Linda McQuaig

CANADA’S ROLE IN AFGHANISTAN The Canadian Peace Alliance hosts a forum with Linda McQuaig, author of Holding The Bully’s Coat, and the org’s Sid Lacombe, Tuesday (March 4), 7 pm. Free. Steelworkers’ Hall, 25 Cecil. 416-795-5863. Rating: NNNNN

Does the idea of a possible Dion/Harper deal on Afghanistan bum you out?

I don’t feel depressed, just outraged. It’s the elite closing ranks. They never forgave Jean Chretien for his decision not to go into Iraq. Dion’s under the control of the party’s powerful business wing.

Looks like the war won’t be an election issue. Bad scene, eh?

It’s so striking. Only 14 per cent of Canadians want the mandate of this mission extended, but the public is being eliminated from the debate. The Tories can now say there is bipartisan support until 2011.

Any part of the Tory game plan we’re not getting?

Afghanistan is part of a broader transformation. The Tories want to make increased military spending automatic in the future. This builds a military-industrial complex, and we can see the horror of that in the U.S. Once you build it, you can never reduce military spending, because if you do, you throw people out of work.

Are we deserting Afghan women if we push to withdraw our combat troops?

As the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan says, the Hamid Karzai government is no better than the Taliban was. Though the situation is deplorable, it’s not related to the Karzai vs Taliban war but to the patriarchal culture. I don’t think we’re advancing the plot by bombing villages.

What do you make of the fact that Barack Obama is a hawk on Afghanistan?

That’s been the Democratic party line for a long time. That was John Kerry’s line. Iraq is a more unpopular war. But in terms of international law, there’s not a lot of difference between the wars. They’re both illegal – the UN merely gave after-the-fact approval.

Favourite anti-war flick?

Dr. Strangelove with Peter Sellers captured the crazed mentality of the Cold War, which we still sort of have. Definitely not Charlie Wilson’s War what a whitewash for American power. Oh god, what was I thinking going to see it?

Guilty pleasure when you’re not trashing Tories?

The lingerie department at Holts.

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