Afghanistan: Canada's Parliament is betraying Canadians

Posted: February 14, 2008 in Uncategorized

Barring a political miracle of cosmic dimensions, Canadians can look forward to at least three more years of war in Afghanistan; three more years of propping up a corrupt gang of warlords – three more years of killing people who never posed a threat to this country – three more years of Canucks in coffins – sacrificed on the altar of American oil lust.

The Tory position is no surprise. Neither is that of the Liberals – they got us into this mess – remember that.

But even the Bloc and the Greens can’t seem to let go of this dirty war. Their positions are more nuanced, couched as they are in humanitarian language. But they lead to the same dismal conclusion – aid and comfort for the imperialists.

Only the New Democrats have demanded an immediate end to Canada’s combat role. This was in 2007. More recently:

“Instead of extending a strategy that isn’t working, Canada must aim to support and facilitate efforts towards the peaceful resolution of the Afghan conflict,” said NDP International Development Critic Alexa McDonough (Halifax).

“Canada should lead the international community towards a political solution, not continue the failed military approach. This means the international body in charge should be the United Nations, not NATO,” said McDonough.”

Tory-Liberal Two Step
Can you detect any important difference between these two positions?

Tweedledum
“The Government also announced it is giving notice of a motion to extend Canada’s commitment to the United Nations mandated mission in Afghanistan until the end of 2011 on the condition that Canada can secure a partner that will provide a battle group of approximately 1,000, as well medium helicopter lift capacity and high performance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”

Tweedledee
“Mr. Harper must agree to the following three conditions:

  • The Government of Canada must immediately notify NATO that Canada will end its military presence in Kandahar as of February 1, 2011 and as of that date, the deployment of the Canadian Forces troops out of Kandahar will start as soon as possible, so that it will have been completed by July 1, 2011;
  • NATO must secure troops to rotate into Kandahar to allow Canadian troops to be deployed pursuant to the mission priorities of training and reconstruction; and
  • The government must secure medium helicopter lift and high performance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”

‘Nuff said?

The Bloc Québécois

Although the Bloc Québécois voted against extending Canada’s military folly the last time this matter was discussed in Parliament, it seems to be having a change of heart. While arguing for “an immediate rebalancing in favor of diplomacy, humanitarian aid, reconstruction and development,” the Bloc maintains that Canada must continue its military involvement within ISAF. According to the Bloc, “A sudden withdrawal would have profound consequences for the Afghan population. As well, this gesture would be irresponsible with regard to our allies who are counting on Canada’s collaboration.” You can verify my translation here.

How will the Bloc vote? It isn’t clear, but in one important sense it doesn’t matter. By insisting that we have a “responsibility” to continue killing Afghans it doesn’t really matter how much they insist on their humanitarian motivations.

The Greens

It would be interesting to see how Elizabeth May would handle this issue if she had the opportunity to vote on it in Parliament. For the meantime, all we have are public statements. In a news release dated Feb. 11, 2008:

“The Green Party believes Canada must rebalance our role in Afghanistan, shifting away from combat operations and toward diplomacy and peacekeeping,” said Ms. May.

“We must also redirect our resources to another critical area – rapidly building up logistics capacity within the Afghan National Army (ANA).”

Ms. May said that this logistics capacity would include field medical support, military engineering, transportation, communications, materiel management and other essential support functions.

“When our combat tour of duty in Khandahar province ends in 2009, this critical non-combat role will be an invaluable continuing contribution from Canada,” said Ms. May.

More rebalancing. More humanitarianism. Do May and Duceppe have the same script writers?

” . . . rapidly building up logistics capacity within the Afghan National Army” could have come out of Dubbya’s White House. It sounds erily like Richard Nixon’s Vietnamization policy — a reference old lefties like May and Duceppe should be able to appreciate, if somewhat uncomfortably.

However compassionate their motivations may be regarding the Afghan people, they need to understand that any military assistance strengthens the grip of a corrupt, reactionary, woman-hating gang of thugs.

Don’t take my word for it. Check out RAWA News on the right hand column of this page. They want us to take our troops home.

I think we would listen to RAWA if we could. After all, the majority of Canadians oppose the war.

However, a majority of MPs are prepared to continue the war. With the exception of the NDP, we have been betrayed – grievously by the Tories and Liberals – foolishly by the Bloc and the Greens.

However much the Liberals would like to avoid it, the war in Afghanistan is an election issue. Perhaps it is THE election issue.

It’s pretty clear to me where my vote will go. What about you?

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