Saturday, September 08, 2007

Assessing Afghanistan

On a day when we learn that Canada has undertaken another huge combat mission, we also have a report from the UN, telling us that suicide bombings are spiralling out of control.

I've come to a point where I am convinced, that those in charge simply refuse to see what is in front of them based on an ideology, that has no room for debate.

Oh, I know there are many who support this mission, from right to left on the political spectrum and initially I was one of them. At that time, I was lulled into the fear that was the result of the shock of 9/11. It seemed reasonable that, considering the NATO credo, we had been attacked, therefore we would retaliate. All these years later, with a calmer and more critical eye, it looks quite different to me. Removing the Taliban as government was a good result of the invasion, laudable perhaps, beyond that, it get' s blurry. Indeed it could be argued that to have left immediately following that, little would have been accomplished, so, stay a while and get another government in power. Fair enough, but following that, we have to stay to give that government a chance, here is where it starts to crumble.

Karzai has done little to eliminate the tribalism and corruption from that government, therefore it has not extended itself throughout the country. Indeed, it's regarded in many quarters, including within the government, as a puppet to the US.

I understand that NATO is training the Afghan army and police. That makes sense, though it's not exactly going to plan. But this idea that we are keeping the Taliban and their sympathisers at bay, is nonsense. It has become clear that the resistance is growing and there has been no effort, (that I can find), to really go to the heart of that problem, nor do I think there will be.

Supporters of this mission constantly drag out, "it's not a US mission, it's lead by NATO". Not true. Who is the Supreme Allied Commander? Gen. Bantz Craddock. Don't know the name? He was in charge of Guantanamo Bay, where the horror of "acceptable" treatment and torture was honed and exported to Abu Ghraib. Anyone who is naive enough to believe that this is not a US led mission, deserves the fog they live in.

Here's the deal though, we are not winning, nor making headway. We are making the situation worse, providing an endless list of reasons for the Taliban and others to use, to recruit the young.

The UN report makes clear that Afghan's are crossing the border in droves, due to their discontent, no matter what form that takes or what drives it, and are training in Pakistan with the sole intent of wreaking havoc in their home country.

It should seem an obvious solution to deal with Musharraf, but that cannot happen, for the group that trains these people, were created by him. They were designed to go after his biggest foe, India, to attack /defend Kashmir. Without some help from the West, to settle the Kashmir dispute offered to Musharraf, nothing will happen.

That is where we should start, but we don't. And even then, it has to be even handed, noting the Indian position.

Canada has always been a country that viewed these nuances and dealt well with them. Harper is simply following the simplistic view of Bush's world and I'm afraid that our country is in a slumber, walking along with him. He's dumbed this down so much, as have the media, that we simply do not know what is at stake.

It is time that people became informed. We have to stop this dumbing down. I welcome suggestions as to how to do this.


Anonymous said...

Canada is not in a slumber. We are in denial - ie, it could never happen here - we could not make the same mistakes - we could make things better - we are more informed - we understand world affairs and are more in tune with multi-culturalism ya-da-ya-da. In all our self aggrandisement, we have allowed Adscam, the Arar situation and the RCMP "alleged" corruption, and that's just on the Federal level. Goodness if one factors in the missing aboriginal women in Sask, the Pig farmer in BC, the ....forget it, I"m getting a headache and the list is too long.
Utopia we are not. The final proof of this is the profilliferation of American style politics (CPoC advisors, Calgary school etc), rhethoric, bloggers.
For the most part, Canadians deny that it could possibly happen here, however, those that do are deluded. As a long time surfer on the internets, it is already happening - slowly but inexorably - and must be nipped in the bud - soon, cause we are coming close to reaching critical mass.

Steve V said...


Well said :)

Karen said...

Agreed anon. Thx Steve.