Sunday, June 18, 2006

Canadians Not Alone in Questioning Afghanistan Mission

From Simon Jenkins in the U.K. Times. Several interesting quotes:

The operation, coming after four such failed endeavors, is a show not of force but of face. When the troops return to the security of Kabul they will leave behind a few hundred corpses, some destroyed villages, a thousand new Taliban recruits and tens of thousands of angered and disillusioned Afghans. There is nothing new under the Afghan sun.


Nobody in London or Kabul can offer a clear mission statement for the 3,300 soldiers garrisoning it, only implausible remarks about "establishing the preconditions for nation building".

And an interesting fact: over 80% of the country is no longer under the control of the central government:

Kabul is now a statelet crammed with the cosmopolitan staff of massed United Nations development agencies and 800 NGOs, many withdrawn from an unsafe hinterland.

And a last interesting fact, not from this piece but from a report (summarized here) released a week or so ago: the Taliban are garnering popular support in the South and elsewhere by positioning themselves as protectors of the opium farmers. They are in fact about to win the battle for the hearts and minds of the local population in these areas. The report (by the Senlis Council) suggests that the best way to counter Taliban efforts is to lay off the opium farmers and, by implication, let Heroin flow freely into the West again.

Some choice.

Again, the Americans want out of Afghanistan, and want to palm this disaster off on their allies, including Canada. I am tired of listening to
Harper and Ignatieff blithering on about "fulfilling our obligations" and staying the course when "the going gets tough". We and the other allies have been played for suckers by a corrupt U.S administrationon. It is time to acknowledge as much and steer our foreign policy accordingly.


Anonymous said...

But I thought you Liberals liked it when the UN sanctions missions like Afghanistan ??
Are you saying we should tell the UN to get stuffed ??

Not very multiculti, one-world, hug a UN official, save a polar bear attitude there old boy ??

Are you a real socialist Liberal or just a Stephen Harper loving agent provocateur ??

bigcitylib said...

Doesn't matter who sanctioned the mission in this case. We did not sign up for an eternity, which is what "staying the course" will amount to. We've been there, what? since 2002. Longer than the First World War, in other words.

Anonymous said...

WW1 ?? Quite a comparison . . . We had 750,000 + troops in that one, it was a real war.

Afghanistan is a reinforced battalion strength unit, with a a bayonet strength of about 1200 troops.

So you only listen to the UN when it is convenient ??

Psychols said...

I'd hesitate to call the US Administration corrupt. Misguided perhaps but corruption suggests a degree of competence that is not apparent.

Anonymous said...

so if 4 years + is an eternity for you, what would you call the Cold War ?? We kept 20,000 - 30,000 troops in Europe for almost 50 years

took a long time to defeat the Commies . . had to wait them out until they rotted form the inside.

Might be the same in Afghanistan . . . evry year devastating whatever pathetic field forces the Taliban can throw at our professional troops. When they are suffering 70 - 80 % losses year after year, tehy will lose interest.

Paul said...

I remember when the "Commies" tried to wait out Afghanistan, hoping they'd rot from the inside...but we're different!

But enough of all this BS-I wanna know who chose the name "Operation Mountain Thrust". Surely they saw that one a mile away!

Anonymous said...

Simon Jenkins is no doubt qualified to write about country homes and English architecture. His track record of commenting on foreign affairs, however, is not exactly a great one.

And as to his ability to predict the future, below is what he said about the future of blogs, a year ago:

When the internet arrived I thought it was like the non-stick pan or the self-lighting match, a novelty of uncertain necessity or future. The web, I wrote, would be of interest to law researchers and sex fiends. Who else would want the Library of Congress on their kitchen table and a club bore ranting on their desk? When the chat room and the web-log (blog) arrived, they were surely of use only to librarians, lonely hearts and those suffering rare tropical diseases.

This week I attended a seminar in Washington on the future of opinion journalism. Normally such seminars are places where underworked neophiliacs fry each other's brains. This time I felt the earth shake. The talk was dominated by bloggers. They were everywhere, permanently online to each other through 3G handsets (???? - what do cellphones have to do with blogs? - Mark). The dedicated blogger updates his site two or three times day, as if no gossip must go unpassed and no abuse go unanswered. It is manic.

These people claim to be the unofficial legislators of free opinion. They quake, rant, muckrake, scream like 17th-century Puritans. Most of the blog sites regurgitate and spin what the mainstream media (dismissively the "MSM") has spent millions finding and checking. Most are fanatically conservative. All you need is a taste for exhibitionism and a fancy name: mediabistro, FishBowlDC, wonkette. One Yahoo blogger, Ted Rall, gives warning of the blogosphere: "A new sheriff's in town. He's drunk. He's mean, and he works for the bad guys." The web is the Bushites' revenge on the liberal media establishment. A blog polarises or dies.

The web has undoubtedly honoured its claim to be the democracy of the air. Every columnist's motto may be Milton's "Opinion in good men is but knowledge in the making". But to what end? On the web, opinion travels first class while facts go steerage. The opinion blogs that I occasionally read - one is formed every seven seconds - show scant respect for the disciplines of journalism.

Nice try time quote a more reliable source...


bigcitylib said...

Jeez Bruce, I hope you don't think you'll change the world by blogging. The man is right about that.