Time to leave 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!