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Midnight Politico

a_picazo's picture
Alheli Picazo is a retired elite athlete who's still passionate about health, fitness and human kinetics. After the conclusion of her athletic career, Picazo became keenly interested in politics and is now actively involved in promoting and contributing to the progressive cause. Picazo's goal is to engage in a meaningful political debate and combat apathy by shedding light on the information and stories that traditional media sources don't always provide.

Afghanistan beyond 2011 -- it's a done deal

| April 11, 2010

It's official: Canada will remain in Afghanistan beyond the mission's scheduled conclusion in 2011.

The confirmation came Saturday; Defence minister Peter MacKay acknowledging that Canada will play a ‘non-combat' role in Afghanistan beyond the 2011 withdrawal of combat forces. MacKay stressed he'd work "within the parameters of the parliamentary motion which states very clearly that the ‘military' mission will come to an end in 2011," saying Canadian troops would "transition into some of the other important work that we're doing, that includes a focus on police training."

The proposed training role outlined by MacKay will surely be welcomed by our partners in NATO who recently requested that Canada remain in Afghanistan, in some capacity, beyond 2011. In fact, the mentoring role Canadian troops are set to undertake was specifically suggested by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. International pressure was likely a factor in the strategy shift detailed by MacKay, but the deepening rift between the Karzai government and the West calls into question the wisdom of such a decision; A decision which comes on the heels of increasingly erratic behaviour by Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who's recent outlandish accusations drew international criticism and unilateral scorn.

Although many Canadians have been under the impression that Canada's Afghan contribution would come to a complete conclusion in 2011, MacKay insists "the prime minister has been clear in saying that our commitment to Afghanistan is for the long term."
You're forgiven if you don't recall the ‘clarity' MacKay suggests came from the PMO; Harper has remained intentionally muted on the issue while others privy to the details offer identically scripted answers to questions pertaining to Afghanistan.

This is why we need a public discussion about Afghanistan; Canadians want clarity on the mission they're being asked to support, and answers to fundamental questions surrounding the proposed new plan.

What is the ultimate goal of the mission? What will a continued ‘non-military' presence achieve? How many troops will be involved? Will the renewed commitment be an open ended one, or will it have a scheduled termination? Most importantly, with Canada and our NATO allies questioning the sincerity of the Karzai government, how will continuing to support a corrupt, dishonest, opportunistic regime amount to anything but a frivolous attempt toward an unachievable ideal?

The soldiers who've already served in Afghanistan, and those who died in the battle, did so with honour and conviction; Their contributions were not in vain. However, over the course of eight years the circumstances have changed; The military is exhausted, NATO forces are worn out, and the battle has shifted beyond Afghanistan into Pakistan. It's clearly become an endless crusade, and one that cannot be sustained.

Unless the Harper government is prepared to commit our troops to the indefinite struggle of creating, and maintaining a sense order in the Middle East, it's difficult to imagine that the proposed extension of Canadian involvement will result in any substantive gain. Unless there is a comprehensive strategy and detailed plan to justify a continued presence in Afghanistan, it's time to bring our troops home.

All of them.

 

UPDATE April 12: Afghan president Hamid Karzai threatens to block NATO offensive

UPDATE April 25: More questions than answers as RCMP plans training for Afghan police

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Comments

Update

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/afghanmission/article/819009--stephen...

This article is an example of extremely poor journalism. It has a Conservative bias in that it either forgot or intentionally ignores that the Conservative government deployed/is deploying/will deploy 90 soldiers to Kabul, with some of that number to be deployed to Kandahar to train the Afghan National Army and Police. These troops will remain past 2011. This deployment is not up for discussion by Parliament.

What the hell's Liberal MP Bob Rae (and those Liberals who support him) up to? The article also fails to mention that NDP defense critic Jack Harris is on record as being on board with this too: While Harper is extolling the virtues of a Canadian civilian surge, Rae and Harris are talking about deploying more Canadian troops to Afghanistan who will remain there beyond 2011 to train the ANA and ANP.

The only logic I can think of behind this is that they are thinking in terms of an election combined with the results of a study that suggests that the reporting of increasing Canadian soldier deaths in Afghanistan seems to increase support for the war.

The Liberals may also be using this as 'red meat' to see if the Conservatives will 'swallow the bait'. If they do, then the Libs can point out how the Cons have flip-flopped from "We do not cut and run" to "There will be no Canadian troops in Afghanistan beyond 2011" to "There will be 90 Canadian troops training Afghan soldiers and police beyond 2011" to "There will be [as of yet indeterminate number] additional contingents of troops deployed to Afghanistan to train Afghan soldiers and police."

Brace yourself people, for an escalation of military engagement in the Afghan quagmire beyond 2011 with the Cons, Libs and Dippers all behind it.

There is a precedent for this. Roughly a year ago, when the Cons were originally publicly talking about Canadian troops staying in Afghanistan beyond 2011, Harper said back then that this matter would not be brought before Parliament. Nothing has changed.

Harper claimed in the Netherlands today, that he believes the majority of Canadians would support his 'civilian surge' in Afghanistan. Obviously, he's trying to convince the Dutch government to continue its support of the NATO war effort the "Canadian" way, through a 'civilian surge' of its own.

Bloody bunch of slimey buggers.

You think that's a good thing?

To me, it's a case of the two old parties licking the hands of the Pentagon, Defense Department, White House, arms industry, NATO, big oil, mining and business interests.

They're using the 'slippery slope' tactic of trying to keep as much of a Canadian presence in Afghanistan for as long as possible.

Well, it looks like the press has finally caught up to what I've been reporting.

The future of the Afghan mission is quietly being shaped in the corridors and backrooms of Parliament Hill.

a_picazo wrote:

My personal belief, without extra analysis, is this:

The Harper government has zero strategy. They do not have a plan and seem to be committing troops to a 'non-combat' role to appease the international audience.

Of course the Harper government has a strategy! Harper doesn't blow his nose without having some kind of strategy.

Harper wants Canada to be a major partner of the United States in the phony War on Terra™. Canada's International Policy Statement, written in 2005, noted that Canada must break through the "glass ceiling of its middle power status," and learn to compete "in a world of rising giants."

Harper wants Canada to help the USA keep Afghanistan safe for US oil and gas interests and keep it free of Chinese, Russian, and Iranian influence. He wants to build a reputation for the Canadian forces as fighters, not peacekeepers. He wants to cultivate an image as a great humanitarian who concerns himself with the plight of Afghan schoolgirls and Haitian street urchins. He wants to hear Hamid Karzai say, as he said to the Canadian Parliament in September, 2007, "Thanks to Canada's contributions, Afghanistan today is profoundly different from the terrified and exhausted country it was five years ago." He wants to rehabilitate the tattered image of the RCMP by sending them off to Afghanistan and Haiti to help train local fascist police forces in efficient methods of suppressing the population, to be welcomed as heroes on their return to Canada. He wants an excuse to spend tens of billions of taxpayer dollars on Canada's military-industrial complex, to make his corporate backers even richer.

Harper was forced into agreeing to a non-combat perspective after 2011 by the pressure of Canadian public opinion, distortedly refracted through the opposition parties in Parliament, who currently hold the majority. But he's planning for a long stay in Afghanistan, in a supporting role to the NATO offensive, at least until he gets his majority. By 2012 Canada will have half a billion dollars' worth of armed, unmanned aerial drones, similar to the Predators and Reapers used by the U.S. in its air strikes against civilian targets in Pakistan. There's lots of opportunity for Canada to help out its imperialist neighbour by delivering death from the air, without a single Canadian soldier having to come home in a box.

a_picazo wrote:

Nothing will be gained from 'training' a police force built on corruption, who operate on the premise of 'you scratch my back, i'll scratch yours.'

Not true, from Harper's point of view. He wants to see a strong police force and army backing up the US-friendly regime in Kabul and protecting the $7.6-billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline soon to be built.

a_picazo wrote:

There is nothing to be gained from Afghanistan.

Again, not true.

Canadian capitalists have profited from the war and Canada's close ties with the US war machine:

Quote:
Canadian exports to Afghanistan have increased over 100-fold in the past five years, growing from $167,000 to over $19,000,000, according to Industry Canada statistics. Canadian corporations such as Bell Helicopters and CAE (one of Canada's largest defence contractors) have profited immensely: Bell won a $1 billion contract with the US military to supply helicopters, while CAE won a $20 million contract to supply combat simulation technology.

a_picazo wrote:

NATO continues to prop up a corrupt regime, one who will be defeated the instant Western backers leave. This corrupt regime will be replaced by another corrupt regime, and so on. Any sense of 'progress' made in Afghanistan will disappear after Western forces leave. Why? Because Afghanistan is not the USA or Canada. They will return to being Afghanistan after we're gone.

This is a very condescending and short-sighted view of Afghanistan - especially for someone who says "The future of Afghanistan must be decided by the Afghan people." The latter is quite correct, but seems rather insincere when coupled with the foregoing (dubious) assessment of Afghanistan as some sort of perpetual hell-hole of corruption. Instead of jumping to conclusions about Afghanistan being doomed to living under corrupt regimes forever, why not show a bit of faith in the ability of a free people to govern themselves if left alone by western imperialism?

a_picazo wrote:

As for the Bush argument "we have to fight them over there so we don't fight them over here", that is utter nonsense. The world will always have extremists and terrorists, and no amount of Western intervention will put an end to it.

This misses the point completely. It's not that fighting terrorism and "extremism" is completely futile.

It's that fighting terrorism begins at home; starting with the terrorists who run our governments and use our armed forces to terrorize people in faraway lands. That's a fight we must undertake and win. The point is also that "we" have been "fighting them over there" for many decades, in many ways, and it has only fuelled their justifiable anger and resentment against the imperialist powers that leads to violent retaliation against us. There's no reason for us to support imperialist military action overseas, because the imperialists do not speak for us, nor are they our friends and protectors - they are our enemies. Truth be told, we have more in common with the people of Afghanistan than we do with the George Bushes and Stephen Harpers of this world.

What sits ill with me about this article and in all the articles you write is your complete lack of context for the war in Afghanistan from the view of the people who are living there. Above all else, in any discussion, we must, MUST, think of those who are being murdered in night time raids and random air strikes.

When you say something like;

The soldiers who've already served in Afghanistan, and those who died in the battle, did so with honour and conviction; Their contributions were not in vain.

All i can think of is your complete lack of any mention of the afghan people. What about the thousands of Afghan civilians who have died in vain? The pregnant women, and children.  The families who've lost their fathers and brothers and mothers and on and on and on.

For me, this is where your writing loses all credibility.   And when you do mention Afghanistan itself, you criticize it's government.  Karzai is, and has been, between a rock and a hard place.  For the last 9 years he's repeatedly pleaded with the foreign military forces in his country to stop killing so many Afghan civilians in their operations." (Quoted from wiki).  What i see is a war out of control where there is no accountability of the actions of foreign military troops.

It's easy to criticize him from afar and take his words out of context, but could any of us, in his shoes over the last 9 years have made better choices?  We have no idea of the power plays involved or to the extent his hands are tied by international influence.

I feel like you need to widen your scope of reading when it comes to this topic.  I know you're limited on space.  But lets talk more about what war really is, and what's is really happening in Afghanistan.  Canadians ARE dieing in vane.  This is a war no one can win. 

This is one of my favorite quotes from you;

Most importantly, with Canada and our NATO allies questioning the sincerity of the Karzai government, how will continuing to support a corrupt, dishonest, opportunistic regime amount to anything but a frivolous attempt toward an unachievable ideal?

This is the wrong question to ask!!!!!1 Let's take a moment to question the sincerity of Nato and it's allies and why Canada should support them? What is their agenda? Who is paying for this war and who is profiting? Those are the key factors here.  Let's not talk about whether Canadians should die helping a corrupt government, but why they should die at all?!   "Operation Enduring Freedom", which was launched by the US, has resulted in the deaths of  tens of thousands of Afghan people.  Let's talk about that.  Whose unachievable ideal are we fighting for here? Because I'm sure it isn't being cheerleader by the Afghan people. 
In regards to the Afghanistan war being largely ignored by Bush, I don't think he was ignoring it at all.  I think it was being ignored by mainstream media and Bush was content to keep it that way.   Military actions continued and civilian death also continued.   (And profits from defense contracts and private companies also continued).   I'm sure those actions had to be approved or at least communicated to Bush at some point.  

On a last note, M. Spector makes very good and well thought out points.  All over rabble his points hit home to the truth of the matter.  Your past few articles on this subject are not very comprehensive, and I feel, are misleading on what debate should be going on here.  Yes we need to talk more about Afghanistan, and yes we need to look at Canada's role in it.  But to me, you're missing the most important points. You're watering down the harsh reality of what is going on here.  (Esp when you quote the NYTimes and other corporate media sources as reference). 

 


Thanks for the great feedback and substantive conversation, Frmrsldr.

We may not always agree, but it's substantive debate (not personal attacks *cough* Spector* cough*) that move everyone forward.

 

"You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who believes Afghanistan is the 'good' war these days."

We'll see.

The war is still raging with no end in sight. The Kandahar offensive is said to start in June of this year.

MacKay has announced that an (unspecified) portion of 90 troops are going to be training Afghan forces in Kandahar beyond 2011.

How much longer? Will they see combat? Will more troops be sent? If more troops, how many? When will the war end? How will it end? What will victory look like? Is "victory" even the right word to use?

The reason "WHY?" for all of this is because there indeed IS a large enough minority that, in combination, believes that Afghanistan is the "good" war and are apathetic about the war.

As Benjamin Franklin said: "Evil triumphs when good people fail to act."

If you want to end the war, then you've got to do something about it.

"[Afghanistan] will return to being Afghanistan after we're gone."

Which is why we never should have attacked/waged an illegal war of aggression/invaded/occupied Afghanistan and why (since this is an irreversible historical fact) we should leave now.

Yes, the (your) opinion has been limited. Sadly, the views and sides of the debate you have covered, reproduced and linked here have also been limited.

The best advice I can give you is that of Thomas Jefferson. "Do not be afraid of experts." In other words, don't let "experts" intimidate you (and do the thinking for you.)

All you need are your own thoughts and opinions on the moral and legal concepts and issues and their implications involved on this (or any other) subject.

Do not be intimidated if you are criticized. That is how you, I and we all learn.Wink

You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who believes Afghanistan is the 'good' war these days. Reality has a way of doing that.

I see, Frmrsldr. My 3 instalments on the issue have been to provide the views from all sides of the debate, with limited opinion (most opinion was contained in this piece.)

My personal belief, without extra analysis, is this:

The Harper government has zero strategy. They do not have a plan and seem to be committing troops to a 'non-combat' role to appease the international audience.
Nothing will be gained from 'training' a police force built on corruption, who operate on the premise of 'you scratch my back, i'll scratch yours.'

There is nothing to be gained from Afghanistan. NATO continues to prop up a corrupt regime, one who will be defeated the instant Western backers leave. This corrupt regime will be replaced by another corrupt regime, and so on. Any sense of 'progress' made in Afghanistan will disappear after Western forces leave. Why? Because Afghanistan is not the USA or Canada. They will return to being Afghanistan after we're gone.

The future of Afghanistan must be decided by the Afghan people. We have no right to impose a western society/democracy on them.

As for the Bush argument "we have to fight them over there so we don't fight them over here", that is utter nonsense. The world will always have extremists and terrorists, and no amount of Western intervention will put an end to it.

THAT, in short, is my personal opinion of the situation.

However, I am not involved in the military nor do I have knowledge about the intricacies of the mission. All I can to is observe, report and analyze, which is what my aim was in the 3 articles on Afghanistan.

Concerning Bush and Afghanistan, this is the argument apologists for Obama make.

The argument goes like this:

Premise 1. Afghanistan is the "good" and "necessary" war.

Premise 2. (In contrast) Iraq is the "bad" and "unnecessary" war.

Premise 3./Sub-Conclusion. Bush/Iraq war = bad. Obama/Afghan war = good.

Premise 4. The reason why we are losing the Afghan war is because Bush ignored it.

Conclusion. Although the situation in Afghanistan is bad grave, it is not good hopeless (remember good "HOPE"?). We are going to accomplish good in good Afghanistan because good Afghanistan is the good war and good Obama is a good man. The good good we are going to achieve in good Afghanistan is that we are going to make it bad difficult bad for bad Al Qaeda bad to once again use good Afghanistan (or anywhere else in this good "long war") as a bad base bad to spread bad terrorism bad. We [as Alheli has pointed out] have a good comprehensive strategy good and a good detailed plan good to achieve this good good/worthy/noble good objective good. Can we achieve good PEACE through bad WAR? Take it from me, a good Nobel good Peace good Laureat; goodYESgood goodWEgood(help!)goodCANgood!good. Good Understand good?good. Good!

"Also, in 're-wording' what I wrote, it is no longer what I wrote. It becomes Your words, not mine."

If you wish to convince anyone of this argument, it is not enough to simply say that these are my words and not yours. You must show how and where my understanding of your words and argument logically breaks down and fails.

You are at a disadvantage here because you probably haven't had any exposure to philosophical logic.

Let me show you what your argument looks like logically. It is the same argument, just worded differently.

For those of you who do have knowledge of philosophical logic, please join in and tell us if my argument is logically correct or faulty.

IF (Premise) there is a comprehensive strategy and a detailed plan (on what to do in Afghanistan), THEN our continued presence there is JUSTIFIED (Conclusion made conditional upon the Premise).

That's the positive portion of your argument. Within that same sentence, you also make a negative/reverse argument. Logically, it looks like this:

IF there is NOT a comprehensive strategy and detailed plan (on what to do in Afghanistan), THEN our continued presence there is NOT JUSTIFIED and we ought to bring our troops home. (Conclusion follows from and is conditional upon the Premise.)

This is your argument, is it not?

If not, then what IS your argument?

Your argument and you seem to be as confused about the issue as you claim Harper and the Cons and (I'm sure, personally,) "Iffy" to be.

I don't give a damn about "Iffy's" or any of your source materials' arguments.

I'm interested in YOUR arguments.

Spector, you're lack of knowledge/facts astounds me. It is common knowledge that Bush ignored and neglected Afghanistan.

Now we're told Bush completely ignored Afghanistan?? What horseshit.

No amount of bobbing and weaving can undo the plain meaning of the crap you write. Complain all you like about "context" and try to disown your own screwball "analysis", but you're not fooling anyone.

First rule of writing: Stick to writing about what you know.

Frmrsldr, the quote was from a previous article, questioning Harper's motives. It has no bearing here. The previous article focused on the (then current) requests to remain.

As for Obama, it was in comparison to Bush completely ignoring Afghanistan while chasing "WMDs" in Iraq. Harper seemed to prefer a no-plan president, than one who has some sort of strategy.

It doesn't justify or make the Afghan war right, it's just an analysis.

Also, in 're-wording' what I wrote, it is no longer what I wrote. It becomes YOUR words, not mine. 

alan, the instant one realizes that war is unnecessary and that those who die in war (in this case, both Canadians and Afghans) died in vain - because both war and, in this case, all the deaths associated with it were avoidable - is the instant one becomes antiwar.

Alheli, Harper hasn't lost interest in Afghanistan. Let's go over the chronology of events once again:

On Wednesday, U.S. State Secretary Clinton visited Canada and beseeched the Canadian government to keep troops in Afghanistan beyond 2011. Harper responds by stating that no troops are going to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2011. No troops are going to remain in the south beyond 2011. No troops are going remain in the north beyond 2011. No troops are going to train Afghan forces beyond 2011. No troops are going to protect aid workers beyond 2011. Other countries are going to have to supply troops to do this.

On Thursday, the most recently released PMO (Torturegate) Papers reveal that a civilian human rights organization warned the Harper administration in 2007 of the ethical and legal dangers of working with and benefiting from the actions of the NDS (Afghan National Directorate of Security) because the NDS does things like torture, abuse and murder prisoners. Here is yet another instance of hard evidence that shows the Harper administration was aware that Afghan authorities mistreat prisoners and in spite of this refused to heed the warnings and, in fact, still works with the NDS.

On Saturday, Defense Minister MacKay in Kabul states that 90 soldiers will be sent to Afghanistan. They will train Afghan forces. Some will be stationed in Kandahar.

Today, (Sunday) MacKay clarifies to the media that the troops will remain beyond 2011.

So, now we know that Canadian troops will be in the south training troops beyond 2011. If they engage in aggressive combat (and there is a very high likelihood they will) after June 2011, then the CONServatives will violate their own 2008 War Resolution.

"Iffy" Ignatiaff (and Jack Layton), if he has any backbone at all, should be holding that war criminal Harper and his government's feet to the fire over this violation of a Resolution agreed to by Parliament.

It also shows you that, far from losing interest in Afghanistan, Harper is still very much interested in Afghanistan. He is leading Canadians down the slippery slope where it starts with a small number (90) of troops deployed to Kandahar beyond 2011 to engage in training and where it ends at the thin edge of the wedge where 3,000+(?) Canadian troops are waging an illegal war of aggression against innocent Afghans just like they are doing now, with no firm disengagement (withdrawal) date in sight.

It is obvious that he is driven by a 'support the war at all costs' mentality, even if it means failing to achieve a majority government or even failing to become Prime Minister come next election.

Alheli, your above argument appears to be

Premise 1: President Obama has a strategy for and a firm commitment to the Afghan war.

Premise 2: This is praiseworthy, and both desireable and necessary.

Conclusion: Harper should be like Obama. In other words, Harper should either "go hard or go home" when it comes to the Afghan war.

I disagree with you categorically on this issue. Let's look what Obama has done:

1. He has escalated the number of U.S. troops by 30,000 in Afghanistan.

2. He has escalated the war in Afghanistan with Operation Moshtarek in Helmand province.

3. While shadowy representatives of the U.S. government are meeting with shadowy representatives of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Taliban commanders to try to negotiate a peaceful disengagement of U.S./NATO/ISAF troops from Afghanistan, Obama, Clinton and others have said the White House needed the Helmand offensive and the coming Kandahar offensive to put pressure on Hekmatyar and the Taliban commanders so they will perhaps come to an agreement that is more acceptable to the U.S.A.

4. During his 8 months in office, more drone attacks have occurred that have killed more innocent people in Pakistan (a country that the U.S.A. is not at war with) and Afghanistan, than occurred in the 8 years of the Bush administration.

Far from de-escalating the war and trying to bring peace to Afghanistan, Obama has escalated the war far more than George W. Bush ever did. Obama is no "prince of peace". He is by no stretch of the imagination, an idol for pacifists or pacifism, Nobel Peace Prize notwithstanding.

Here is the crux of the problem:

"Unless there is a comprehensive strategy and a detailed plan to justify a continued presence in Afghanistan, it's time to bring our troops home."

Let me reword what you said to show the logic of your argument:

We ought to bring our troops home unless we can come up with a comprehensive strategy and detailed plan to justify their continued presence in Afghanistan.

In other words, the continued presence of our troops in Afghanistan is contingent upon us coming up with a ("old new") comprehensive strategy and detailed plan.

In other words, If we just come up with a winning strategy and an effective plan to make it work, then we can justify (sell to the public) the continued presence of our troops in Afghanistan.

This presupposes that our troops should be in Afghanistan and that waging aggressive war against the people of Afghanistan is accomplishing (some) "good".

I'm sorry but I absolutely CANNOT agree with your position.

We are waging an immoral, illegal and unjust war of aggression against the people of Afghanistan.

War is EVIL. No good comes from EVIL. Only EVIL comes from EVIL.

As I said, the Afghan war is immoral, illegal and unjust.

As others have stated, there is nothing to debate or discuss.

Our troops should be out now YESTERDAY!

We should NEVER have sent troops to Afghansitan in the first place.

 

The so-called "context" changes nothing: You clearly stated that Harper has completely lost interest in Afghanistan, which is utter nonsense. You also seek to contrast Harper's imaginary apathy towards Afghanistan with Barack Obama, by suggesting that "finally" the US has a president committed to winning the war.

Yeah, gee, why can't Harper be more like that nice Mr. Obama, and get with the program?

Once again, try including context when you quote me or anyone else:

It does seem a little more than ironic that Harper, who in 2003 gave an impassioned speech* to the House of Commons imploring Canada to join George W. Bush in the United States' invasion of Iraq, has completely lost interest in Afghanistan. His lack of commitment happens to come as the United States finally has a president who possesses both a strategy, and firm commitment to, the Afghan war

Tongue in cheek, huh?

Maybe you had tongue firmly in cheek when you said we need an "open and honest debate" and proceeded to present, as the two "sides" of the debate, the positions of Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff?

Maybe you had tongue in cheek when you came up with this knee-slapper: "The soldiers who've already served in Afghanistan, and those who died in the battle, did so with honour and conviction; Their contributions were not in vain."

Or how about this bit of schtick from your April 5 blog?

Quote:
Harper... has completely lost interest in Afghanistan. His lack of commitment happens to come as the United States finally has a president who possesses both a strategy, and firm commitment to, the Afghan war.

You're the one with the old, tired ideas. Your position is indistinguishable from that of Michael Ignatieff, whom you never seem to find any reason to disagree with.

Frmrsldr, Thank you for your insightful contribution. Yes, the Conservatives have been misleading the public and deciding the future of our soldiers behind closed doors, and the need for public discussion is over due. Make your voice heard, and encourage others to do the same. Whether it's your local newspaper, internet forum, or directly to your MP, make yourself heard.

Please continue your positive contribution to the cause.

--

M. Spector, Your schtick is old and tired. Perhaps you misread my article.

Note THIS section:

The military is exhausted, NATO forces are worn out, and the battle has shifted beyond Afghanistan into Pakistan. It's clearly become an endless crusade, and one that cannot be sustained. Unless the Harper government is prepared to commit our troops to the indefinite struggle of creating, and maintaining a sense order in the Middle East, it's difficult to imagine that the proposed extension of Canadian involvement will result in any substantive gain. Unless there is a comprehensive strategy and detailed plan to justify a continued presence in Afghanistan, it's time to bring our troops home.

The underlined section you seem to have ignored all together, and the bolded section is tongue in cheek and clearly misread by you. It's common knowledge that such a commitment by troops wouldn't, and shouldn't, happen. In your eagerness to attack and twist words to fit your own agenda, you missed what was blatantly obvious to everyone else.

--

Alan smithee, you've hit on an important reality. There will always be extremists, and no amount of effort will magically transform a war-torn region into a peaceful place.

Soldiers ARE dying in vain.

The mission to eradicate Islamic fundamentalism,terrorism or rid the earth from people intent on killing Westerners is as realistic as ridding the earth from bad weather.

You can't eradicate a belief system or culture of a group or society of people unless you are willing to commit a genocide.But you CAN stem the tide of the willingness for a pocket of the populous to be bent on terroristic mass murder---and that CAN'T be accomplished by any ammount of bullets or bombs.

It's simple,really...If the West were to acknowledge,condemn and sanction Israel as the Apartheid state they are,that would go a LONG WAY in easing understandable hatred from decades of systematic oppression of a people.

You'll never rid the world of fundamentalism but you can garner support,ease tensions and stem the tide of murderous vengeance,despair and visceral hatred.

And so the right-wing propaganda continues on rabble!

Canadian soldiers' "contributions" were not in vain, we are earnestly assured. What they were "contributing" to, of course, was an illegal invasion and occupation, the deaths of thousands of Afghan civilians, the rendition of detainees for torture by the forces of the right-wing puppet government, the preservation of the future route of the trans-Afghanistan natural gas pipeline, and the freeing up of US and allied forces to wage a campaign of terror, death, and destruction in Iraq.

Then the author opines that extending Canadian military involvement in Afghanistan will not result in any "substantive gain" (gain for whom, exactly?) unless the Harper government "is prepared to commit our troops to the indefinite struggle of creating, and maintaining a sense order in the Middle East."

So it's bring the troops home now - UNLESS Harper is willing to commit Canada to a long-term military campaign in the Middle East!

Picazo, you should be writing for the National Post, or one of those other warmongering mass media outlets you are so fond of quoting with approval.

Actually, everything is now quite clear.

My only question is will those troops be deployed to Kandahar (in the south)?

Mackay answered that question this past Thursday when he said some Canadian troops would be stationed in Kabul and some would be stationed in Kandahar.

There you have it. Harper speaks with forked tongue. He lied. His response to Hillary Clinton was that there were going to be no Canadian troops in Afghanistan. There were going to be no Canadian troops in the north. There were going to be no Canadian troops in the south. There were going to be no Canadian troops training Afghan forces. There were going to be no Canadian troops providing protection for aid workers. Other countries were going to have to provide the troops.

The CONServatives have violated their own War Resolution, passed by them and their Liberal collaborators that stated that no Canadian troops were to remain engaged in combat in southern Afghanistan beyond 2011.

After the passage of the War Resolution (in 2008), when then leader of the Liberal Party, Stephane Dion was leaving the House, he was collared by a reporter. the Q&A went like this.

Reporter: After June 2011, Canadian troops' role is to protect aid workers and train Afghan soldiers and police in Kandahar?

Dion: Correct.

Reporter: The role of Canadian forces is one of protection and training but they are not to engage in combat?

Dion: Correct.

Reporter: What happens if insurgents attack aid workers, are repelled by Canadian troops and break in retreat. Will Canadian troops engage in hot pursuit?

Dion: Parliament will not micromanage the troops. We will leave such decisions to the commanders in the field.

There you have it. Having troops protecting aid workers and training Afghan forces in the south beyond 2011 is a violation of the government's own War Resolution.

In order for ANA and ANP forces to "graduate", there is a field portion to their training. Canadian troops will accompany them into the field where they could intentionally or unintentionally, end up in combat with their Canadian trainers right there along with them. Also, engaging in "hot pursuit" of insurgents after an attack on aid workers would be instances of Canadian troops engaging in aggressive combat.

What Canadian field officer would not engage in aggressive combat under such circumstances? None I can think of.

It shows you what spineless, chicken shit Uncle Sam and NATO fellating war criminals these LibroCons are. The Netherlands has stated that their troops are out of Afghanistan later this year. Period. Let's hope they, unlike Canada, stick to their decision.

Talk and discussion of this issue is good.

Better still is for Canadian society to explode in peaceful demostrations in the streets protesting against our criminal government and our criminal war in Afghanistan.

Impeach that s.o.b. Harper. Frickin' war criminal.

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