Monday, April 09, 2007

Taliban Jack, Taliban Hamid... Can Taliban Stephen be Far Off?

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, it's sad days fer Canada with another six of our army men killed in Afghanistan. There's folks who say this ain't the time fer askin' questions but only fer respectin' the dead. I figger if there's tough questions need answerin', the most respectful thing we can do is ask them tough questions.

Way back a coupla years ago, ol' Happy Jack Laydown sed we oughta start thinkin' about negotiatin' with the Talibans. A Boogin' Tory got the smart idea to give Jack the nickname "Taliban Jack." The name stuck. I even seen some boogers still usin' it a week or so ago. They say he wants to negotiate with the evil enemy. I hear tell the army fellers an' gals hate ol' Taliban Jack on accounta he wants to make deals with the enemy Taliban.

But... but... but... what the heck?!? The leader of Afghanistan and the guy who's gummint Canajuns is fightin' an' dyin' fer sez he's already been negotiatin' with the Taliban. That's right. Hamid Karzai ain't just suggestin' negotiations like Taliban Jack done. He's actually havin' them negotiations. And he's havin' 'em at the selfsame time that Canajun soldiers is bein' killed by the Taliban.

The speaker of the Afghan Parliament sez it's a bigass surprise to him that Karzai's been dealin' with the devils. That's hard to believe since reports have been comin' out fer years. The difference now is that Karzai's confirmin' he's been dealin' with Talibans fer quite a spell.

There's only one name fer this feller - Taliban Hamid.

Stephen Harper supports the mission. The mission is to support Taliban Hamid. Stephen Harper supports Taliban Hamid. I ain't holdin' my breath until the Boogin' Tories start callin' the Right Honourable Prime Minister "Taliban Steve" but they got as much or more reason to call him that as they got fer callin' Laydown "Taliban Jack".

When gummints send soldiers off to fight an' maybe die, they oughta have a dang good reason. I reckon we had a good reason fer fer knockin' the Talibans outta power. They're badasses who enforced a brutal code of laws on a repressed population. They also played willin' host to Bin Laden an' his buncha killers.

When gummints send soldiers off to fight an' maybe die, they oughta have a dang good plan. I reckon when we first signed on, we had us a decent plan. That plan was to support the Merkans in topplin' the Taliban, capturin' the murderer BinLaden an' creatin' a shinin' beacon o' democracy that'd serve as an example to the region.

When gummints send soldiers off to fight an' maybe die, they oughta have dang good allies. When the Merkans was goin' full steam, we had us a good ally. When Karzai got put in as bossman of Afghanistan, he looked like he was worth fightin' fer.

But, dang it all, things ain't goin' so good.

The reason we got in there was to support the Merkans after they was attacked on 9-11. We done that. The Talibans got their asses kicked an' BinLaden headed fer the hills. We supported the Merkans but then they got tired of Afghanistan an' all that borin' nation-buildin' stuff an' they decided to put almost all o' their military eggs into the EyeRack basket.

The plan to create that shinin' beacon of democracy ain't workin' too well. We made some progress but we ain't anywhere close to sayin' we're winnin'. Some o' the schools that were opened early on are now closed. More an' more acres of opium are fundin' both the Taliban and our warlord allies. More attacks are bein' made against Canajuns and more people are dyin' than since the first wave by the Merkans.

I reckon we need to negotiate with these here Taliban. We ain't winnin' against 'em. Maybe if the Merkans come back like they're talkin' we might be able to whip the Taliban's ass. But Karzai's our man an' he sure as hell ain't goin' fer the Taliban's jugular. If we're fightin' on Karzai's side, we're fightin' fer a guy who's holdin' secret talks with our enemy. Maybe if them talks weren't a secret, we'd be better off an' we'd know who our enemy really is.

I'm mournin' the loss of our brave soldiers. I'm askin' if that loss could o' been avoided. I'm askin' if Stephen Harper's backin' up Karzai's negotiations an' if he is, why didn't he get onside with that earlier so's fewer Canajuns'd get killed? If he ain't onside with Karzai, who are we dyin' for?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brown: 'It's time to talk to the Taliban'
Today, the Prime Minister will announce a major shift in strategy on Afghanistan. Could it mark the beginning of the end of a bloody six-year war? Or is it just spin?
By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor
Published: 12 December 2007
As the deadliest year in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001 comes to a close, Gordon Brown is ready to talk to the Taliban in a major shift in strategy that is likely to cause consternation among hardliners in the White House.

Six years after British troops were first deployed to oust the Taliban regime, the Prime Minister believes the time has come to open a dialogue in the hope of moving from military action to consensus-building among the tribal leaders. Since 1 January, more than 6,200 people have been killed in violence related to the insurgency, including 40 British soldiers. In total, 86 British troops have died. The latest casualty was Sergeant Lee Johnson, whose vehicle hit a mine before the fall of Taliban-held town of Musa Qala.

The Cabinet yesterday approved a three-pronged plan that Mr Brown will outline for security to be provided by Nato's International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) and the Afghan national army, followed by economic and political development in Afghanistan.

But the intention to engage Taliban leaders in a constructive dialogue, which Mr Brown will make clear in a parliamentary statement today, will be by far the most controversial element of the plan. A senior Downing Street source confirmed the move last night and one Brown aide who accompanied the Prime Minister on his recent visit to Kabul, said: "We need to ask who are we fighting? Do we need to fight them? Can we be talking to them?"

Senior government officials said it was an error to see the Taliban as a unified organisation rather than as a disparate group of Afghan tribesmen, often farmers recruited at the end of the gun, infiltrated by foreign fighters. The aim is to divide the Taliban's local support from al-Qa'ida and militants from Pakistan.

The shift of strategy will place the onus to deliver on Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, who will take the lead in opening discussions with Taliban leaders through provincial governors.

"Musa Qala was a good example of what we are planning – once the town was stabilised, people were ready to appoint judges, local police chiefs, start laying on services and putting in power lines," said the No 10 source. "But the Afghan government has got to demonstrate they can deliver an alternative strategy."

The dialogue strategy is the latest attempt by Mr Brown to distance himself from the military legacy of the Blair era and the hardline instincts of President George Bush. At the weekend, the Prime Minister made a surprise visit to Basra in southern Iraq and announced that the British handover of control of the region to local Iraqi forces would be completed within two weeks. British soldiers' combat role will then cease, as they move to an "overwatch" role, and retreat to Basra Air Station.

The determination to draw a line under the Bush-Blair years is threatening to heighten tensions between No 10 and the hardline neocons who still dominate the White House. The pace of the Basra handover has already caused dismay in hawkish Washington circles. The administration was also sceptical of the British deal with tribal elders that led to Musa Qala falling into the hands of the Taliban earlier this year and has also been pushing Britain to carry out an opium poppy eradication programme by spraying fields, a policy that Downing Street has said would drive farmers into the arms of the militants. But with Mr Bush in the final year of his presidency, his influence on events on the ground is waning.

There are also hopes that since the departure of hawks such as Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Department is prepared to accept change. "There has been full consultation with the White House, and they have been talked through all of this," a senior source at No 10 said last night.

Inside the heavily fortified walls of the presidential palace in the capital, Kabul, Mr Brown was given a fresh commitment by Mr Karzai to prevent parts of Afghanistan from returning to the control of the militants who led to the country being used as a training camp for terrorism before the attacks on the US in September 2001.

Mr Brown will tell Parliament today that President Karzai is prepared to commit Isaf-trained Afghan forces to build stability in places such as Musa Qala and to reinforce the gains by seeking political agreements with tribal leaders. Mr Brown will promise more taxpayers' money for economic development, including aid to farmers who cease to grow the opium poppies that supply 90 per cent of the world's illegal heroin. President Karzai also will be under pressure to build democratic structures in the formerly lawless regions, such as in Helmand province.

Downing Street aides admit that in the past Isaf forces have failed to secure parts of the country. One said: "We need to get to the position where the whole country has the same standard of security."

Conservatives reacted with scepticism to the idea of talking to the Taliban. Gerald Howarth, a Tory defence spokesman, said: "Sometimes you do have to talk with the enemy, but Gordon Brown has got to be careful he is not placing too much emphasis on doing a deal with people who are unwilling or unable to deliver."