A Calgary Opinion (that makes sense!) Re: Afghan War


DerekJay
#1
This Afghanistan mission has never made sense to me

Kevin Brooker, For The Calgary Herald

Published: Monday, March 13, 2006


So, we're finally getting around to "debating" our mission in Afghanistan. Gee whiz. It's only about 41/2 years too late.

One would have thought the exercise more appropriate to the period -- shamefully brief as it was -- before Canada joined the vengeful rush to do something, anything, in the wake of 9/11. But there was precious little public weighing of the options.

Instead, we marched into a sovereign country we knew and still know little about, forever tainting whatever reputation we had for fair play on the international stage by displaying an automatic readiness to fall in with an angry, torch-toting lynch mob.

At the time, October 2001, I remember thinking that I'd never seen so much blood lust in my countrymen. People actually seemed to believe that it was a good idea to storm into Afghanistan and "clean out the terrorists." And how did we know that those terrorists would be there? The same way we knew who perpetrated the 9/11 crimes in the first place: those famously unimpeachable agents of U.S. intelligence told us so.

There was, apparently, no time for independent determination of fact in the matter of Afghanistan's culpability, no time for tedious diplomatic back-and-forth or a search for peaceful solutions. A massive crime that might well have taken years to figure out was deemed solved by Sept. 13. Osama did it, now let's go kick some ass.

Not everyone was on board, though. Astute observers had asked the all-important question: Cui bono? Who benefits? While Islam entered a dark night, George W. Bush's failing presidency resurged. Doubters reminded us the members of Bush's cabinet were drawn exclusively from four realms: oil, military, pharmaceutical and diplomacy.

If you were to express those in stock market terms immediately after 9/11, all four gained, while all other stocks declined.

The optics alone were bad enough. And when "we" installed Hamid Karzai as Afghan president -- himself a consultant for Unocal who had been lobbying to build a contentious trans-Afghan pipeline -- they didn't get much better. By 2002, the opium trade, which had been largely stamped out by the Taliban, was back in full flower. I guess that also happened on our watch.

Saying all this, I must nevertheless confess I know terribly little about what is really happening in Afghanistan. In that regard, I am like most Canadians, which is why any debate about our role there is hobbled from the very outset.

Not that it would stop certain apparatchiks from weighing in with seeming authority. To me, there is nothing more disturbing than watching U.S. and Canadian pundits, often ex-military guys, gas on about the situation on the ground in places such as Afghanistan as if they just got back from there yesterday, which they almost certainly did not.

Their main source of in-country intelligence is most likely the New York Times.

I have a friend who actually went to Afghanistan in January of 2002 as part of a humanitarian mission. It wasn't, he suggested, any easier to figure out what was going on by being there. Afghanistan was then, as it is now, a confusing and dangerous place.

My friend tells of visiting the Khyber Pass, where, at one end of the ragtag settlement, there was a glass-walled mini-mall where merchants displayed blocks of hashish and other drugs. At the far end, similar kiosks retailed weapons of every make and model imaginable. You could hear a constant pop-pop as customers walked behind the stores to test-drive the guns.

Drugs, guns, warlords, ancient blood feuds: to me, it seems hopelessly naive that any sort of external force can enter a tangled mess like that and somehow straighten it out to a westerner's liking.

And yet many of us believe that's what is happening.

I don't.

Bring those soldiers and guns home. Only then could we reasonably debate about what must or even might be done.

Kevin Brooker is a Calgary writer.
 
Mogz
Conservative
#2
Quote:

Instead, we marched into a sovereign country we knew and still know little about, forever tainting whatever reputation we had for fair play on the international stage by displaying an automatic readiness to fall in with an angry, torch-toting lynch mob.

Serbia...1998....gotta love these people who conveniently forgot the past because it doesn't jive with their take on the World.

Quote:

Not everyone was on board, though.

Everyone wasn't on board with World War I, World War II, Korea, the Balkans, but we still went. No one will ever be 100% behind something. Welcome to democracy.

Quote:

Saying all this, I must nevertheless confess I know terribly little about what is really happening in Afghanistan.

Exactly, but he so dogmatically damns this operation by saying this:

Quote:

Bring those soldiers and guns home.

If you don't know what the mission is about....how come you declare we should bring the troops home? Seems devoid of intellect for me.

I could pick this "article" a part for hours but frankly this whole "bring the troops home" stance is wearing on me. I'll just lastly comment on this doozy:

Quote:

Drugs, guns, warlords, ancient blood feuds: to me, it seems hopelessly naive that any sort of external force can enter a tangled mess like that and somehow straighten it out to a westerner's liking.

Funny, the Balkans, drugs, guns, warlords, ancient blood feuds. All those things he deems unfixable by the West, were fixed in the Balkans by the West. We walked in, slapped around the various factions, and look at the Balkans now. Peaceful, demined, safe. This writer is out to lunch.
 
FiveParadox
Liberal
#3
The reason that he knows so little in relation to the purpose of this mission may be because the Government, and the other institutions involved, have completely failed to adequately inform the public of the purpose of the mission. Even searching for the purpose on these institutions' respective Web sites serves little good in looking for the purpose of the mission.

We cannot be expected to blindly support something that we are being told little about.
 
Jay
#4
So this was a pretty big issue for liberals for the last 4.5 years?
 
Mogz
Conservative
#5
Ok so I'll go with the fact that he's never seen/heard anything of substance on Afghanistan. Then where does he get off damning the Operation? You can't speak out against something without an informed basis to work from. The guy obviously knows nothing about the Canadian Forces and their past operations, given the tripe he wrote.

As for not being able to find any information. Try the Defence Site and the whole section on "Rebuilding Afghanistan". Or perhaps read the news:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/af...an/canada.html

Lastly, as Jay said. Why is this such an issue now? After almost 1/2 a decade of constant operations in the threatre of War? Why did no one say anything until the Liberals lost the election and they themselves started speaking out against it? When Jaime Murphy was blown up on Green Route Road in Kabul, why did no one care? Hell, even when Braun Scott was killed in the roll-over no one cared. Why now, all of a sudden, do people care, especially if they haven't been paying attention since 2001?
 
Jersay
#6
This article doesn't make any sense.
 
FiveParadox
Liberal
#7
Because the media has started to do its job, in terms of bringing Afghanistan to the forefront of things; of course people are going to begin to care more once the media, and our Members of Parliament, have actually started to talk about these things. However, I should note that, in my opinion, I think the opinions above that employ sentiments such as "If you didn't care before, you should have no right to care now" are quite inappropriate and, frankly in a democratic society, not particularly valid.
 
Lotuslander
#8
Kevin Brooker wrote:

Quote:

Their main source of in-country intelligence is most likely the New York Times.

This phrase exposes how utterly and completely naive some people are when it comes to Afghanistan. The US has been cultivating contacts in the country since at least 1979 and most likely long before that. I guarantee that the NYTimes is not the primary source of American intelligence, though it may be the primary source of the author's intelligence.
 
zoofer
#9
The NY Times is more commonly known as the Treason times in many circles. They have done wonders in undermining the public's resolve. So if Brooker thinks the New York Times is for Regime change in Iraq and Afghanistan he has another think coming.
Witness major NY Times headlines during the war.
Quote:

Here's a sample of New York Times headlines on stories discussing poll numbers since before the Iraq war began in March 2003:

Poll Finds Most in U.S. Support Delaying a War (2/14/03)

Opinions Begin to Shift as Public Weighs Costs of War (3/26/03)

World's View of U.S. Sours After Iraq War, Poll Finds (6/4/03)

Study Finds Europeans Distrustful of U.S. Global Leadership (9/4/03)

Despite Polls, Pataki Backs Bush on Iraq All the Way (10/3/03)

Poll Finds Hostility Hardening Toward U.S. Policies (3/17/04)

Support for War Is Down Sharply, Poll Concludes (4/29/04)

Rising Casualties, One Falling Poll (5/2/04)

Polls Show Bush's Job-Approval Ratings Sinking (5/14/04)

Bush's Rating Falls to Its Lowest Point, New Survey Finds (6/29/04)

And then despite the fact that every single man, woman and child in America opposed the war in Iraq and despised George Bush a few months later, Bush won re-election against well-respected war hero John Kerry.

Immediately after the election, public opinion polls showed Americans turning once again against the war and against George Bush, according to the Times:

Americans Show Clear Concerns on Bush Agenda (11/23/04)

Public Voicing Doubts on Iraq and the Economy, Poll Finds (1/20/05)

Bad Iraq War News Worries Some in GOP on '06 Vote (8/18/05)

Support for Bush Continues to Drop as More Question His Leadership Skills, Poll Shows (9/15/05)

Iraq's Costs Worry Americans, Poll Indicates (9/17/05)

Most Americans Find Cindy Sheehan Attractive, Interesting (2/8/06). OK, I made that one up. The rest were made up by the Times.
http://www.townhall.com/opinion/colu...22/190907.html

The Taliban would still be in charge treating the women like cattle in Afghanistan if Mullah Omar surrendered his son in law bin Laden to the Americans for trial. He was given an ultimatum, declined and suffered regime change.
Times have changed. No longer is the USA going to wait around for a terrorist strike. The next big one will be nuclear or chemical/biological. So defence now is pre-emptive strikes. Brookers or no Brookers.
 
Mogz
Conservative
#10
Quote:

Times have changed. No longer is the USA going to wait around for a terrorist strike. The next big one will be nuclear or chemical/biological. So defence now is pre-emptive strikes. Brookers or no Brookers.

 
Mogz
Conservative
#11
Quote:

I think the opinions above that employ sentiments such as "If you didn't care before, you should have no right to care now" are quite inappropriate and, frankly in a democratic society, not particularly valid.

I never said that Five. I do believe I said:

Quote:

Why did no one say anything until the Liberals lost the election and they themselves started speaking out against it? When Jaime Murphy was blown up on Green Route Road in Kabul, why did no one care? Hell, even when Braun Scott was killed in the roll-over no one cared. Why now, all of a sudden, do people care, especially if they haven't been paying attention since 2001?

My question is, why now? Why not when we were knee-deep in fighting in 2002? or 2003? The news reported everything back then. I sat on my couch and watched a 500lb guided-bomb landed on a section of Patricia's while I ate dinner. I saw Jaime Murphys body loaded on to a CC-130 Hercules and sent home. Was I the only one seeing this in Canada, do I have a special cable package? The news has followed Afghanistan since the troops hit the ground in 2001, and has followed the mission ever since. The reason why no one cared them is because it was typical Canadian lack of interest in the Forces and what they do. No one cared our boys were going half way around the World. No one cared why they were there. Now, years later, just because a dethroned political party and their pacifistic NDP simps have started pushing the issue, the public magically cares and magically wants a debate, and magically wants the troops home, without any prior knowledge as to the operation, our goals, our triumphs, and our sacrifices. That's what i'm getting at Five.
 
FiveParadox
Liberal
#12
Maybe I didn't care because I would have been fourteen, fifteen, sixteen at the time. Not to sound like some irresponsible jerk, but back then I had significantly misarranged priorities. Of course I care more now, than I did a few years ago, Mogz I have more of a capacity to actually understand the things that are happening now.
 
Jay
#13
Mogzy...are you beating up on poor young Five again?

That' smy job!
 
Jersay
#14
Hey zoofer doesn't that mean everyone else has the right to premptive strike. So I guess America is a sitting duck.
 
Mogz
Conservative
#15
Not at all Jay, i'm not blaming anyone, and certainly not Five. My point is that Canadians for years haven't cared, and I find it curious that now, all of a sudden, they damn something they don't understand. With regard to you Five, I hardly expect a 14/15 year old to care largely about global conflicts, and as such I don't hold you in any disdain. However there are numerous Canadians that were of a thinking again in 2001 and they're the same Canadians who now, years later, deem this War evil simply because the MPs say it is. I myself would never pass judgement on something I don't fully understand and I fail to see how other Canadians (family members of mine included) can do just that. If you're going to oppose something, do so with an informed knowledge base, not just snippets of info you've caught on the evening news.
 
Jay
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by Mogz

Not at all Jay,

Ya I know...I was just razzing you.
 
the caracal kid
#17
Well Mogz,

people change, people's opinions change, and indeed the "rulers of the mob" change the mob's direction.

There are many reasons why people's opinions change, and you can not claim to have an understanding of each one's knowledge just becuase of their position relative to you. There is a self-affirmation bias that causes people to more easily accept positions and data that is in-line with their current positions, and more strongly refute anything contrary.

Here you are complaining and drawing generalizations about the populace again. Strange how you attack the populace when it doesn't support you, yet by your accounts they know nothing about the military actions. You value misinformed and uninformed support, do you? You rely on the mob for your morale? You have proven yourself why it is a weakness for you to do so.
 
FiveParadox
Liberal
#18
That is an interesting point, the caracal kid ; why are the uninformed entitled and encouraged to blindly support something, while they are, apparently, not entitled to criticise and ask questions? I would think that the opposite should be true.
 
Jay
#19
What I have learned is.... at least Five has an excuse as to why this is suddenly an interesting topic. I suppose it's the people who are a little older than Five I'm surprised with....were these people just spat here yesterday and can claim some sort of bewilderment as to what all the fuss in Afghanistan is? I don't think so.
 
Mogz
Conservative
#20
Quote:

That is an interesting point, the caracal kid; why are the uninformed entitled and encouraged to blindly support something, while they are, apparently, not entitled to criticise and ask questions? I would think that the opposite should be true.

I have never once on these forums said that the average joe should blindly support Operation Archer. I have however said that they should support the troops, a big difference. A great example of this is my stance on the War in Iraq. I do not support the War, yet I fully support the young men and women stuck over there. All i've ever said on these forums is that it bothers me when people curse the military, an organization of people that sacrifice so much for so many. With regard to Afghanistan, if you honestly don't support the mission, that's fine, but do so, as i've said for the 3rd time in this thread, with an informed opinion. You cannot expect to be taken seriously when you damn an Operation, yet your very basis for your damnation is both errorneous and baseless (such as this article is).

Now with regard to criticism and questions. How can you criticise something you have no knowledge on? I'm all well and fine with criticism, yet it has to be constructive. I won't take someone seriously if their criticism is crass and baseless. As for questions, there is nothing wrong with asking them. I, however, am not a fan of repeating myself and don't think a Government body should have to. If you missed the answers because you were disinterested in the whole affair, that's your problem, not the Governments. If you (like Five) were too young to grasp the situation, seek out your answers. Visit the CDS website, DND website, news sites, google, and do research on the War and the gains that have been made in Afghanistan. We're not over there blowing up everything that moves, we're doing constructive work and it isn't my fault, the militarys, or the Governments, if the media doesn't get the point across. The onus is on the individual to be informed, and stay informed.

End state: If you don't support the War in Afghanistan, that's fine, it's your right, but do so fully informed. If you don't support the troops, that's fine, it's your right, but doing so does a disservice to the men and women defending your right to live free.
 

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