The Canadian government, unhappy for many years with Washington’s belligerent foreign policy and fearful of its massive weapons stockpiles, decided last year to invade the U.S., seizing oil refineries and manufacturing plants, and establishing “regime change” to the delight of many of its neighbors to the south.
Canadian officials decided that Toledo, home to 300,000 people, and a regional hotbed of resistance to the puppet government installed by Ottawa, must be pacified in order to participate in free elections scheduled for January.
Last month, Canadian Air Force and artillery began shelling Toledo, particularly the South End, home to the worst of the insurgents. Soldiers shut off the city’s water. Around the clock, sound trucks alternately blared French rap music and Quebec opera. Residents were warned to leave, except males between 15 and 50. These suspected insurgents were turned back, forced to await the invasion. Between 80 and 90% of Toledoans packed up and fled. Busy intersections like Front and Main, and Byrne and Glendale became deserted. Schools were left vacant. Voices of security guards echoed through empty shopping malls.
102,000 Toledoans are now living in Bowling Green, 50,000 are in Monroe, 21,000 in Defiance, 18,000 in Grand Rapids, 12,000 in Tiffin, and some 40,000 are scattered in rural areas of northwest Ohio. Refugees lucky enough to be taken in are reported living seven families to a home. Others are in camps with up to 300 people per toilet. Nighttime temperatures are below freezing. Diarrhea and malnutrition have been killing the very young and the very old for weeks.
After Canadian gunships, helicopters and fighter planes rocketed and strafed much of the city and artillery barrages ceased, thousands of Canadian Army and Marines, bone-weary and under constant attack, methodically pushed block by block through Toledo, beginning in Point Place and moving south. The most common tactic used was to kick in a door, spray the interior with machine gun fire, look for insurgents, and repeat, street after street for a week.
During services last Sunday, Canadian troops stormed Toledo’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, looking for priests they said allowed insurgents to use it as a base of operations. Four panicked worshippers were killed in the attack.
Through the week of fighting, the Toledo Red Cross waited in Perrysburg with food, water and medicines, but Canadians refused to let them cross the Maumee River. Gen. Jack McKenzie, commander of Canadian forces, declared, “There is no humanitarian emergency in Toledo. We have no reports of civilian casualties, but residents who want medical aid can approach Canadian patrols.” Fearful, few Toledoans respond to his offer, even though little medical care is available in the city. Canadian forces, claiming that the city’s hospitals were “centers of propaganda about civilian casualties during the previous battle of Toledo, bombed St. Luke’s and St. Vincent’s hospitals the first day of the attack, killing dozens of doctors. The Medical College of Ohio, with water cut off and sporadic electricity, is available for those who can reach it.”
At the end of one week, much quicker than military analysts predicted, McKenzie declared the battle for Toledo a success. “We measure success by the fact that we’ve killed 1,600 militants, inflicted no civilian casualties, and sent a strong message to insurgent strongholds in Cleveland and Sandusky. You can run from the Canadian military but you cannot hide.”
Ministry of Defense officials in Ottawa agree with Gen. McKenzie’s analysis and say only “mopping up operations remain in Toledo.”
On the first day after the end of major military operations in Toledo, the American Red Cross estimated 800 civilians died in the fighting, an AP photographer reported dogs feeding on corpses lying in Secor Rd., and a suicide bombing attack by remaining Toledo insurgents killed the 42nd and 43rd Canadian soldiers in that city.
MIKE FERNER is a member of Veterans for Peace from Toledo, Ohio. He returned from a second trip to Iraq earlier this year. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org