A rerun. I wrote the piece below for a guest editorial in The Bismarck Tribune about ten years ago now. We were at war in Iraq. Now the wars are over. Sort of. I’ve updated it a bit.
Bringing Home The Troops
Well, the troops are on their way home from Afghanistan. That’s what they said on the six o’clock news this week. The problem with getting out of there right now, of course, is now we have to find someplace else to get tangled up. Here in America, at least in my lifetime, we seem to need our dirty little wars. Just to prove we’re tough enough, I guess. So where would we go next? Here’s my plan: Canada.
It makes so much sense. Just load ‘em all up—Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines—on planes and ships, and instead of bringing them here, head for Halifax. And start marching west. Send the National Guard to Vancouver and have them start marching east. They meet in Winnipeg, the new Kabul. It’s the perfect war.
You want to talk about “Mission Accomplished?” This is it. Topple a statue of John Diefenbaker or two, and just keep rolling down the Trans-Canada Highway. I think we could do this without any bloodshed, even. I mean, we’re hitting a country where the police still ride horses. Ever hear of a horse-bomb? I don’t think so. No terrorists there.
It has everything we need in our wars. First, the natives speak a different language, a necessary element for our wars. We’d never go to war with a country that speaks the same language as us. (The Canadians actually speak two languages I don’t understand—French in the east and Canadian out here on the prairie.)
Second, Canada has all these huge oil reserves, almost as great as the Middle East. That also seems to be a requirement for a war these days. We have some pipelines running south, and they keep talking on the news about another one, Keyhole or something like that, which is going to deliver tar and sands, as close as I can tell. Republicans like the idea, they say, but the President doesn’t like either tar or sand, one or the other, so he says might stop it.
Anyway, if we took over Canada, it would end all this bickering about international pipelines, because there’d be no international border. Then maybe they could find something useful to do in Washington. (Actually, if the President wants to send me up to Canada to run things—I live so close I can almost see it from here—I’d just nationalize those dirty Alberta oil mines, send the Koch brothers packing, and shut the whole thing down. But I suppose that’s hoping for a bit too much.)
Third, they’re right next door, so war transportation costs go way down—we can drive to war instead of taking ships and planes. Hitchhike, even.
Some of my best friends are Canadian, but I tell ya, once in a while I think they just maybe have it coming. I’m reminded of the story about the two explorers, one from Canada, the other from the U.S., who spent a few years roaming the world before being captured by terrorist kidnappers. The terrorist leader informed them they were going to die, but offered to honor each of them one request before they died.
The Canadian said “I want to give a speech for you and for my American friend here about how for all these two hundred years our neighbors to the south have been repressing and dominating the good people of Canada, treating us unfairly, polluting our waters, passing unfair trade bills, and devaluing our currency.”
“Fine,” said the leader.
“And what about you?” he asked the U.S. explorer.
“I want you to kill me first. I’d rather die than listen to that damn speech for the four hundredth time,” was the reply.
So that’s my plan. Instead of bringing the troops directly home from Afghanistan, run ‘em through Canada. Meet the Guard in Winnipeg. Go to a hockey game or two. Claim the western oil fields and pipelines as the spoils of war. And then declare victory and get out. Send everyone home. Cheap. We can drive everything back home. Whole thing shouldn’t take more than six or eight weeks. Just leave 8 or 10 guys behind to keep an eye on our new oil fields, and a couple more to watch for recruits for the UND hockey team.
Good for the North Dakota economy too. From Winnipeg, they’d have to come through here and buy gas and groceries and motel rooms on the way home.
Next: California. Makes sense. Foreign speaking. Even their leader. (Boy, this is sadly out of date. Arnold Schwarzenegger was the California Governor when I wrote this.)