TV host’s apology no good

Fox news broadcaster Greg Gutfeld says the time is ripe for the U.S. to invade Canada.

Fox news broadcaster Greg Gutfeld says the time is ripe for the U.S. to invade Canada.

“Isn’t this the perfect time to invade this ridiculous country? They have no army,” he sneered on his late-night show Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld earlier this month, in response to Canada’s intentions to withdraw most of its 2,500 troops from the Afghan conflict in 2011.

Gutfeld and a panel of Americans ranted for five minutes, bashing Canada’s military, painting the troops as pansies, and inferring that Canada’s presence in Afghanistan has little significance.

But it was all in fun, and no hard feelings were intended, Gutfeld later said in an apology that only an idiot would believe, let alone a lie-detector test.

The recent talk-show segment, taped just before four more Canadian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, featured a group of American pundits taking turns trashing Canada and its reliability as an ally.

News of the impending withdrawal of Canada’s troops, and Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie’s comments that the military would need a one-year-break from operations after the difficult mission in Afghanistan winds down, served as a launching pad for members of the Fox panel to mock Canada.

Panelists suggested the Canadian soldiers need time off for “manicures and pedicures.”

Gutfeld sneered: “The Canadian military wants to take a breather to do some yoga, paint landscapes, run on the beach in gorgeous white Capri pants.”

Then added: “Isn’t this the perfect time to invade this ridiculous country? They have no army.”

But the ignorance didn’t stop there.

An unknown comedian, Doug Benson, one of the panel members, chimed in: “I didn’t even know they were in the war,” he said. “I thought that’s where you go if you don’t want to fight — go chill in Canada. I guess that’ll be their tourism selling point: We’re not in the war for a year. So come on by while we nap.”

The Canadian government, now dealing with 116 soldiers killed in Afghanistan, a conflict the U.S. expects NATO to mop up, was not impressed and has demanded an apology.

“These are despicable, hurtful and ignorant comments,” said Dan Dugas, spokesperson for Defence Minister Peter MacKay.

“No one is laughing,” he said. “And they owe Canada — and, more importantly, the families of each one of our fallen heroes — an apology for their ill-informed mistakes.”

Gutfeld eventually did apologize — sort of. “I realize that my words may have been misunderstood,” he said.

Misunderstood? If he thinks Canadians will swallow that crap, he’s missed his real calling — convincing children to believe in Santa Claus. The intent of his ignorant remarks were clear: Canadians are a joke to the U.S.

The pompous Gutfeld continued to dig himself deeper into feedlot bedding with his apology: “It was not my intent to disrespect the brave men, women and families of the Canadian military, and for that I apologize. Red Eye is a satirical take on the news, in which all topics are addressed in a light-hearted, humorous and ridiculous manner.”

Then let’s get light-hearted about U.S. troops: “They are so anxious to kill in Iraq, it’s turned into a game who can carve the most notches in their rifle butts.” Drum roll, followed by laughter. See — it’s just not funny.

But Gutfeld found it funny that Canada’s commanding officers said our troops needed a year’s break after the Afghan conflict.

A little R and R can work magic on a person’s state of mind.

The U.S. government should take note, as it grapples with an unexplained and stunning spike in suicides among its troops returning from Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the fight against terrorism.

In January 2008, “we lost more soldiers to suicide than to al-Qaida,” said Paul Rieckhoff, director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He urged “bold and immediate action” to find the root cause.

Gutfeld should also take note that it’s because of the incompetence of his country’s military, due to sloppiness in strategic planning as it searched like blind mice for the devil Osama bin Laden, that the people of Afghanistan are living hell on earth. It is a war gone horribly wrong.

Once bored with the bin Laden witch hunt, America suddenly trained its eyes on the oil-rich fields of Iraq. Go figure. “Take my oil, please.”

Drum roll, and much laughter.

Rick Zemanek is an Advocate editor.

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