Canada will succeed at whatever it is we are trying to accomplish in Afghanistan. The reason, in case you've been wondering, is this: we were invited.
This pearl of wisdom from Laurie Hawn, Conservative Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Centre, former Air Force lieutenant-colonel (where he survived taking off and landing in the infamous CF-104 "Widowmaker") and founding member of the Investment Advisors Association of Canada.
Hitherto, Hawn was best known for his sponsorship in 2009 of a federal "economic stimulus package" worth a million free-floating Canadian Credonias to the hoity-toity Glenora Club in his riding. At the time, as blogger Dave Cournoyer pointed out on Daveberta.ca, an annual family membership cost $4,065.
But never mind that! If you've ever wondered what makes our few Canadian soldiers more likely to succeed in Afghanistan than those of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, the Russian Tsar, the British Empire and the Soviet Union, well, thanks to Hawn's explanation there's no need to wonder any more…
Hawn, with his military man's understanding of things (gained, granted, soaring airily somewhere high among the clouds above) has explained it all at a recent forum that was unfortunately covered only by the community press.
At least he didn't say it was because the Taliban don't have American help, like they did back in the 1980s after the Red Army invaded the place in 1979, keeping 100,000 troops in the country at any given time over the nine years it took for the Afghans to drive them out.
However, all those suggestions by people who keep quoting history books to reach the conclusion the decade-long meat-grinder the Canadian Forces have been struggling through in Afghanistan is certain to end badly just don't get it, Hawn told a forum attended by 30 hardy citizens in north Edmonton on the freezing night of Feb. 22.
The invitation makes all the difference, he explained. "We were there at the request of the most legitimate Afghan authority we could find." (Emphasis added.)
That's probably subject to contention in certain circles, since the previous government of Afghanistan had just been toppled by our American allies in the fall of 2001, but in fairness it probably was the most legitimate government around by the time we got there.
Regardless, though, I am sorry to report that Hawn is wrong, that having an invite is no guarantee of success in the Hindu Kush. Indeed, the Red Army had not only one invitation, but was repeatedly requested by the Afghan government of the day to intervene in the troubled country in 1978.
Alas for the Soviets, when they RSVP'd the Afghan government, presumably the most legitimate authority they could find at the time, and then took it up on its frequent invitations, things nevertheless turned out badly: 14,453 soldiers killed, 53,753 wounded and 311 missing.
Thankfully, Hawn got one thing right. The Afghan government led by President Hamid Karzai that we're propping up at a huge expenditure of blood and treasure is utterly corrupt, and thickly populated by successful drug pushers to boot. "There's no question about it. Karzai is not the cleanest guy on the block," Hawn observed acutely. Oh well, at least he's our dirty guy!
All this leads inevitably to the question of why our federal Conservative politicians say stuff like this, which an alert reader can prove is wrong within a portion of a second merely by using Google.
Personally, I suspect it's because they think we're dopes and they can tell us whatever pops into their heads and we'll believe them. And, you know, given the voting records of citizens in this some parts of this country, there just might be some evidence for just this proposition.
This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.
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