Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Rant on the Afghanistan Compromise

Whooee! I was just over at Saskatchewan Liberty Train where The bigass elephant in the room is the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. We are not fightin' terrorists. We are siding with one group of terrorists against another group. The government that our kids are dying for is ruled under Sharia Law as entrenched in its brand new constitution. The government we are dying for considers it a death penalty offense to convert from Islam to Christianity. The government we are propping up issues the death sentence for questioning fundamentalist Islam's treatment of women.

Although the new constitution guarantees education to girls and women, only 30% of grade school age girls attend school. Less than 8% of girls attend secondary school.

We've spent $6.1 billion on military effort and only $741 million on reconstruction. On top of that, we know that about 90% of intended aid money goes to bribes and graft.

The people we installed by way of a "democratic" election are former(?) CIA operative Hamid Karzai and the Northern Alliance. These are warlords and drug dealers. They are not the least bit interested in curbing opium growth or in modern reforms. They are simply using NATO to help them stay in power and they are gaining personally every day.

Canadian kids are dying to protect a narco-state so riddled with corruption that it cannot even be trusted with its own police payroll. They are torturers and woman abusers and we force ourselves to look the other way so we can somehow justify our presence.

Karzai has been negotiating with the Taliban for years. He's admitted as much publicly. We are simply supporting Taliban-lite in its civil war with Taliban-heavy. Taliban-heavy kills people by executing them in soccer fields. Taliban-lite kills people by supplying them with addictive drugs and taking an active part in the illicit international narcotics trade. Both wings of the Taliban are torturers and misogynists. Both wings accept Sharia Law.

And we are sacrificing young, dedicated, Canadian lives to prop up Taliban-lite. Now, thanks to the great compromise, Dion and the Grits have agreed to 2 more years of senseless death without the slightest indication that we will be any more successful in the future than we've been in the past.

Every Canadian death from 2009-2011 will be on the heads of Dion and the Liberals. The Liberals support this unjustifiable waste of life, limb and money and they're giving King Steve carte blanche for one reason only: they're afraid to face the voter. Canadians shouldn't have to die in needless battles so the Liberals don't have to face the electorate.



rabbit said...

There's no question that the Afghanistan government does not hold to the same standards that one would expect from a western democracy. It is, however, vastly better than the alternatives available to Afghanistan.

Thus the dilemma that all foreign policies face. Do you insist on an absolute set of standards, or do you side with the best of a bad lot?

Jennifer Smith said...

Agreed, agreed and agreed.

However, how does our leaving make it better? We've made a bloody mess, and it's going to continue to be a bloody mess for years to come whether we stay or go. But if we stay, then at least we can TRY to make it better - as long as we start behaving a lot less like an occupying army, which I really think this motion is aiming for.

If we go, all we can say is that we didn't have to stand and watch it all come apart, and Afghanistan can go back to being that awful place we see on the news sometimes and we can say, "tsk, tsk, those poor women..."

And yes, I know I'm saying 'we' when I really mean 'they' and they are still dying for no good reason. Although I don't think any of them would say they were dying for the Karzai government.

To be honest, I don't even know if I agree with anything I just said.

Upshot is, I don't have the answer. Maybe there really isn't one. I think we just have to keep asking questions and insist that we get some answers.

BTW, if you want to know what's really going on in Afghanistan and particularly in Khandahar, check out this Bill Moyers interview with Sarah Chayes. Incredible stuff. She doesn't have all the answers either, but she knows exactly what the problems are for average civilians just trying to live their lives there.

Filcher said...

Unless you can show that there are no other alternatives acceptable to both the Afghani citizen and the Canadian taxpayer, then I do not think you are talking about the best of the lot. Karzai's election was reported as rife with errors at the time, that his opponents backed down, and the Commission dismissed charges of irregularity does not obscure the fact that dismissal of irregularities was envoked before a proper investigation was even finished being conducted.

Karzai was the US's choice to lead Afghanistan. He simply may not be the best choice to represent the Afghanistan people however, and this is becoming clearer and clearer. Perhaps we should even consider the actual imposition of democracy on them as a possible disadvantage also. Democracy is not a commodity that can be given and used, it must be understood and it's principles must be protected. Suppression of religion, journalism, and the rule of law do not promote democracy, it hinders it.

The other problem with any Afghanistan Central Government is the amount of power and influence held by the warlords. I think that the Government only has power to invoke policies by the tenuous support of these people (criminals) and much of the things wrong in Afghanistan is due to the need to get support from them. Do not forget these are the same people who gave support to the Taliban before the US led invasion.

To me it is obvious that while the people desire democracy, the mechanisms required to allow it to flourish are woefully inadequate.

Filcher said...

"However, how does our leaving make it better? We've made a bloody mess, and it's going to continue to be a bloody mess for years to come whether we stay or go. But if we stay, then at least we can TRY to make it better - as long as we start behaving a lot less like an occupying army, which I really think this motion is aiming for"

According to various Counter Terrorism reports the actions in Afghanistan and Iraq are feeding the extremism and Fundamentalist movements in the Muslim world. In fighting the GWoT we have become it's greatest marketting source. It also is a shame that various people in the US Government have thinly cloaked these wars in the religious stylings of a 'Crusade' and invoked the clarification they are led by God, Jesus or some other Christian entity, not only in demonising the terrorists, extremists, and fundamentalists of the Aghanistan and it's regions, but also in selling the war at home.

I agree that we need to diminish our footprint in these countries, but that it may not be in the best interests to leave, and that there is a responsibility to help. On the other hand we seem to have no particular policy to achieve the success required, and perhaps not even an idea about what success will be or is.

Today we find that Afghanistan is far below what we should expect a ethical nation might be, should be, even after only 6 years of occupation there have been few actual policies that we can applaud. There have been no inroads as far as equality for women, religions, or human rights. Karzai's government is hopelessly corrupt, and law is routinely bent. We have a responsibility to the Afghanistabn peoples, but we do not have a responsibility to support a corrupt, abusive government.