A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

10 September 2007

Christian Science Monitor: Canadians Have Cold Feet

The Christian Science Monitor carries an editorial today that I take some exception to.

It basically accuses the Nato countries who are currently supposed to be holding back the Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan of wanting to fold their tents and steal quietly home, leaving the shattered-and-as-yet-un-rebuilt nation to a "likely resurgence of the Taliban and a return to state-supported terrorism."

Ex-£µ©λing-cuse me?

I'd like to point out to the editor of that usually very sound publication that Canada, in particular, didn't sign up for the American Great Patriotic War on Terror (See also: "War Without End").

We have a military that's not a tenth the size, and no infrastructure to support that war effort, to the extent that we have to contract other armies' air forces to fly us there.

And we're losing troops. Not so many as the US has lost in Iraq, but a blood price is being paid; Not because our hearts aren't in the effort, but because our under-equipped troops are fighting a war in a country that sees them as an extension of US hegemony, and because our biggest ally isn't there.

Why are NATO nations so reluctant to stick it out in a land where they aren't particularly wanted or valued by the locals?... Well I guess that answers that question. Afghanistan, like Iraq, is clearly not ready to be the type of democracy the US tried to install. The government remains corrupt and the police forces a mistrusted shambles.

We went to help fight, and stayed to help rebuild. But something happened that has sapped that effort, and with it went that will.

The editorial goes on to say that "Perhaps some of them believe the Yanks alone could prevent the Taliban from retaking power."

No. We know they can't. But why not? They have a million-soldier all-volunteer army, bloody enormous logistics capacity, and the best war tech on the planet. Why couldn't they pacify Afghanistan?

Because Bush chose to engage in a war he could have chosen to avoid. A war that has sucked out America's troops and her fighting spirit. A war that has distracted from the Afghanistan war and rebuilding effort, which remains indistinguishable from an ongoing war.

America's heart is no longer in the Iraq war, maybe it never was. But except for the briefest of moments in 2001, it's heart was never in Afghanistan. Because one man had to prove an entirely different organ was bigger than his daddy's. And there was never for a moment any reasonable chance that the country could rebuild itself from the 14th century to the 21st without heavy US commitment; which simply isn't there while the blood is spilling in Iraq.

So before the editors of the CSM accuse America's allies of not being willing to commit to Afghanistan, perhaps they'd better qualify that statement.

Perhaps such qualification might start with reminding the Bush administration where and what Afghanistan is, and why the US should have stayed there.


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