Editor’s Notes

John Manley’s call for 1,000 more NATO combat troops
suggests he spent too much time among the poppies   

Politics is full of mysteries: how, for example, can someone as gullible as John Manley rise to become a key cabinet minister in the Canadian federal government?

Afghanistan has got to be John Manley’s major embarrassment. As a Chretien cabinet minister in 2002 he was deeply involved in a love affair with Washington. By all appearances if he’d had his way Canada would have become the American 51st state. To his dismay his song-and-dance lover jilted him and expanded what was to become The George W. Bush Afghan and Iraq Show.

In the wake of infamous 9/11 there was a great hue and cry throughout the world in support of the United States. Headlines throughout Europe declared “Today we are all Americans”. Bush proudly declared himself a war president and in about two years proceeded to tell his electoral constituents and the world, 935 lies (see story below) to pave the way for his Iraq invasion.

Manley says he urgently tried to dissuade the Bushites from invading Iraq but he was talking to a lover who, while not entirely gone in the flesh, had certainly long gone in spirit. Bush virtually turned his back on Afghanistan leaving his most loyal disciple, Manley, and the rest of the world holding the Afghan bag. Osama bin Laden was small potatoes: there was that huge underground lake of oil covered by a country called Iraq.

Today the Americans are making a big show of sending some 3,000 Marines to Iraq.  Manley visits Iraq at the behest of our prime minister and comes back with the fairytale that 1,000 combat troops from NATO countries can save the day.

Such foolishness mocks the lessons of history. Afghanistan has been swallowing armies ever since the successful Mongol invasion about 800 years ago. The British found that out in the 19th century when they lost a whole army. Only one, repeat one, Britisher escaped. The Russians had more than 100,000 boots on the ground for about nine years during the 1980s and could do no more than hold the urban centres. The Russians weren’t swallowed but in the end they negotiated a graceful retreat. In a show of control, the Russian general’s son ran across the border bridge to greet his father and the two of them walked slowly and confidently out of Iraq and back home. The last two to go.

So the U.S. is sending in 3,000 marines and Manley wants 1,000 more from NATO to turn the trick. As they say in Swahili: Get Serious. Do we think Stephen Harper can cut any ice in Europe to win the latter’s approval to send in 1,000 combat troops. The sophisticated Europeans shook their heads in dismay at the childish pranks of Brian Mulroney. Only by a rein of terror can Harper convince his caucus and cabinet to keep their mouths shut. Does Manley think the Europeans are blind to the realities of Afghanistan and need only the wisdom of Stephen Harper to open their eyes and do the right military-combat thing in Afghanistan? If so, Manley joins the Americans by looking at the world through glasses glazed by arrogance.

The Americans can’t even win the war on drugs on their home turf. In Afghanistan a record crop of poppies (read heroin) has flourished under their guns. The whole country is saturated with corruption. We are there simply making fools of ourselves. There can be no victory in Afghanistan, to say nothing of Iraq.

The peoples there live by different codes. Codes that we seem unable to decipher. Sure we live in the best country in the world with a set of laws and mores and folkways of which we are rightly proud. But with all the good will in the world we can’t go about spreading our word at the point of a gun. What we need to do is to continue to set an example.

And the best example we can set at the moment is to bring our armed children back home — now — and cut our losses.

Looking forward

Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective

Meanwhile, please find below a fourth repeat of Shaking the Money Tree.

Editor’s Notes

In case you missed it we repeat here …

Shaking the Money Tree

A long-time girl friend used to say on greeting, “Hey! What’s shakin’?”

I haven’t seen her for a few years but if she were to ask me today I’d say, “The Money Tree!”

And that would be the True North Readers Money Tree. Today marks edition 116 since we began publishing in December 2006. From a naturally slow start we grew from about 14 hits that month to more than 10,000 hits a month by October 2007.

While mostly from Canada and the United States readers are tuning in to True North in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, France, Spain, Mexico, China, and the Seychelles on the Indian Ocean. Google is one of the vehicles that bring readers to True North. A substantial number of hits are from academic institutions in the U.S.

Our previous issue was December 21 when he took time off to shovel the snow. We’re back now with a publication that will prove to be even more interesting and sophisticated. Because of our working holiday it’s as if we’re into it from a standing start so it’ll be another issue or two before we hit our usual stride.

I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to those who have made financial donations to True North — all of them, with one exception because of a misunderstanding, without urging from here. The fact is, however, that True North is being run at a serious deficit. This considerably cripples what we can do.

Just one example: a story crossed my desktop about ruthless exploitation of the weak and the sick by American drug companies. I fantasized about what it would be like if I could turn to a freelancer and say, “Let’s get a Canadian angle on this.” Of course we couldn’t afford this luxury so the story sits in my In File.

There is much about True North that could be improved if we had a few bucks, including the length of stories. Some of them deserve to be long; others could be edited. But editing takes time and time is money. So we do what we can.

This then is about gently shaking money out of our readers. It’s something for which I don’t really have any talent. I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know when to do it. So I’m simply asking for it here and now.  Don’t be shy about the amount — seriously, anything from a penny up will be welcomed.

Thee are several ways you can throw us a lifeline and it’s all protected. Just click here.

Meanwhile, take it easy, but take it.

Looking forward,


Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective.