Author Topic: Ex-Canadian Forces officer says attacking Iran would be historic mistake  (Read 1571 times)

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Ex-Canadian Forces officer says attacking Iran would be historic mistake

By Carlito Pablo, March 30, 2012

Copyright: ChameleonsEye

As the war drums beat louder and the West and Israel continue to tread down a path leading to hostilities with Iran, a former Canadian soldier who has seen the ugly face of war cites a truism as one argument for peace.

It’s easier to start a war than to end it, according to Rollie Keith. The Fraser Valley resident is no Sunday warrior.

As a paratroop officer and a tank officer, he spent about 35 years in the Canadian military. Under the United Nations flag, he has been in places like the Suez Canal and the Sinai Desert. He did two tours in Cairo and Jerusalem. He was in Lebanon in 1975 before the start of the civil war there.

The retired Canadian military captain also tells it like it is. That was the reason he stepped down as the B.C. NDP candidate in Chilliwack-Kent in the election campaign of 2005. He had previously testified for the defence of former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic that as an observer on the ground, he had seen no evidence of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, which was the justification made for the NATO bombings of Yugoslavia. He felt the pressure to withdraw his candidacy when then NDP leader Carole James said that she disagreed with Keith.

The Straight recently talked with Keith by phone about how he looks at the unfolding situation involving Iran.

“I hope there’s not a war but we’re on the slippery slope in my estimation,” Keith said. “And whether it can be avoided or not, I think, is the big question. But then where would it go?”

Although Canada doesn’t have a lot of interest directly in the Middle East, according to Keith, the consequences of the destabilization of the global economy as a likely result of a war involving Iran would also be felt here.

“Prime Minister [Stephen] Harper I think would be inclined to at least have a nominal support of any American policy,” he said. “Look at how he...has endorsed Israeli attacks on Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.”

Keith can’t imagine how a war against Iran can be a winnable one.

But Keith’s view of conflicts in the world certainly transcends his military background. He’s into history as well as the dynamics of geopolitics.

“I’m a student of World War II and its consequences and I think it can be misinterpreted but I think two of the major mistakes coming out of World War II were the creation of the State of Israel and the State of Pakistan,” he said. “Because the destabilization over the last half century, a great deal of it has come because of those states disrupting the regions that they were established in.”

Keith was interviewed before the March 24 leadership convention of the federal NDP. In that interview, he was told that one of the candidates, Quebec MP Thomas Mulcair, had previously declared that he supports Israel in all circumstances. Mulcair is now the new NDP leader.

“A homeland for Jews is one thing but a theocratic state for the Jews, which has become a bully in the neighbourhood, should never have been allowed to happen,” Keith said.

© 2012 Vancouver Free Press