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Obama can't hide from Afghanistan woes at G20 in Toronto

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After the past few days, Afghanistan may now be the last thing that U.S. President Obama wants discussed at the G8/G20. General Stanley McChrystal is gone, but the mess left behind by the revelations in the bombshell Rolling Stone feature will linger and (like the BP oil spill) could yet spread causing far more disastrous results.

Liberal America in particular -- after backing Obama's troop increase last year, or in some cases maintaining a cowardly and complicit silence -- is aghast at the McChrystal scandal not so much for the General’s disrespect of the President but because of what the story reveals about the failure of the U.S.-led war. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is typical of the growing liberal malaise, bordering on outrage, about the Afghan War.

Dowd begins with the requisite digs at the General:

"Military guys are rarely as smart as they think they are, and they've never gotten over the fact that civilians run the military. General McChrystal and his hard-bitten, smark-aleck aides nuked the president, vice-president and other top advisers as wimps, losers and clowns in a Rolling Stone profile meant to polish the general’s image..."

But then she comes to the real point:

"It's just another sign of the complete incoherence of Afghan policy. The people in charge are divided against each other. And the policy is divided against itself. We're fighting a war against an enemy that we’re desperately trying to co-opt and win over in a country where Al-Qaeda, which was supposed to be the enemy, is no longer based.

Even our corrupt puppet doesn't think we can prevail. As Dester Filkins recently reported in The Times, Hamid Karzai told two former Afghan officials that he had lost faith in the Americans and was trying to strike his own deal with the Taliban."

With all this dominating the headlines, a few days in Ontario filled with empty rhetoric about Africa and maternal health, endless photo-ops -- beavertails, anyone? -- capped off with a platitudinous official statement might just quell the uproar a bit.

But that's where the anti-war movement comes in. The Canadian Peace Alliance, together with over a dozen local groups, is organizing a demonstration on Saturday, June 26, 12:30 p.m. outside the U.S. Consulate. From there we'll join in with the "Putting People First" rally and march which gets underways at 1 p.m. at Queen's Park.

In addition to Afghanistan, the issue of Palestine and the siege of Gaza will figure prominently in the anti-war rally. That's another issue that the G8/G20 leaders will likely want to downplay. After all, Turkey is in the G20 and any discussion of the Middle East would precipitate comments from their delegation about the massacre of Turkish citizens in the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla.

The first Saturday in June saw thousands rally in close to 20 cities and towns across Canada to denounce the Israeli flotilla massacre. This coming last Saturday of June will see a day of action against the G20. Against the backdrop of Fortress Toronto, and whether Obama or the other leaders like it or not, the plight of both Afghanistan and Palestine will be highlighted.

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