In part two of Linda McQuaig's Youtube series Exposing Canada's Role in Afghanistan, based in part on her book Holding the Bully's Coat (ISBN 978-0-385-66012-9), she touches on a subject that is very important. Religious extremism and the birth of terrorism
However, we have to remember that not all terrorists are Muslims, and in fact I would argue that they are probably in the minority. Some of the most horrendous assaults on humanity have taken place in the name of Christianity and other faiths, but that's a topic for another time.
McQuaig instead takes us back to the creation of the Islamic world's distrust and dislike of the West, in particular the United States; beginning with their involvement in the overthrow of the democratically elected Mohammed Massadegh, and in the planting of the unpopular Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, simply referred to usually as the Shah of Iran.
In 2000, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright stated:
"In 1953 the United States played a significant role in orchestrating the overthrow of Iran's popular Prime Minister, Mohammed Massadegh. The Eisenhower Administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons; but the coup was clearly a setback for Iran's political development. And it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America in their internal affairs."
This story was of personal interest to me because one of my British uncles worked for the Shah. I remember bragging about this when I was growing up, and in some convoluted way felt connected to the Iranian royal family. Unfortunately my own family was as poor as church mice, and the holes in my shoes did not exactly suggest any royal lineage.
But what's interesting about McQuaig's assertion, is that because of the Shah's crack down on public dissent, the only place where those opposed to his tyrannical regime could meet, was in the mosques. This meant that any protest movements were directed by religion, making it easier for fundamentalists to hijack the movement and give it a holy purpose.
I wanted to mention something else here though and correct a misconception of the author's. Several times in her book she refers to Michael Ignatieff as a neoconservative. Nothing could be further from the truth.
At it's core, neoconservatism is based on three principles: deception, religious fervour and perpetual war. But those are not the goals, only the path to achieving the goals. A neo-cons real aim is to dismantle a country's social safety net, eliminate government controls and pave the way for an unfettered free market system. Their message is don't blink.
Mr. Ignatieff's goals are the exact opposite.
I believe that Linda McQuaig may be an NDP supporter, if she supports any political party at all, and that's great. If we really want to bring this country forward, we need all progressive thinkers, and she is definitely that.
And yes, Ignatieff supported the war in Iraq, but for very different reasons. While Stephen Harper simply stated that he didn't know much about it but just that we should be where the Americans are; Ignatieff spent time in Kurdistan after the genocide and knew first hand the evils of Saddam Hussein. But again, that will be covered in a separate post.
Part two of this series once again questions the legality of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, and our role in it. And it also sets the stage for the emergence of terrorism as we now identify it.
Near the end she brings up Lt.-Gen. Thomas Metz, but I'm doing a separate post on that since he is directly involved with Rick Hillier and our change in direction for the war.