3.16.2006

safer

By now we've all heard how international aid worker Mark Budzanowski would have been harmed or killed had he not been Canadian. Apparently his captors' mood softened when they learned Budzanowski wasn't American.

I'm sure US wingnuts will spin this to imply Canada is a friend to terrorists. What it's really about, of course, is how the US's policies put their citizens in danger.

55 comments:

Andrea said...

but in todays news one of our soldiers 'accidently' shot someone in their car in afganistan, now where do we stand. Read a very interesting article today about canadas role in afganistan:

http://www.counterpunch.org/kunin03142006.html

sorry dont know how to make that a link.

Lone Primate said...

What it's really about, of course, is how the US's policies put their citizens in danger.

Well-put, Laura. No one in the world is either particularly for you or against you until you give them reason to be, one way or the other. Canada's not perfect, but clearly, we made the right call on this issue, and this is the upshot. I'm not being smug, though; no matter what their governments may have done, the average American or Briton is just a guy (or gal). But people aren't stupid; they've known about blowback for a long, long time. Years before 9/11, I remember an American comedian doing a routine about how useless foreign phrase books are. He suggested they should have really useful phrases in them like, "Don't shoot me, I'm Canadian." It was funny, but there was a barb behind the laughter.

but in todays news one of our soldiers 'accidently' shot someone in their car in afganistan, now where do we stand.

I never agreed with our involvement there. I was visiting my parents when it started and I ended up in an argument with my father (who had a military career) over it. I saw it as nothing more than an imperialist sop to the wounded pride and fears of Americans post-9/11 -- our response so typical of Canada generations ago, like joining in on the Boer War. I can hardly see any more positive outcome in Afghanistan than we're seeing in Iraq. Western soldiers are dying and generating emnity, a nation is disintegrating back into civil war, and the minute we're gone, they will shrug off the badly-tailored "one-size-fits-all" constitution we've saddled them with and go back to living as suits them. And we still don't have Osama bin Laden. Stephen Harper wants us to stay the course. And exactly what course would that be, Prime Minister?

RobfromAlberta said...

Stephen Harper wants us to stay the course. And exactly what course would that be, Prime Minister?

Reconstruction, stabilization, democratization. Will we be successful? Maybe, maybe not. But it is more noble to try to do good and fail than to turn our backs on the suffering and degradation of others.

L-girl said...

Reconstruction, stabilization, democratization.

It's looking less like that and more like a war every day.

Was Canada invited there? Are Canadian troops welcome there, or just another foreign presence in the long line of foreign presences Afghanistan has suffered through?

A letter in the G&M today says:

Mr. Harper is happy to stand on "the front line and articulate our values" and to advance "democracy." He has become a true Western leader, willing to fight to the last drop of someone else's blood for well-intentioned ideals that we cannot possibly attain with the level of engagement we possess within the geopolitical environment of Afghanistan.

I agree.

RobfromAlberta said...

It's looking less like that and more like a war every day.

I am certain that if the remnants of the Taliban and Al Qaeda stopped attacking coalition and Afghan government troops, some sort of amnesty arrangement could be worked out (bin Laden and his top lieutenants excepted, of course). Until that happens, fighting is a necessary evil. That is what the stabilization part is all about.

As for our level of engagement, given our meagre resources, we really cannot increase our committment. That's why we work with others, including the Afghans themselves. It is too easy to say "the job is too big", that's just a cop out.

Was Canada invited there? Are Canadian troops welcome there

We weren't invited by the Taliban, no. But then, we weren't invited by the Nazis to invade Germany either. It certainly seems to me that the current elected government of Afghanistan wants us there. Karzai has said as much. Given the lack of mass media in that country, I would say the only way to gauge public opinion is by talking to the people face-to-face which is what our troops are doing. If they think the Afghans want them there, I think we should accept that.

L-girl said...

It certainly seems to me that the current elected government of Afghanistan wants us there. Karzai has said as much.

Karzai is a US puppet. There is no actual elected government in Afghanistan. That in itself may be a reason to stay (although I don't think so), but Karzai is irrelevant.

Given the lack of mass media in that country, I would say the only way to gauge public opinion is by talking to the people face-to-face which is what our troops are doing. If they think the Afghans want them there, I think we should accept that.

All I read and hear from people who have been on the ground there - grassroot aid groups, women's groups, reporters - is foreign troops are not welcome.

The only people who say the Canadian military is welcome are the Canadian military, and the US-installed government.

You don't ask the military if a mission should be continued. It's not their job to make that call.

I'm amazed at how many people in this country accept Rick Hillier's word as gospel, as if he's somehow representative of the Canadian people. He's supposed to carry out the mission, not set its course.

James said...

We may be safer over there, but things just got a little less safe over here:

U.S. puts machine-guns on Great Lakes coast guard vessels

For the first time since 1817, U.S. Coast Guard vessels on the Great Lakes are being outfitted with weapons – machine-guns capable of firing 600 bullets a minute.

Until now, coast guard officers have been armed with handguns and rifles, but the vessels themselves haven't been equipped with weapons.

The War of 1812 saw violent battles on Lake Erie and Lake Huron between U.S. troops and British forces, which were largely composed of militias from Britain's colonies in what is now Canada. After the war, the United States and Britain – and later Canada – agreed to demilitarize the Great Lakes waters.

The Rush-Bagot Treaty of 1817 allowed each country to station four vessels, each equipped with an 18-pound cannon, to safeguard the Great Lakes.

The antiquated treaty has recently been reinterpreted because of U.S. concerns about customs violations, human smuggling and international terrorism.

RobfromAlberta said...

All I read and hear from people who have been on the ground there - grassroot aid groups, women's groups, reporters - is foreign troops are not welcome.


That may or may not be true, but I can assure you, if the foreign troops left today, those aid groups (especially women's groups) would be kicked out of the country immediately (assuming they weren't simply gathered up and taken to the soccer stadium in Kandahar).

L-girl said...

Well Rob, first you say that Canadian troops are wanted if Afghanistan. Then when I say I don't think they are, you say that may be true, but they have to be there anyway.

I don't think it's acceptable to force western-style democracy on people, whether it be because we feel morally superior, or for profit interests, or both.

I also don't think it's possible, but that's another question.

L-girl said...

We may be safer over there, but things just got a little less safe over here . . .

The antiquated treaty has recently been reinterpreted because of U.S. concerns about customs violations, human smuggling and international terrorism.


And they need machine guns for that? Yeesh.

RobfromAlberta said...

Well Rob, first you say that Canadian troops are wanted if Afghanistan. Then when I say I don't think they are, you say that may be true, but they have to be there anyway.

I should clarify. I really don't know the minds of every day Afghanis. I'm sure there are probably many who don't want the foreign troops there and many others who do, but I really have no idea the relative percentages. The point is, I don't think public opinion should be the only determining factor in deciding whether we should be there or not. Afghanistan is one of the most abused and damaged countries on the face of the earth. Its people have been manipulated by superpowers, meddling neighbours and homegrown tyrants. We need to be mindful of the opinions of the people, but we must also realize that given the abuse they've suffered, they may not always know what's best for them. As an analogy, consider abused women. They often make bad choices, which only perpetuates their abuse. Sometimes an external (and initially unwelcome) intervention is necessary to break the cycle of abuse. Unfortunately, even then, things don't always end happily, but it is worthwhile to try.

L-girl said...

We need to be mindful of the opinions of the people, but we must also realize that given the abuse they've suffered, they may not always know what's best for them.

Wow.

I also don't know what's in the minds of the Afghan people. But I hope I will never view people of another culture in such a patronizing way.

Patriarchal Canada knows what's best for poor little Afghanistan?

Your analogy to abused women perfectly illustrates what's wrong with this way of thinking. No one can help a woman (or any person) break out of a cycle of abuse until she or he is ready. Intervention, no matter how well-meaning, will always be rejected, until the abused person is ready to take steps herself. Then if she needs help, she'll know where to turn.

RobfromAlberta said...

But I hope I will never view people of another culture in such a patronizing way.

Come now, Laura. You often view Americans (or at least Republicans) in just such terms. It's simply a fact that people don't always know what's best for them. If we did, there'd never be war.

James said...

And they need machine guns for that? Yeesh.

Didn't you know? There isn't a problem in the world that won't go away by shooting it.

Of course, shooting it may create a dozen more, worse problems -- but the original problem will be gone.

RobfromAlberta said...

Intervention, no matter how well-meaning, will always be rejected, until the abused person is ready to take steps herself.

This is exactly right and the analogy applies to Afghanistan as well. If the Afghan people aren't prepared to accept the help we are offering, the mission will fail. There are no guarantees. All we can do is give them an opportunity, we can't make them embrace it.

L-girl said...

But I hope I will never view people of another culture in such a patronizing way.

Come now, Laura. You often view Americans (or at least Republicans) in just such terms.


Ha, good one, Rob. But really, there's a big difference.

I am certainly amazed and appalled at how many people vote against what I perceive as their own interests. And (as you know) I think they're ignorant and stupid for doing so!

However, the analogy to foreign policy would be, if I could somehow take away those people's right to vote as they choose, claiming I knew best, and force my choice on them, saying the ends justified the means. And that, I wouldn't support.

The US or Canada or any other foreign power can't impose democracy on Afghanistan. Helping the Afghan people work to set up their own democracy is another story. I just don't know that's what's going on.

28kwdws said...

I am certain that if the remnants of the Taliban and Al Qaeda stopped attacking coalition and Afghan government troops, some sort of amnesty arrangement could be worked out (bin Laden and his top lieutenants excepted, of course). Until that happens, fighting is a necessary evil. That is what the stabilization part is all about.

When I hear words like stabilisation I think of empire and control, not democracy and peace. The Taliban directly comes from the Soviet war against the Afghanistan people, intermingled with cold war US/USSR arms build up and rivalry. If we believe that after the massive Soviet stabilisation that lead to the Taliban, some more stabilisation will lead to Democracy; If we think that we can do with a fraction of the troops that Russia was unable to do… well the lights are on but no-one is home.

The comment We weren't invited by the Taliban, no. But then, we weren't invited by the Nazis to invade Germany either. was absolutely priceless. How about "After the US invasion of Iraq, a lot of people seem to feel that last time around we didn't fight for the Axis, why have we decided to do so this time?"

RobfromAlberta said...

The US or Canada or any other foreign power can't impose democracy on Afghanistan. Helping the Afghan people work to set up their own democracy is another story. I just don't know that's what's going on.

I don't know if we're going about it the right way either. I do know, however, that the Taliban has to be neutralized in order for democracy and human rights to exist in Afghanistan. So, for now, I think we need to stay and help create a stable environment for Afghans to find their way. I think this is possible, ironically, because of Iraq. No question, the war in Iraq has been a disaster for Iraqis, but it just may be the respite Afghanistan needs, since jihadis from all over the Middle East would sooner flock to Iraq to fight the Great Satan than head to Afghanistan to fight a bunch of lesser devils. If the NATO stabilization force only has to contend with homegrown fanatics, they just might succeed in stabilizing and rebuilding Afghanistan.

RobfromAlberta said...

When I hear words like stabilisation I think of empire and control, not democracy and peace.

Peace require stability. History is not endowed with many examples of peaceful, unstable countries.

How about "After the US invasion of Iraq, a lot of people seem to feel that last time around we didn't fight for the Axis, why have we decided to do so this time?"

You lost me on that one, but in any case, we're talking about Afghanistan here, not Iraq. The Iraq War is indefensible and doomed to failure. In Afghanistan, I think success is possible and worthwhile to pursue.

RobfromAlberta said...

However, the analogy to foreign policy would be, if I could somehow take away those people's right to vote as they choose, claiming I knew best, and force my choice on them, saying the ends justified the means. And that, I wouldn't support.

Even if the choices they were making were a direct threat to you?

Of course, Afghanis never actually made any choices before. They didn't choose the Taliban or the warlords or the Soviet puppets that preceded them. The current government may be an American puppet, but as long as the machinery of democracy is established, Afghans will be able to choose their own governments in the future. Maybe they will choose to keep Karzai or maybe not, but it will be the first real choice Afghanis will have ever made.

L-girl said...

However, the analogy to foreign policy would be, if I could somehow take away those people's right to vote as they choose, claiming I knew best, and force my choice on them, saying the ends justified the means. And that, I wouldn't support.

Even if the choices they were making were a direct threat to you?


Those people do make a direct threat to me. Their presence and strength caused me to leave my country.

The answer is yes, democracy first, ends cannot justify non-democratic means. Just as I support free speech even when I loathe what's being spoken.

Of course, Afghanis never actually made any choices before. They didn't choose the Taliban or the warlords or the Soviet puppets that preceded them. The current government may be an American puppet, but as long as the machinery of democracy is established, Afghans will be able to choose their own governments in the future. Maybe they will choose to keep Karzai or maybe not, but it will be the first real choice Afghanis will have ever made.

A puppet is a puppet is a puppet. I see no reason to believe that Karzai's installation is the beginning of democracy in Afghanistan. The presence of a US-installed leader hasn't brought democracy anywhere else.

I fear that Canadian forces are doing the heavy lifting for US empire-building. That's not the same as peace-keeping.

James said...

Of course, Afghanis never actually made any choices before. They didn't choose the Taliban or the warlords or the Soviet puppets that preceded them.

Actually, they used to make choices. Before the Soviet invastion, Afghanistan was one of the most progressive countries in the Middle East (though not a democracy by any stretch). Unfortunately, the US's arming of the Afghan Mujahidin and, later, the Taliban, resulted in the repressive warlord system that is dominating the country even now.

L-girl said...

Peace require stability. History is not endowed with many examples of peaceful, unstable countries.

Very true. That's where Canadian peace-keeping forces come in.

However, history is also not endowed with many examples of US-installed regimes giving way to a true democracy, unless that regime is overthrown by popular revolt and/or war.

Karzai will do what's good for US business interests, that's why he's there. Why should we want the Afghan people to live under those constraints any more than we wanted them to live under USSR domination?

L-girl said...

Of course, Afghanis never actually made any choices before. They didn't choose the Taliban or the warlords or the Soviet puppets that preceded them.

Actually, they used to make choices. Before the Soviet invastion, Afghanistan was one of the most progressive countries in the Middle East (though not a democracy by any stretch). Unfortunately, the US's arming of the Afghan Mujahidin and, later, the Taliban, resulted in the repressive warlord system that is dominating the country even now.


Thanks James, I was about to point that out. The country predates the Soviet invasion.

RobfromAlberta said...

Before the Soviet invastion, Afghanistan was one of the most progressive countries in the Middle East (though not a democracy by any stretch).

All the better, the seeds of democracy already exist assuming anyone alive even remembers the pre-Soviet era.

However, history is also not endowed with many examples of US-installed regimes giving way to a true democracy

Other than Germany and Japan, of course.

28kwdws said...

robfromalberta

You have conveniently left out the experience of Russian in Afghanistan. You have ignored a historical context. Just how is our current colonialist adventures at producing stability different than say Russia's? How about Pakastan's? To state what should be the obvious, why does the Taliban not represent the stability you are talking about?

As for comparing the US to Nazi Germany (as I have done in my response to your comparing the Taliban to Nazi Germany) what is so hard to understand? We are in Afghanistan to support king George and his band of merry torturers. We are supporting the US in its explicit goal of world domination.

"[The new world order] must have a secure foundation on unquestioned U.S. military preeminence.... The process of transformation is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor."

Greens Mark 9/11 Anniversary with Renewed Call for Justice


Oh, just a bit of a correction – the Afghanistan people DID choose the Taliban.

The country’s other factions were surprised by the Taliban’s popularity. The Afghan people wanted the brutal and corrupt warlords to be replaced by the devout Taliban.
Took control of Kabul (capital of Afghanistan) in 1996 and ruled most of the 90% of the country by 1998 under Mullah Muhammad Omar.


History of the Taliban

RobfromAlberta said...

Unfortunately, the US's arming of the Afghan Mujahidin and, later, the Taliban, resulted in the repressive warlord system that is dominating the country even now.

The US armed Afghans to repel the Soviets. Nobody thought that was a bad idea at the time. The Afghans would have be defeated otherwise. You could argue that the US should have paid more attention to what happened after the Soviet withdrawal, but that's hardly justification for perpetuating the neglect.

L-girl said...

However, history is also not endowed with many examples of US-installed regimes giving way to a true democracy

Other than Germany and Japan, of course.


OK, so on one side we have Vietnam, the Philippines, and take your pick in the Caribbean and Central America. Governments overthrown directly by the US, new governments installed, counter-revolutions and wars to follow, great disasters all.

On the other side we put the huge multinational effort known as WWII, to which, according to most Canadians and Brits, the Americans showed up rather late.

The Marshall Plan was a huge success, but more recent history is not in your favour here.

RobfromAlberta said...

Just how is our current colonialist adventures at producing stability different than say Russia's? How about Pakastan's? To state what should be the obvious, why does the Taliban not represent the stability you are talking about?

Afghanistan was stable and relatively peaceful under the Taliban (although there was civil war going on). However, they were also aiding and sheltering Al Qaeda. This is not a purely humanitarian mission and I never claimed otherwise. I want to see things turn out well for Afghanis, but the main reason we are there to make sure Afghanistan is not a safe harbour for the global jihadist movement.

RobfromAlberta said...

On the other side we put the huge multinational effort known as WWII, to which, according to most Canadians and Brits, the Americans showed up rather late.

Yes, and the operative word is "multinational". Afghanistan is not an American pet project (like Iraq), it is a multinational mission. Some of the provincial reconstruction teams don't even include American forces. The Kandahar PRT is commanded by Canadians, NATO runs the ISAF. This operation is a lot more like Germany than the Philippines.

James said...

Oh, just a bit of a correction – the Afghanistan people DID choose the Taliban.

Some did -- after all, the Taliban was made up of Afghans. However, the population at large was not given a real choice on the matter.

The Taliban started out popular because they opposed the pre-Soviet communists policy of official atheism. However, the afghans were never actually presented with an alternative choice.

The US armed Afghans to repel the Soviets. Nobody thought that was a bad idea at the time.

Actually, many thought it would end badly, due to the nature of the people the US was arming. After all, the US's previous attempts to prevent spreading communism had not ended well; they didn't have a great track record.

You could argue that the US should have paid more attention to what happened after the Soviet withdrawal

I generally argue that they should have paid more attention to their choice of whom to arm. Think of all the dictators and other nasties who've been on the US's hit list in the last few decades: Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Noriega, Duvalier, Marcos, etc -- propped up by the US until they were strong enough to go after their own agenda, often to the detrement of the US.

At the same time, the US has alienated or deposed any number of governments which could have been useful allies, simply because they're "left-wing" -- Allende comes to mind. Hugo Chavez at the moment. Even Ho Chi Minh -- he was an admirer of US democracy and based the North Vietnamese constitution on the US one; but the US had to protect its corporate interests and their relationships with the corrupt government in South Vietnam.

RobfromAlberta said...

I generally argue that they should have paid more attention to their choice of whom to arm. Think of all the dictators and other nasties who've been on the US's hit list in the last few decades: Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Noriega, Duvalier, Marcos, etc -- propped up by the US until they were strong enough to go after their own agenda, often to the detrement of the US.

The problem is, there's little to be gained by arming pacifists. If you have, for whatever reason, decided to take sides in a conflict, you have little choice but to deal with those who are actually willing to do the fighting. It is inevitable that bad people end up with the guns.

doug said...

On the other side we put the huge multinational effort known as WWII, to which, according to most Canadians and Brits, the Americans showed up rather late.

rather late I just finished reading a book on the leadership of Hitler and Churchill by Andrew Roberts a excellent read by the way...and let's just say that from 1939 to 41 Hitler had invaded Poland, Czech, the Netherlands, France, Belgium had Rommel in the Mideast and Britain getting carpet bombed and Churchill in his own estimation had no idea how he was to win the war and in fact it was during this time he made his most famous speeches just trying to keep the Brits spirits up...and was pleading with FDR to get involved as also up to that point Russia had a non-agression pact with the Germans so they were of no help...could you imagine today a country having control of Europe and America not involving themselves, it's ludicrous...so Rob's statement about the Nazis was absurd in that they never asked to be invaded do some reading, some research they were invading everyone else and the Americans never became involved until Pearl Harbour and then only the Japanese ...Hitler declared war on both the U.S. and Russia the manic that he was...that was the beginning of the end

RobfromAlberta said...

At the same time, the US has alienated or deposed any number of governments which could have been useful allies, simply because they're "left-wing" -- Allende comes to mind. Hugo Chavez at the moment. Even Ho Chi Minh -- he was an admirer of US democracy and based the North Vietnamese constitution on the US one; but the US had to protect its corporate interests and their relationships with the corrupt government in South Vietnam.

Perhaps, but I fail to see that as relevent to Afghanistan and Canada's participation in the NATO mission.

RobfromAlberta said...

so Rob's statement about the Nazis was absurd in that they never asked to be invaded do some reading, some research they were invading everyone else and the Americans never became involved until Pearl Harbour and then only the Japanese

It isn't absurd and I see the level of courtesy here is just as bad as it was before I left the first time. Yes, the analogy is not exactly the same. The Taliban was not attacking us, they were merely aiding Al Qaeda, who was attacking us. By the way, I am aware of the events leading up to WWII, just as well as anyone else here. Save your history lessons.

28kwdws said...

but the main reason we are there to make sure Afghanistan is not a safe harbour for the global jihadist movement.

Its called blowback. US support for fundamentalist Islam as a counter to communism had its consequences. Similarly, the attempt to fight the "global jihadist movement" also known as the war against Islam will also have its consequences. For those who couldn't figure it out the first time, you are now given a second chance.

Why is the "Global Jihadist Movement" worse than the US governments attempt to rule the world?

My impression of Communism was that it was a movement that was in constant danger of exploding. Even in it's heartland there was open revolt (hungry for example). What kept communism going for so long was the US war against it. The victims of the US war against communism – the various Bastards (He may be a bastard but he is our bastard) that the US supported, provided the opposition on a personal level to keep communism alive. Communism needed the US, even while it was their enemy. The same process will keep and strengthen the global jihadist movement. As so many note, it is a hard question to answer "Does Bush need Bin Landen more than Bin Laden need Bush?"

There is no situation so bad that human interaction can't make it worse.

James: Within you comment to me is the notation that the support for the Taliban was not universal and not democratic (and people were not given the ability to make real choices). Yes. So what? Exactly the same could be said about our neighbour to the south.

RobfromAlberta said...

Why is the "Global Jihadist Movement" worse than the US governments attempt to rule the world?

Well, let's see:

In America World, women fight for abortion rights and equal pay for equal work.

In Global Jihad World, women are executed for being raped.

In America World, people take to the streets to protest government policies they oppose.

In Global Jihad World, opposition to the mullahs is punishable by death.

In America World, homosexuality is portrayed openly in TV and movies.

In Global Jihad World, homosexuality is a sin against Islam and punishable by death.


Shall I continue?

28kwdws said...

Robfromalberta: you didn't answer my question. You answered a different question, "Why is it preferable to live in the US over living under the global jihadist movement" I don't need to know the answer to that question, though you have some rather out of date notions about what freedoms there are south of the border. Try again.

Here are some hints to help you:

1. Is it preferable to live under jihadist movement and get rid of the war lords in Afghanistan, or live under the war lords and US domination in Afghanistan?

2. Is it preferable to live under Sadam Husain, or live under civil war and US domination in Iraq? (Does it make a difference if you are female?) Would it have been perferable to live under the government before the US overthrew it and installed Sadam Husain?

3. How does the phrase "He may be a bastard, but he is our bastard." relate to what the world would look like under US domination?

4. How likely is US domination? How likely is "global jihadist movement?" How does the likelihood of global jihadist movement change if the US pushes world domination?

RobfromAlberta said...

Is it preferable to live under jihadist movement and get rid of the war lords in Afghanistan, or live under the war lords and US domination in Afghanistan?

This question is irrelevent since it assumes our intention for Afghanistan involves keeping warlords in power, which it clearly does not. Yes, Afghanistan is not a functioning democracy yet, but hey, it took Canada decades to recognize women as persons. How much do you expect us to accomplish in four years.

Is it preferable to live under Sadam Husain, or live under civil war and US domination in Iraq? (Does it make a difference if you are female?) Would it have been perferable to live under the government before the US overthrew it and installed Sadam Husain?

I don't agree with the war in Iraq. It was a mistake. Iraq has little to do with the global jihad and so, doesn't affect my argument in favour of the mission in Afghanistan. Don't assume my motivations are the same as American conservatives.

How does the phrase "He may be a bastard, but he is our bastard." relate to what the world would look like under US domination?

That phrase, much like "UN peacekeeping" is quickly becoming a Cold War relic. Proxy wars between the superpowers were completely different from the geopolitical climate of today.

How likely is US domination? How likely is "global jihadist movement?" How does the likelihood of global jihadist movement change if the US pushes world domination?

US global domination is 0% probable. The US can't even dominate Iraq completely. Global jihad is 100% probable because it already exists, however, I think what you meant to say is "How likely is world domination by the global jihad movement?" If so, the answer is again 0% since world domination is not their goal. They are more interested regional domination combined with destruction of the godless infidels. Even this goal is all but impossible, but they could sure kill a lot of people while pursuing it.

doug said...

sorry Rob never meant to offend in the earlier blog as a matter of fact although I may not agree with some of your positioons I admire your passion, and your dialogue...now if someone could just let Harper know there is nothing wrong with debate, does Harper even know there is a house of commons....oh yeah he's doing the picture thing in afganistan showing his support for our troops and at the same time disrespecting the afghans and sending them what message exactly.....

RobfromAlberta said...

Apology accepted. As for Parliamentary debate, my opinion is that the time to debate is before committments are made. We have already agreed to this deployment and Parliament seemed satisfied at the time that we were doing the right thing. Of course, now we have a Conservative government and all bets are off, I guess.

L-girl said...

I had to leave the discussion today to do some work, but I see most of my points have been taken up by someone or another.

28kwdws, you are very welcome here, but please try to always be courteous, and debate topics, not people. I know it's difficult sometimes, I have a temper myself (as everyone here knows), but we really do try to be very civil and welcoming here.

To all but hard-core wingnuts, that is. They are not welcome.

Oh, just a bit of a correction – the Afghanistan people DID choose the Taliban.

The women didn't. Nor did all the families who fled the Taliban.

As for Parliamentary debate, my opinion is that the time to debate is before committments are made. We have already agreed to this deployment and Parliament seemed satisfied at the time that we were doing the right thing.

If the nature of the mission changes, and may call for a greater commitment, the mission should be re-evaluated as time goes on. Situations change, variables change, new factors emerge - so more debate may be needed.

One debate at the onset may not suffice. War is not "in for a penny, in for a pound", too much is at stake.

I'd say the same if it were a Liberal government. (Remember, if I could vote, I'd have voted NDP.)

doug said...

I agree as at the start of this blog it was inreference to the Globe and the fact that the fellow was Canadian that may have saved his life...well isn't being Canadian the ability to debate, to look at issues and not have a closed mind, perspectiver let's hope this decision by Harper is not one he'll utilize in the long-term as it will only lead to his demise...or maybe I should hope he continues along this line of thinking...

28kwdws said...

28kwdws, you are very welcome here, but please try to always be courteous, and debate topics, not people.

Please, you and robfromalberta, accept my apologies.

L-girl said...

28kwdws, it's cool, no problem on my end. You have interesting things to say, and I hope you stick around. Only I would like to know what your handle means.

it will only lead to his demise...or maybe I should hope he continues along this line of thinking...

Doug, I'm hoping he stays stupid and shortens his stay.

Andrea said...

well I jusat enjoyed that read as always!!

side note: it is my understanding that women under suddam had a very equal oportunity open life. His rules demanded it.
Now under the US they are again living under shrowds cant drive and are being held under a religious thumb.

James said...

Perhaps, but I fail to see that as relevent to Afghanistan and Canada's participation in the NATO mission.

Probably because it wasn't about that; it was in response to your statement that "no-one thought arming the anti-Soviet resistance was a bad idea at the time".

That, and the fact that, had the US been more careful about who and how it supported in the resistance, there a good chance there'd be no need for a NATO mission in Afghanistan.

James: Within you comment to me is the notation that the support for the Taliban was not universal and not democratic (and people were not given the ability to make real choices). Yes. So what? Exactly the same could be said about our neighbour to the south.

Not really. In spite of the corruption in the US system and the marginal differences between the two main parties, the US is uncountably more democratic than the process that left the Taliban in charge of Afghanistan.

And, yes, in spite of their problems, there are differences between the Democrats and the Republicans. Unfortunately, the differences aren't as pronounced or as strong as one would want.

Is it preferable to live under Saddam Hussein, or live under civil war and US domination in Iraq? (Does it make a difference if you are female?)

As things stand right now, women were, for the most part, better off under Hussein. With bands of roving Wahabist fundamentalists attacking women for daring to live as humans instead of chattel, the effective level of women's rights in Iraq has plummetted. In Afghanistan, not so much, because things were so bad under the Taliban, of course; though things were much worse for women under the Taliban than they had been under the Soviets or the communist Afghan governments before that.

This question is irrelevent since it assumes our intention for Afghanistan involves keeping warlords in power, which it clearly does not.

Our intentions are one thing, but what actually gets accomplished is more important. The US's strategy in taking on the Taliban has been to court and support the warlords to get their help. Now that the Taliban is gone, the warlords are as strong as ever, controlling the entire country outside Khabul. The alliance forces in Afghanistan are not strong enough to overthrow the warlords (thanks largely to so many of them being tied down in Iraq), so the question still stands. At the moment, there is no observable hope that the warlords will be overthrown, so Afghans are left with the choice of living under the Taliban with weak warlords, or under the US-led alliance with strong warlords.

RobfromAlberta said...

If the nature of the mission changes, and may call for a greater commitment, the mission should be re-evaluated as time goes on. Situations change, variables change, new factors emerge - so more debate may be needed.

Fair enough, but the mission hasn't changed. We are doing exactly the mission the Liberals committed us to last year. The Conservatives have not committed to anything new nor have they changed the mission at all. There is absolutely nothing different now except the party in power. It sounds to me like pure politics, nothing more.

Lone Primate said...

But it is more noble to try to do good and fail than to turn our backs on the suffering and degradation of others.

This is just another one of those last-minute explanations for WHY WE FIGHT. It's hogwash, too. That's not why we're there. What happened was, Afghanistan said, "we don't have Osama bin Laden in custody; we don't know were he is; and even if we did, we'd have to see the evidence before we extradicted him". The response of the United States was "Badges? We don't need no steenking badges!" and they gathered up a dutiful posse of dupes (us among them, to our eternal discredit), and kicked in the door of a country that had only just crawled out from under a decade of civil war. As with Iraq, all the "-ation, -ation, -ation" chatting came as an afterthought. Where's Waldo? Where's Osama. :/

Lone Primate said...

But then, we weren't invited by the Nazis to invade Germany either.

Seems to me they weren't invited to invade France, either. If this is your justification, it's on moral thin ice.

Lone Primate said...

And they need machine guns for that? Yeesh.

This is a surprise? They had machine guns on the Mars rovers in Armageddon, remember? Yeah, I know it was just a movie, but it speaks to a mindset. And not just in the US, necessarily, either.

RobfromAlberta said...

This is just another one of those last-minute explanations for WHY WE FIGHT. It's hogwash, too.

No, it's not. The US doesn't have the same motivations that we do. Sure, at the beginning, we sent troops to help hunt OBL, but the current mission has nothing to do with that. Hell, even the Americans have all but given up on finding him. They've pretty much conceded that job to Pakistan. The question is, why are we still there? The answer is, as I said before, reconstruction, stabilisation and democratisation.

Seems to me they weren't invited to invade France, either. If this is your justification, it's on moral thin ice.

It wasn't intended as a justification, it was an example to illustrate that a formal request from the Afghan government is not a reasonable prerequesite to the mission. The Taliban were and are our enemies and enemies rarely request your military presence on their soil. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't respond their aggression.

RobfromAlberta said...

What happened was, Afghanistan said, "we don't have Osama bin Laden in custody; we don't know were he is; and even if we did, we'd have to see the evidence before we extradicted him".

This is silly, lp, and you know it. OBL is the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda, and the Taliban and Al Qaeda are one and the same. They were willing to be deposed rather than give him up. Might as well ask the Vatican to extradite the Pope on child molestation charges while you're at it.

L-girl said...

Might as well ask the Vatican to extradite the Pope on child molestation charges while you're at it.

Would that work, do you think? :)

redsock said...

Rob said:

OBL is the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda, and the Taliban and Al Qaeda are one and the same. They were willing to be deposed rather than give him up.

Not true.

According to this (Sept. 16, 2001):

A secret meeting takes place between Taliban and US government representatives in the city of Quetta, Pakistan. Afghan-American businessman Kabir Mohabbat serves as a middleman. US officials deny the meeting takes place, but later in the month Mohabbat explains that the US demands the Taliban hand over bin Laden, extradite foreign members of al-Qaeda who are wanted in their home countries, and shut down bin Laden's bases and camps. Mohabbat claims that the Taliban agrees to meet all the demands. However, some days later he is told the US position has changed and the Taliban must surrender or be killed. Later in the month, the Taliban again agrees to hand over bin Laden unconditionally, but the US replies that "the train had moved." [Counterpunch, 11/1/04; CBS, 9/25/01]

Osama serves as the US's boogeyman, to be trotted out (via a new video perhaps) when it needs to scare the populace. Capturing him so soon after 9/11 would have stopped the US's plans to invade Iraq in its tracks. Couldn't have that.

He is more useful to the US to be "on the run" so that's where he remains.