Heroes And Villains

Heroes and Villains: Obama and bin Laden
Heroes And Villains

Heroes and Villains: Obama and bin Laden

Immediately after being elected, U.S. President Barack Obama made hunting down al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden his administration’s top mission in the war on terrorism While campaigning in June 2008, Barack Obama promised to capture al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden but offered few details of any plan. The Democratic presidential candidate came under heavy fire from media pundits, who called the statement either naïve or a calculated gambit he would abandon once in the White House. Less than five months later, on Nov. 4, Obama became America’s first Black president. He immediately announced a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops in Iraq—an act that earned him the Nobel Peace Prize— and ordered a covert hunt for the architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that ki...
Heroes and villains: Tecumseh and Procter
Heroes And Villains

Heroes and villains: Tecumseh and Procter

  During the War of 1812, the disastrous defeat that led to First Nations Confederacy leader Tecumseh’s death resulted as much from his ally Major-General Henry Procter’s incompetence as from American fighting skill. Before the War of 1812, American westward settlement flooded across many First Nations tribes’ traditional lands. Shawnee Chief Tecumseh spent years tirelessly building a First Nations confederacy to block further expansion. In an 1810 letter to Indiana Governor William Henry Harrison, the 43-year-old Tecumseh declared that the “only way to stop this evil is for all…red men to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land…. Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the clouds and the great sea, as well as the earth?” By war’s outbreak unceasing fighting ...
Kennedy and Khrushchev
Heroes And Villains

Kennedy and Khrushchev

For 13 days in October 1962, the world stood on the precipice of nuclear Armageddon as President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev squared off during the Cuban missile crisis   On Jan. 20, 1961, newly inaugurated President John F. Kennedy inherited an ill-conceived plan to overthrow Fidel Castro’s Cuban regime through an invasion by exiles, backed by the Central Intelligence Agency. Launched on April 17, the Bay of Pigs fiasco scuttled any hope for diplomatic rapprochement between the two countries. With Cuba just 145 kilometres from Florida, Kennedy’s administration considered Castro’s government a threat. On Oct. 16, this seemed proved when a U-2 spy plane photographed Soviet-built sites deploying between 16 and 32 nuclear missiles. Kennedy’s advisers p...
Heroes and Villains: Bethune and Franco
Heroes And Villains

Heroes and Villains: Bethune and Franco

On Feb. 8, 1937, some 150,000 Spanish civilians fled Málaga and General Francisco Franco’s closing Nationalist forces. Confined to a narrow coastal road, the refugees soon met Canadian doctor Norman Bethune   Norman Bethune, the 46-year-old former chief of thoracic surgery at Montreal’s Sacré-Cœur Hospital, arrived in Spain on Nov. 3, 1936, as the head of a medical unit dispatched by the Canadian Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy. Bethune was convinced that international fascism sought to dominate the world. “They’ve begun in Germany, in Japan, now in Spain and they’re coming out in the open everywhere. If we don’t stop them in Spain while we can, they’ll turn the world into a slaughterhouse,” he predicted. After touring the battlefront, Bethune realized that many of the ...
Dallaire and Ngeze
Heroes And Villains

Dallaire and Ngeze

Roméo Dallaire and Hassan Ngeze likely never met, but the Canadian general’s efforts to prevent genocide in Rwanda conflicted with the plan of one of the masterminds behind the slaughter of the country’s Tutsi peoples On May 1, 1994, Major-General Roméo Dallaire arrived at the Sainte-Famille Church in the Rwandan capital city of Kigali to find thousands of people hiding there. Several blue beret-wearing UN observers were scattered in their midst. Dead and dying lay everywhere. Despair washed over Dallaire. There was little he or his UN force could do to protect these people from the murderers perpetrating one of the worst genocides since the Second World War. The previous October, Dallaire had deployed to Rwanda to referee a peace agreement aimed at ending a bloody civil war between...
Churchill and Hitler
Heroes And Villains

Churchill and Hitler

Winston Churchill and Adolph Hitler were both charismatic, demanding leaders who promised to restore order to their society after the disruption and devastation of the Great War. They were also mortal enemies with very different visions of what social order should look like.  Emnity  “If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed.” —Churchill (LEFT) “The gift Mr. Churchill possesses is the gift to lie with a pious expression on his face.” —Hitler (RIGHT) When Adolph Hitler came to power, Winston Churchill was in the political wilderness, but speaking out against appeasement. “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last,” he warned. With the signing of the Munich Agreement (the 1938 pact among the major powers of Europe—except the Soviet Union and...
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