Tuesday, April 27, 2010

 

UPDATING THE AFGHAN FILE

The House of Commons seems fixated on whether some of the Rules of Order have been broken over the release of documents related to Afghan detainees. The Government meantime is only happy to oblige, when it so pleases, by laboriously dumping hundreds of pages of paperwork, frequently just a few hours before the next session of an Ottawa Military Police Inquiry over the issue that (quite frankly) matters very little.

That this mindless bureaucratic paper jam is stalling the inquiry into the manner detainees were treated five years ago conveniently distracts from the real issues of our Afghanistan deployment. Frankly this was (and sadly still is) "war" and that is stuff that happens. But the inquiry and the Harper Government's intransigent fashion of releasing mounds of redacted documents and thousands of censored pages of records hides from view a seemingly absolute lack of strategic planning to get the hell out of there by next winter.

Canada's firm commitment to remove our military from harm's way in Afghanistan is less than nine months away. While the American deployment in Iraq was on a much larger scale...it's now taken the U.S. more than 3 years to out-deploy. Our trucks, tanks, assorted other vehicles; and the tons upon tons of supplies, men and equipment...plus the aircraft, drones and almost 7 years of accumulated military odds and ends aren't going to suddenly disappear from Kandahar Province and magically reappear at CFB Petawawa overnight (or wherever they came from). But, obviously "mum's the word" on that front.

There are reasons to be cynical about what all this means: The Americans are clearly focused on the old Taliban Capital of Kandahar City with President Obama's ramped-up deployment of about 130,000 additional forces in Afghanistan. Politicians and military officials in Canada have already conceded that we'll continue to "play a role" in the strategic reconstruction of Hamid Karzai's increasingly despotic country. Just a few days back the Commissioner of the RCMP noted that his police force is ready for an enhanced deployment in Afghanistan. Great! Let's deploy a para-military force in lieu of a real one. Canadian agencies like CIDA and some NGO's say they're standing put. Lest I digress: I guess they'll "stay-put" indoors because it's currently too dangerous for United-Nations personnel to step outside in Kandahar City. I am really not sure our government (hopefully not with the duplicity of the opposition) is being all that candid and sincere about the Afghanistan commitment beyond next February.

South of the border just this week a group of retired U.S. military officers, members of the strategic group - Mission Readiness - reported that American teens are "so fat" that fewer of them can meet the military physical fitness standards. The report says that almost a third of Americans aged 17 to 24 are too overweight to join the military. The report says..."many young Americans are simply too fat to fight"...and that threatens national security by putting military recruitment in jeopardy.

And: - In a sixth annual report from "Active Healthy Kids Canada", the agency assigned an "F" for physical activity levels for most Canadian young people because they don't meet recommended physical activity guidelines....

I am seeing a trend here: Increasingly sedentary behaviours could some day end all global conflict. I can't wait!

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Comments:
The American commander in Afghanistan has ordered the "Burger King" and "Pizza Hut" at Kandahar Airfield permanently closed as of May 1. He says there presence is not a reflection of the importance of war. Doubtless fearing a Canadian backlash..."Tim Horton's" will stay open, but moved to the Canadian sector of the military complex. Such is the pressure accorded in American efforts to keep Canada at War beyond 2011.
 

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