values and cultural ties, not those wacky religious kooks in eastern PEI.

And then join my neighbor in Montague for a real

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on April 1, 2003 - 21:44

oooh Wayne you are so naughty!

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 1, 2003 - 23:10

Should we be there?
A butcher from Baghdad on the Butcher of Baghdad, in The New Yorker:

He gave his name as Ali Hassan, and said that he was a butcher from Baghdad. In 1984, when he was fifteen, his father, who was also a butcher, was arrested by Saddam Hussein’s security police for making some careless comment about the regime. Three months later, the remains of the body, which had been fed through a meat grinder, were returned to Hassan’s family with a demand for a thousand dinars for the trouble.

Ali now lives in Brooklyn.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on April 2, 2003 - 03:13

Fairly good model I think Pete. I think the one thing that would make the difference would be if the liberator had a good reputation or bad reputation in my country.

For example, if the liberator was the one who urged my government to reduce the press freedom and bring in more and more laws to control people, then I think I’d find whatever stone or rake or whatever and throw it at them.

And, by the way, if some lobster fishermen from New Brunswick had poached some lobsters over here and our goon squad took care of them I do not think I would feel my government was an aggressor and deserved to be overthrown by the very bullies that put it in there or gave it the strength to oppose me.

On the other hand, if the goon squads were rigging the roller coaster at Crystal Palace to injure people so as to distract the population of PEI away from health and safety issues back here then I would pick up a rock or hoe but I’d wait for a chance to use it to push them out.

Yeah, right on the fense… but the Iraq situation is much clearer than I have layed out here. Like Michael Moore said, (to paraphrase) if those three thousand elderly Jewish Floridians — holocaust survivors among them — hadn’t decided to vote for that well known liberal and Zionist, Pat Buchannan, the world would be able to count on America to liberate it.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on April 2, 2003 - 03:15

ERRATA

…the world wouldn’t be able to count on America to liberate it.

**wouldn’t** is the sub

Andrew Chisholm's picture
Andrew Chisholm on April 2, 2003 - 18:39

Just like any one I hate to see innocent people die, but sadly this is the only way to Liberate the people of Iraq. The people of Iraq buckled down and listened to Saddam, they never have gave him resistance in the past and he will only get stronger and have more power and control or Iraq, it’s oil and the people.

America, in my eyes, is a very brave nation to try and rescue these people who will not and can not defend themselves against Saddam’s murderous regime. I think once the war is over and the world re-builds Iraq we will all see that the US made the right choice. The world will once day thank the US.

Andrew Chisholm's picture
Andrew Chisholm on April 2, 2003 - 18:40

Sorry about the poor writing above. I was in a hurry.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 2, 2003 - 19:32

Well said, Andrew!

mary vautour's picture
mary vautour on April 3, 2003 - 00:15

Sorry to say i can’t get into the spirit of fantasy about events on a future island senerio… The real delimma is of course that Hussein is a dictator. How much easier it is for the United States to use this as a reason or justification. Given that ‘regime change’ is not about just one individual else why the senerio discussed for control after..as in the make up of the agencies or ministeries. How real the delimma that we are somehow to ‘condone’ the invasion and violence of a military with no pretext of “defense” to itself let alone neighbours of Iraq at this time; all because someone has been able to be a dictator and draconian to degrees any of us can know of. Naturally none of us would support him or this behavior, although the United States did for a longer time. Yet do we lose what this country is doing simply because we are unable to suggest how one rids one’s own country or another…of someone or ones as Hussein and his.
I am truly pained that somehow it is too serious of a delimma and forgive me not to have the sense of humor even if i realize the context it is put. That is it has a really moral and serious point beyond its made of our island as if some future model.
mvautour@isn.net

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on April 3, 2003 - 02:21

Mary
While I may have contributed to the sense of humour here, what i think we are trying to do is to use metaphor to understand the feelings. So we “joke” about an Island version of events. It is so hard to “see” or to feel what it might be like for the protagonists.

Maybe humour is also a male way of dealing with terrible things?

Kevin's picture
Kevin on April 3, 2003 - 03:42

Yes Mary, I echo Rob’s comment — the game playing is not a way to minimize the seriousness of the issue but sometimes when something that enormous can be put aside in a pretend context, it helps some of us think of the underlying issues and that sometimes proves helpful.

You make a lot of strong points and they are well taken. Thanks for your input.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 3, 2003 - 14:12

To further the point I think Kevin was making, asking people to consider how it would feel if these terrible things were closer to home is uncomfortable, but really brings it forward and makes people think of how terrible it would be if such a terrible regime that exists in Baghdad was here, and what we would be confronted with. To me, what this little game Peter suggested (and we added a little twist to-*smile*) has done is make it less of a video game, foolish reality show or another news item. Consider it an uncomfortable learning experience. To be honest, I agree it is a little uncomfortable an exercise, yes, but it has put things in a perspective that is personal, and less flowery…forcing people to realize that the empty cries from the protestors such as

Daniel's picture
Daniel on April 3, 2003 - 16:34

I’ve been protesting the war on Iraq now for four years.

Since August 1990, they have been under siege by the most draconian sanctions regime in history. As a result, 70% of the active population is unemployed and 25% of the children are chronically malnourished. More than a half-million children are dead (population ~24 million). Media here consistently ignore this. These sanctions were still killing 150 children under 5 every day, and have left the population very vulnerable.

Of course the Americans say that if Saddam Hussein had disarmed, they would have stopped objecting to the removal of sanctions. Except they also said they wouldn’t remove sanctions until Hussein was out of power. Disarm, or we will invade you. Is it any wonder why Hussein was not co-operative?

Worse, the sanctions have made the entire population dependent on Hussein. When the Kurds and Shiites revolted in 1991, they did not get the help promised by the Americans. If you really want a population to remove their dictator, these are just about the stupidest things you could do.

They have also been bombed regularly for the past 12 years. And almost all Arabs and Muslims resent US aid to Israel, even though it has hundreds of nuclear weapons, and has violated more UN resolutions than Iraq.

Add that to the original scenario, and try and imagine how you would receive them. Would you believe their promise of help this time? Or would you wait and see that you got rid of Hussein? This is why the military wants to bypass other cities and head straight for Baghdad.

Inspections were working. Removing sanctions would have allowed the local population to organize their lives, and politically to remove Hussein, rather than watch their children starve.

As for Milosevic, we could have indicted him as a war criminal… afterwards, it is the population that removed him from power. This was proposed by mainstream churches in the US. It would have certainly cost less in both money and human lives than our current adventure… and it is a model that would be easier to apply to many more countries.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 3, 2003 - 16:54

I guess you forgot to blame the torture chambers, schredders and acid-baths on the sanctions (which was an action by the UN) as well. The civilians were so scared, they would not mention his name, let alone vote against him. His was the first unanimous election in electorate history.

Inspections were not working and never did. If not for Saddam’s foolish, late brother-in-law, (foolish for returning to Iraq, late for the same) the nuclear weapons program never would have been found by the Inspectors. Remember, the

Oh, THOSE nuclear weapons…we thought you meant something else!”

Ya

Daniel's picture
Daniel on April 3, 2003 - 17:05

Look, I’m not saying that he isn’t a horrible person. Clearly, he is, and we should have gotten rid of him ages ago. Heck, he was a petty mafioso, and we should never have supported him in the first place. The vote results are probably rigged, I doubt that many people actually want him in power.

And actually, as for that defector, Gen. Hussein Kamel, I suggest you read the following article by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting:
http://www.fair.org/press-rele…
(let’s try a link: Star Witness on Iraq Said Weapons Were Destroyed)

That inspector did reveal where nuclear material was hidden, as well as the fact that biological and chemical weapons had been destroyed.

And the fact that a defector helped inspections along doesn’t mean they were a total failure. Besides, by showing more goodwill to the Iraqi population — like, oh, stopping the sanctions that are starving them — we might get more defectors.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 3, 2003 - 18:22

Not a “total failure”(above)does not constitute a successful inspections strategy, in my mind.

The ones that had the info. needed by inspectors (scientists) would not testify without a witness present, or without recording device, due to their fear of reprisals.

Daniel's picture
Daniel on April 3, 2003 - 18:58

A large part of the perception of the failure of inspections has been outright lies by the British and American governments.

Remember the British dossier quoted by Powell? Plagiarized!

Remember the documents proving Iraq had imported 500 tons of Niger uranium? A cheap forgery!

There have been many others, but these are well documented. So where’s the threat? Since these governments are ready to lie, shouldn’t we let independent UN inspectors decide whether there is anything in Iraq?

You might still think inspections aren’t a completely successful strategy. I wish we could do more. Then again, so far war isn’t a perfect solution either.

And it’s the people that lied about the intelligence that promised us a cakewalk….

Daniel's picture
Daniel on April 3, 2003 - 18:59

oops… that first link has an extra quote at the end… here’s a second try: Plagiarized

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 3, 2003 - 19:08

I choose to believe the motives of the Coalition, rather the Saddam Hussein.

War is never a perfect solution. I believe in this case, it was the ONLY one.

Those who subscribe to the instant gratification and “are we there yet?

Alan's picture
Alan on April 3, 2003 - 19:09

Wow — good scratchy eye, hair pulling arguing, guys. Just to fan the debate, consider the continuing unRumsfeldian observations of the UK military.

British Army spokesman Colonel Chris Vernon is reported today by the BBCas stating that Basra, where the beer tents of happy new Iraqi and Desert Rat pals were to be filled with Arabic and Cockney songs are still not quite open and with some reason:

He said military chiefs had underestimated the legacy of the failure of Western Allies to back the 1991 Basra uprising, leaving the Iraqis to rise up alone against Saddam Hussein’s regime.

He stopped short of criticising that coalition’s decision of 1991, but said: “The legacy created by that is making it very, very difficult for us to achieve what we want to achieve.”

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 3, 2003 - 19:20

LOL…it is a subject debated everywhere with a little heat, Alan.

No doubt, the Saudi’s are to blame there, Al. The former CIA director Woosley, sounds like he is gonna rattle their cages next, when he heads an interm govt in Iraq.

I saw a neat poster on a site the other day…
“Coming Soon…Hooters Baghdad!”

What about the Maritimes????

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 3, 2003 - 19:26

By the way, the UN did not send the inspectors to look for WMD, but to supervise or verify their destruction. The proof will be “in the pudding” about WMD shortly, which will render your argument irrelevent, as they say on TV.

Daniel's picture
Daniel on April 3, 2003 - 20:14

Well, Wayne, if you choose to believe the motives of the American and British administration, despite the fact that they have used outright lies to support their contention that war was the only option, that is your choice.

You’ll understand, though, that if the US does find a cache of WMDs, I’ll have to suspect that it was planted there. After all, they’ve lied before, and it would be embarassing for the US not to find such a cache (like not getting Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, despite killing hundreds).

BTW, what exactly are you blaming on the Saudis?

Alan's picture
Alan on April 3, 2003 - 20:16

I am with Wanye on the Saudis. The protection of the House of Saud is one of the pillars of the mess in the mideast.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 3, 2003 - 20:47

Saudis wanted to prevent a Sh’ite state from forming on their northern border. So, the Saudis pressured the ‘91 coalition to leave and not help the Sh’ites in their uprising. (and, the US did not want another Bay of Pigs,too)The Sh’ites are cut from the same religious cloth as those blockheads in Iran.

If you want to believe the Hussein side, you have all kinds of arguments to counter what is going on based on the coalition reports.

But,conspiricy theories will be with us always.

Right along with Arab’s blaming Israel for everything,including snowstorms. But, it gives the Arabs something to share, even if it is blind hate.

And Muslim’s bloody borders are everywhere, too. (India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Java, Afghanistan, Pakistan,Israel and on) where the fundamental Islamics kill the infidel for their God. Maybe all these cockroaches will meet together in Baghdad for a final showdown,and the US can deal with them all at once.

Daniel's picture
Daniel on April 3, 2003 - 20:59

Wayne- cockroaches, eh?

I’ve never backed down from a heated argument, but name-calling is below debate. If you are going to continue name-calling, I’m not interested.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 3, 2003 - 21:22

You are right, no need to use name calling.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 3, 2003 - 21:23

But, you are wrong on everything else!

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 3, 2003 - 21:28

And, I cannot take credit for “Friends Of Saddam” mentioned earlier…it involves another issue.

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