Home > News and politics > Canada Needs to Stay In Afghanistan

Canada Needs to Stay In Afghanistan

15-Apr-09 01:24 am EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

W

e can’t do this by ourselves. In fact, we probably can stay there only as long as the Americans are willing.  But I’ve decided Canada needs to stay in Afghanistan past 2011 – and possibly for an indefinite period.  My rationale?  Well, today’s story concerning the execution of a newly-wed couple sort of tells us all we need to know about the disposition of the Taliban.  The Taliban are a group:

    Belligerents’ Strength (Current Conflict, 2001-Present)

    United States

    54,515

     

    Taliban

    8,500

    United Kingdom

    8,300

     

    al-Qaeda

    2,000

    Germany

    3,465

     

    Haqani Militia

    1,000

    France

    2,780

     

    Hezbi Islami

    1,000

    Canada

    2,830

     

    Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)

    7,500

    Afghanistan

    82,780

     

    Meshud Militia

    30,000

    NATO & Other Alliance Nations

    14,800

     

     

     

     

     

    TOTALS:

    169,470

     

     

     

    50,000

  • willing to commit acts of aggression and terrorism at home and abroad in the name of imposing their own narrow view of how people should live, in the name of God (this includes killing in the name of God, which is as definitively hypocritical as one can get),
  • which has committed atrocities, violating virtually every article of the UN Charter of Human Rights, including enlisting child soldiers, murdering humanitarian aid workers (including those identified as UN-affiliated), complete disregard for international conventions of warfare (including the Geneva convention) and giving official sanction to rape, and
  • whose nations of justice are a tragic farce, include imposing Sharia law and brutal penalties for convicted felons – including dismemberment of one sort or another and, everyone’s favourite: decapitation.

I think most of us want peace – even so-called "hawks" like me. The debate has been over what the best route to take to get there. As I’ve stated before – the Taliban have pretty much closed the book on meaningful negotiation. It’s their way or suicide bombings. I mean; if you’ve got a supply of drones brainwashed into thinking God is really going to reward them with eternal bliss and paradise if they kill themselves and take as many infidels with ’em as they can, what possible incentive could you offer such a regime to negotiate?

Even worse, winning in Afghanistan isn’t enough (for the Taliban). Since it was the base for the 9/11 attacks, apparently if the Taliban win, they’ll continue sponsoring such terrorism to pursue their own twisted, evil form of manifest destiny without end!  Their philosophy appears to be that of we’re wrong, they’re right and they’ll continue to attack and kill us until either we’re all dead or they are, period.
If pulling our troops out only results in the conflict spreading all over the world to the point where civil liberties in the free nations of the world are gradually eroded to boost security by well-meaning neocons until our own aspirations of liberty and happiness are reduced to a dim memory amid the clamour of terrorist attacks, I can’t see how the argument favouring our bringing our troops home can make any sense.  It seems clear all this will achieve is an escalating death toll somewhat higher than the 117 lost in the 4 or so years we’ve been in Afghanistan.  Except the war won’t be in Afghanistan anymore, it’ll be in Europe, in North America – and even here in Canada.

Canadians, indeed everyone outside of Afghanistan needs to remember, the superficial effect of withdrawing troops ending the conflict could quite easily be little more than a short-lived fantasy.  Basically, I’m arguing for a just war – it’s a tough pill to swallow.  But, to me, it really is starting to look as if it’s either that or living in a nightmarish dystopia with indentured, veiled, chronically-victimized females who’d sooner live in  Margaret Atwood’s fictional Gilead than the misogynistic theocracy envisioned by the Taliban as God’s will.

But I’ll ever try to remain an “enlightened” hawk – and remain vigilant for signs I’m happily wrong.  I can say with unrestrained candour that I’m not interested in having our troops deployed into a combat zone indefinitely.  The basic goals of the allies in Afghanistan – helping to establish a regime that both respects basic justice and some form of democracy while maintaining a military that yields to a constitutional authority – is, I think, the right idea.  And I still argue, as I have for as long as I can remember, that there are certain rights human beings have which if systemically threatened or disrespected, justify the intervention of other nations representing the interests of humanity – regardless of what other interests may compete for consideration in a conflict (which there always are).

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Terry Glavin

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