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War of words 

Like many of his equally uninformed counterparts on the right, Tim Bousquet conflates the reasons and goals for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Bush uses the slogan "War on Terror," Mr. Bousquet responds with an equally useless slogan: "War on Muslims." According to Mr. Bousquet, America wants to attack "any Muslims, doesn't matter who or where." This is a plainly outrageous statement. The Bush administration may be extraordinarily incompetent, but to impute a genocidal policy to it (as Mr. Bousquet does) degrades the use of that term.

Like all partisans, Mr. Bousquet could not care less about analysis or nuance. Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are identical (no distinction made between the massive international support for one and the near total lack of support for the other); Stephen Harper is George Bush and both are "war-mongers" (no word on what epithet to apply to the Liberal government that first committed Canadian troops to the mission); Americans are "insane" and Canadians are getting there (no distinction made between government policy and ordinary citizens).

Mr. Bousquet's strident and essentialist anti-Americanism is exhausting. Worst of all, the central argument of this article is dated. These days, Canadians are far from blindly supporting the Afghanistan mission and "drawing lines in the American fashion" of the "with us or against us" variety. The majority of Canadians oppose the mission, and prime minister Harper has stated that Canadian involvement will not continue past 2009 without parliamentary consensus. Every day in the United States, president Bush loses Republican allies, and his approval rating is among the lowest recorded for a sitting president. Certainly jingoism is capable of distorting rational debate both north and south of the forty-ninth parallel, but Mr. Bousquet's hysteria is no less distorting and unfortunate.

By Richard Norman


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