In the National Post, About Afghanistan: 'It's Our Generation's Spanish Civil War'
“To my mind, Afghanistan is central to the history of the Left, and to the history of the world since the 1980s. It is to the early 21st century, to the years we’re now living through, what the Spanish Civil War was to Europe in the mid and late 20th century.”
I go on to observe:
What this means is that the heirs and successors of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion — the brave Canadian volunteers who went to Spain to fight Franco’s fascists — are to be found today not in the main ranks of the left, but among the courageous young men and women of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the Vandoos, and all those other Canadian regiments that are holding the banner high in Afghanistan. It means that Canadian soldiers, and not Canada’s “anti-war” politicians and polemicists, are at the vanguard of the historic mission of the left. I would have been proud of those soldiers anyway, but as someone who counts himself among the left-wing founders of the Canada Afghanistan Solidarity Committee, I am doubly proud of them.
A much more elaborate set of arguments along these lines unfolds in a conversation I had recently with Stan Persky, at Dooney's Cafe.
The Solidarity Committee first came to the Post's attention here.
To be clear, the Committee is by no means an exclusively "left-wing" group, as I hope my Post essay makes plain. We have all kinds of members, including soldiers: The photograph above - some kids clowning around in Kandahar - was taken by one of our more recent members, Tylere Couture, who works with a Civilian-Military (CIMIC) operation of the Canadian-led Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team. Keep an eye on the CASC site in the coming days for Tylere's reports, and more of his photography.