Little Fish in a Giant pond

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Time to leave Afghanistan?

I must say that I am disappointed in NDP leader Jack Layton, for his most recent condemnation of the Canadian military's presence in Afghanistan.

Mr. Layton claims that Canada's current mission in the war torn country has no clear goals, no exit strategy, and no criteria to judge success.

I'm really not aware of any official standards that the Canadian army needs to achieve before it pulls out, by I can think of a few off the top of my head that should probably be self-evident:

1) The establishment of a functioning democratic government in Afghanistan, complete with its own army and police services, that would be able to protect its civilian populace and itself from terrorist attacks, kidnappings, etc.

2) The defeat of the Taliban guerillas, or the establishment of sufficient Afghani national forces that would be able to root out the insurgents on their own.

3) The reconstruction of Afghani infrastructure and an Afghani economy.

I realize that these are all pretty high level points, and that most of them are far more easily said than done, but I think we in the Western world are going to have to come to grips with the fact that this war (by which I mean the war between the different Western powers and Islamic extremists) is not going to be over in a few years. I'm afraid that it is going to take decades at the very least, and that Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnia, and Lebanon are merely battles. We should focus less on ending this war, and more on winning it. Because whether we like it or not, we are a part of it.

Whether Mr. Layton chooses to acknowledge it or not, the Taliban government failed to give up Osama Ben laden after September 11th, and so the U.S. had every right to assist in the overthrowing of that government. Now that it has occupied the nation, with a UN mandate to do so, it has the responsability of putting the nation back on its feet, which is something Canada should be proud to assist in.

Much as we'd like to, we can't always be building schools and digging wells in Afghanistan. There is a serious Taliban threat to democracy in that country, and our troops are doing good work to crush that threat, so that the wells and schools will not be destroyed.

I will not go so far as to accuse Jack Layton of not supporting out troops, or of being unpatriotic, but I think he is doing a huge disservice to the Afghani people, and to the international community.

Just so that I do not come off as being too partisan here, I am even more disappointed in those Liberal Members of Parliament, who voted against our army's continued presence in Afghanistan, after our own party sent them there!


  • To be fair Brian, a lot of Liberal MPs voted against the extension because the PM decided to have a debate and vote within 48 hours.

    But I see your point.

    I strongly support this mission, even if it's dangerous and even if we're there for the long run. Exit stategy? Imagine if we had that kind of talk in WW2. We will be there as long as the Afghan people needs us there. The fact that the mission is getting dangerous is a ridiculous counter-argument. Does that means we should pull out of a mission every time a Canadian risk their life?

    Let me finish with a famous quote from my mentor, John Manley:

    "We have tombs all over Europe because we believe in what was right. Now don't tell me we should pull out just because somebody might get hurt"

    By Blogger Léo Bourdon, at 3:18 AM  

  • Well Put Léo. Your mentor sounds like a wise man.

    By Blogger Fish, at 12:59 PM  

  • He is ;)

    By Blogger Léo Bourdon, at 2:15 AM  

  • Excellent post Brian. What captain Jack fails to realize is that the Canadian forces do more than just combat operations, but also humanitarian aid, reconstructions and development. But its hard to do that when there is an insurgency, or when security is a luxury.

    I say if Layton wants to talk to the Taliban, we send him on a plane and drop him off in the Pakistan-Afghanistan area, and HE can do the talking.

    Talking to the Taliban, is like saying that woman should go back to their homes, little girls no longer going to school and inviting repression all over, and Al Qaeda.

    Well done Jack, now hit the road.

    By Blogger Marc-André Mongeon, at 7:32 AM  

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