Canadian Lieutenant General Leslie Andrew Leslie recently noted that after Canada's deployment in Afghanistan ends in 2011, Canada's military may need a year to recover. The reason, as Ellen points out, is because Canada has been suffering 4 times the casualty rate of American troops in Afghanistan, because Canada's in one of the most dangerous provinces.
Of course, Fox panelist Doug Benson then mocked Canadians:
"I didn't even know that they were in the war," Benson said, adding he thought Canada was where someone went to avoid fighting.No, Fox and the Republican party is where people go who avoid fighting. None of the panelists on the show appear to have ever served in the military.
Then Fox pundits made the suggestion that Canada leaches on the US for security:
"Would Canada be able to get away with this if they didn't share a border with the most powerful country in the universe?"
Here's a fact for Fox. There is only one country in the world which threatens Canada's security in any meaningful way. Only one country in the world which might be able to successfully invade Canada: that's the US.
Canada doesn't need the US to save it from anyone but the US. Sort of like protection money: "Such a nice country you have there. Be a shame if anything any happened to it."
Which is more or less what one panelist meant when he said:
"Isn't this the perfect time to invade this ridiculous country?" Gutfeld asked panelist Doug Benson.
I know many Americans don't think this way, but I get tired of the idea that Canada is some pacifist country. We joined both WWI and WWII sooner than Americans, and we took heavier losses per capita (see endnotes). Sure, we didn't fight in Vietnam or Iraq, but that's because neither country was any threat to us, or to our ally, the US. Fighting in unnecessary wars is deeply immoral and worse than being immoral is a mistake which weakens the countries which partake.
Why are we in Afghanistan and not Iraq? Because there is a least a case that Afghanistan harbored terrorists who attacked our NATO ally, the US. We're being a good ally. There was no credible evidence that Iraq was involved in 9/11, and we don't believe that when Fred hits you, you should attack Mary instead just because you don't like Mary and always wanted to beat her bloody.
For many years I have believed that Canada needs to revamp its military. Not to make it more of an expeditionary force, but to make it serve Canadians better. The main arm should be the Navy, supported by the Air Force, so we can defend our territorial waters. As for our army, they should be trained in insurgency/counter-insurgency. Officially, of course, the military upgrade would be so we could fight the colonial wars we keep getting dragged into by our entangling alliances. Unofficially the real reason would be because after Iraq, only a fool thinks the US isn't one demagogic politician and one disaster away from invading anyone it pleases, whether there's any good reason or not. Sound ridiculous? Well, 8 years ago would you have thought that if country X attacked the US, the US would use that as an excuse to attack country Y? Ridiculous is no longer a valid counterargument. The US was a rogue nation under Bush, I can see no reason to think it couldn't happen again. And Canada has a lot of oil.
If the US invades, Canada can't beat it on the open battlefield. But Canada is a big place, perfectly designed for guerrilla warfare.
But really, Canada and the US have been allies and friends for a long time, and I'm proud we've helped in Afghanistan. Hopefully relations will stay good. But when Fox is the top viewed news network in a country and spewing this sort of hate, one sometimes wonders.
Read Ian Welsh at ianwelsh.net
In WWII Canada had 1.1 million men serving and lost 45,364. The total population of the country in 1945 was 12,072,000. Canada thus had a per capita loss rate of .376%. America's death rate in WWII was .21%.
In WWI Canada had 64,944 military casualties in a total population of 7.2 million. The per capita death rate was thus a wopping 0.9%. The US lost 53,402, in absolute numbers less, and the casualty rate was .054%.
In WWI the US entered the war on April 6th, 1917. Canada had been at war since August 14th, 1914. (Granted, Canada had no choice in the matter as it had to go to war when Britain did, but it didn't have to send as many men as it did. Granted, also, that there's a strong argument that the US should not have entered WWI, which was not a war about any great principles or against any great evil, despite the propaganda at the time.)
Follow Ian Welsh on Twitter: www.twitter.com/iwelsh