Tuesday, September 8, 2009


With the serious potential of a Federal Election this fall - And, trapped as the country seems to be in the morass which is increasingly the unworkable reality of Afghanistan - Perhaps we should "seize the election" to force politicians into a serious reflection over these Afghan commitments.

The facts are simple: The NATO coalition, cobbled together to secure Afghanistan after the Americans diverted to Iraq, has never had neither the resources, financing, manpower nor, in reality for most, the willingness to defeat the Taliban and win the hearts and minds of the Afghans.

Dragged into this war to nowhere as a stopgap because Jean Chretien's cabinet saw the folly of Iraq and opted out...successive governments: Paul Martin's next, and the Harper crowd since, have dragged-out our commitment to 2011 - A full ten years after the September 11 tragedies which sparked the conflict.

Canadians are glowing in their support of our military. Support for this war is something altogether different. Americans too are beginning to get fed-up with war. At a time when President Obama can least afford to lose public support; polls south of the border show Americans balking at plans to deploy even more than the 68,000 U.S. troops now on the ground in Afghanistan. Many increasingly view this as America's next Vietnam.

If the opposition in the House of Commons wants to defy the public will and defeat the government forcing an election this fall: Then let's debate Afghanistan - The "Vietnam" surely no Canadian wants at a time the number of body bags arriving CFB Trenton grows incessantly.

It seems to me there is mounting Afghan evidence that speaks for itself:
- Canada's per capita troop casualties are highest of all NATO nations deployed in Afghanistan. (2,200 troops / 129 killed)
- Last month's national election is being described by U.S. diplomats as..."fraud en masse." The United- Nations Elections Complaint Commission has uncovered widespread evidence of ballot stuffing, and has ordered numerous recounts. Some sources say the next 4 or 5 days will decide whether Afghanistan's entire electoral process stands or falls.
- Tensions are rising amongst NATO military partners, many of whom are stressed and surely stretched to their limits. Last Friday's air strike by U.S. jet fighters on orders from a German commander, which killed 70 civilians in Kunduz, has turned into an ugly public dispute over Germany's role in ordering the attack.
- On our own soil, the Military Police Complaints Commission has subpoenaed senior Harper Government officials and is seeking Court Orders to release information about allegations in 2007 that Canadian Military handed over prisoners knowing they would be tortured. It is a war crime to transfer prisoners between countries knowing they will likely face torture.

By signing-on to a War in Afghanistan after the United-States abandoned its own initiatives there: Canada abandoned it's significant and praiseworthy role and its stellar well respected reputation as "Peacemaker to the World". If we are to have a Federal Election this fall over insignificant political posturing; then perhaps the time has come at least for a national debate of some significance over abandoning our country and our military to someone else's Quixotic idealism!

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