Tuesday, April 11, 2006

now we have the americans preaching / self serving propaganda on why we should stay in afghanistan ...

Ten reasons to stay in Afghanistan
A U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel explains why Canada must stay the course in Afghanistan

Stephen J. Mariano and Benjamin Zyla, National Post, April 11, 2006

This week's Parliamentary debate on Canada's Afghanistan deployment is sorely needed: Until now, there has been a lack of clarity regarding Canada's interests and policy in that country. The best approach is to keep things simple. So here are the top 10 reasons why Canada should stay committed to Afghanistan:

10. Economics. Afghanistan has substantial untapped natural resources, including not only oil, natural gas and copper but hydro-electric power sources as well. Developing Afghanistan's capacity to export energy could help improve the nation's economy and defuse regional tensions. An oil pipeline running from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to an Indian Ocean port in Pakistan would be particularly lucrative. Canadian corporations should be ready to take part in such major development projects. Our involvement would benefit Canada and Afghanistan alike.

{is this like the u.s. in iraq with halliburton or going into regions to secure their oil supply?}

9. Poppies. Afghanistan is the world's number-one grower of poppies, which are the precursor product for opium, which then turns up on our shores as heroin. Since the heroin trade fuels organized crime and street violence, Afghanistan's poppy industry poses an indirect security risk to Canadians. (The poppy trade also discourages foreign investment in Afghanistan, since few investors want to involve themselves with an illegal industry.)

{the illegal occupation of iraq by the u.s. is what, not considered a crime?}

8. Rule of law and human rights. Canada has worked hard, both inside and outside the United Nations, to promote human rights and the rule of law. In particular, Canada has been a leading advocate of the "responsibility to protect" doctrine, which asserts that wealthy nations have a duty to prevent human-rights abuses in other nations.

{is this like recently the u.s. govt not decision not to seek a seat for the United States on the new Human Rights Council ... because maybe they would have to be accountable eg: torture of prisioners in iraq or other secret prisons around the world}

Unless Afghanistan's government respects the rule of law, the country will be at risk of slipping back into anarchy and tribal fiefdoms. Abandoning one of the world's poorest countries would send a negative message about the value Canadians place on basic human rights.

7. Democracy: The people of Afghanistan have freely and fairly elected President Hamid Karzai and two houses of the Afghan parliament. Promoting democracy has been a Canadian value for a long time. Moreover, a successful and stable democratic government in Afghanistan would help dispel the discredited notion that Muslim societies are somehow incapable of accommodating democratic governance.

{is this like the u.s. not to recognize the freely and fairly elected president of the palestiniens?}

6. Reinforcing success: The international community's chance of success is better in Afghanistan than most other war-torn nations. Despite occasional spasms of violence, stability and reconstruction efforts are proceeding apace. Canada's "diplomacy, development and defence" (or 3-D) approach is working. Shifting Canadian efforts to other crisis spots -- such as the Darfur area of Sudan -- is tempting, but pre-mature. By making Canada's commitment to Afghanistan a priority, foreign and defence policy makers can maximize the impact of scarce Canadian resources. Taking on too many commitments with too few resources risks ineffective engagement in all endeavors.

{lets just have the american's become our mentor; and we will turn around and wonder why the world dislikes canadians, as they do american's}

5. Treaty Obligations: On September 12, 2001, NATO invoked for the first time its self-defence clause -- Article 5 of the Washington Treaty -- asking NATO members to support a U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan. Since that time, Canada has shared the burden, politically and military.
Council Resolution, all 19 members committed to stability and reconstruction in the country, including Canada. It should continue to fulfill its obligations.

{did canada not agree, to save face for not joining bush's coilition of the willing in iraq; and was the original mission under a nato peacekeeping ... not active war}

4. Central Asian regional security: A secure Afghanistan means a secure Central Asia. Afghans live in a rough neighbourhood with wobbly governments on its northern borders, a pre-nuclear Iran on one side and a post-nuclear Pakistan on the other. Afghanistan's failure to establish self-rule would encourage meddling by neighbours, and destabilize a potentially radioactive region. An unstable Central Asia cannot be in the interest of Canada.

{is this like the alliance the u.s. has with israel and india, but anyone else is considering meddling? and let's face it, the u.s. is not solely in afghanistan to promote democracy ... they are their for their self serving interest}

3. Canada-U.S. relations: Like it or not, you have to live with your neighbours. By taking over the southern region in Afghanistan, Canada has helped the United States accomplish a vital security mission that overstretched U.S. forces would be unable to accomplish on their own. American willingness to hand over the volatile Kandahar province is a sign of confidence in Canada. (Indeed, America seems to have more confidence in Canadian soldiers than Canadians do.) At a time of strained relations over the U.S. presence in Iraq and quarrels over softwood lumber, it's good to accentuate the positive.

{the u.s. has more confidence in canada's soilders because the u.s. stretched so thin; and a harper government will bow to the u.s.}

2. Pride: Canadians have a desire to "hit above their weight" on the world stage. Afghanistan offers a perfect venue for Canadians to demonstrate their 3-D abilities to the world. Long thought of as a soft, outmoded "peacekeeping" force, Canada's military is demonstrating that it still has the ability to perform and sustain real combat missions in a hostile environment. Canadian diplomats are assisting the Afghan government with everything from parliamentary procedures to health education. Aid workers from the Canadian International Development Agency are showing the world that Canadians have big hearts. Canadians should be proud that they are making a difference with their actions, not just offering kind words and money.

{well, canada's reputation was built and respected on the peacekeeping and actually coming through with funds it would pledge}

1. Canadian Security: Canada must help prevent Afghanistan's ungoverned tribal areas from becoming a Petri dish in which extremist germs can flourish. Though Canadian territory was not physically attacked on 9/11, its people, political culture and economy were. Since long before Canadian troops deployed to Kandahar, Canada has been on al-Qaeda's list of most hated nations. Given the recent attacks in London, Madrid and Bali, it seems only a matter of time before terrorists attack Canadian soil. Better to halt bacterial growth in the petri dish now rather than letting it grow and one day infect our shores.

{do we need to remind the world of why / or what would intice a group to attack the u.s.}

Taken together, this list of reasons run across party lines; and across ideological lines as well, from hawks to doves. Instead of looking for a single decisive justification for our presence in Afghanistan, Canadians should understand that there are many reasons. As the Parliamentary debate over Afghanistan unfolds, the governing Conservatives should set those reasons out.

{maybe harper will follow in confidence the u.s. people have in bush}

- Stephen J. Mariano is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, and Visiting Defence Fellow at the Centre for International Relations, Queen's University. Benjamin Zyla is a German PhD student in the War Studies Program at the Royal Military College of Canada.