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A Reminder of Canadian Complicity in Iraq War

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Embedded in the Wikileaks video, a reminder
of Canadian complicity in Iraq War
by Anthony Fenton
The 2007 attack video released by Wikileaks could not have happened without Canadian support. The video "depicts an AH-64 Apache helicopter" which, according to Richard Sanders, a researcher with the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT), no fewer than 16 Canadian war contractors help to build/service. See: "Canadian War Industries Exporting Parts and/or Services to the USA for the AH-64 'Apache'" for further details.

If you are wondering how weapons sales to the US make Canada complicit in the Iraq war, consider the historical record, beginning with Victor Levant's Quiet Complicity: Canadian Involvement in the Vietnam War. Levant devotes an entire chapter of his richly documented tome to this question (Chapter 6: 'Canadian Arms Sales to the U.S.'):

"'Vietnam War Boosts Canadian Sales to U.S.,' headlined the Toronto Star on March 28, 1967, noting that sales were at their 'highest level in years.'...Throughout the peak years of the war, the financial pages of Canadian newspapers were filled with reports of export business generated as a result of U.S. military activity."
 
[For complete article reference links, please see source at Web of Democracy here.]

Consider the Ottawa Citizen headline almost 36 years to the day later, "Canadian industry goes to war: Our military didn't join the Allied Forces in Iraq, but Canada's defence firms are well represented there" (Bagnall, James, March 27, 2003Pg. F2):

"When Prime Minister Jean Chretien declined [sic.] earlier this month to join the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, the decision wasn't as clear-cut as he would have liked. Chretien kept Canada's troops at home, but opted to remain silent about the significant contribution being made by the country's top defence contractors. Canadian military technology is embedded in the coalition's fighter planes, bombers and helicopters. It guides the firing mechanisms of America's main battle tank and protects the Alliance's soldiers from stray shrapnel and bullets. British pilots have been trained on Canadian simulators; American commanders, including Gen. Tommy Franks, exchange vital battlefield intelligence over Canadian-built data networks. Indeed, many battle-scene images seen on television are relayed by Canadian-developed technology."

As Levant concluded his chapter with a section titled, "Blood Money":

"Canada's arms sales to the United States tied it conspicuously to the destruction that was taking place in Vietnam. The bald fact that Canadians - with the encouragement of their government - were profiting from the U.S. war effort made a mockery of Ottawa's pretensions to neutrality and its occasional criticism of U.S. actions.  Arms sales became a frequent target for those Canadians who opposed both U.S. policy in Vietnam and what they increasingly identified as Canadian complicity in that policy. In 1968, Tommy Douglas, leader of the [NDP], said that when the war ended, 'Canada will not come before the bar of historic judgement with clean hands, because there is blood on them - blood money to the tune of more than $300 million a year."

Today's leader of the NDP, Jack Layton, has, to my knowledge, never issued a statement concerning Canadian weapons sales to the U.S. In November 2003, when he learned about then-Brig General Walt Natynczyk's appointment as deputy commander over U.S. forces in Iraq, Layton said, "That's quite shocking...When it comes to having someone in charge of thousands and thousands of troops in a war which is illegal and should never have happened ... this makes us complicit in the unilateral philosophy of George Bush and his administration. We would be seen by the world as complete hypocrites if we were to carry on with such an arrangement." (National Post, November 21, 2003, "Ottawa Hypocritical over Iraq Conflict: Opposition," Pg. A6)

Sadly, although they have supported Iraq war resistors, a search of the NDP website shows that Layton and the NDP never sustained this level of criticism against Canadian complicity.
 

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