Why Are We In Afghanistan?


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Since I recently posted a pic of Podium co-founder Ed Wong’s baby girl Madelyn, it’s only fair that her little brother Adam get some face time on this blog, as well. As is well know among Wong family friends, Adam has mutant psychic powers. Here he is mesmerizing Prof Wat and compelling him to do the short one’s bidding.

I’m heading to Trinidad in a few hours, but I needs my bloggy fix. Let us begin with a good summary of what this whole “PM Harper vs the Parliamentary Press Group” affair is really about. Antonia Zerbiasis has posted an email from the Star‘s Ottawa bureau chief Susan Delacourt here. It’s worth a read if you’re interested in this issue.

Meanwhile, Darth Vadum sends us this spoof of Al Gore’s climate change movie. Dude, mockery doesn’t make Gore less right.

Today I am going to tersely tell you why I do not support NATO (i.e., American and now Canadian) military action in Afghanistan. I was actually torn when the US invaded that country, because on the face of it, it seemed like a somewhat justified action. But after years of consideration, I’m pretty sure I’m opposed to it. It just doesn’t add up. I’m proud that at the time, I sent a pointless but symbolic letter to PM Chretien on this issue. Of course I didn’t expect anything to result from the letter, but I think it’s important for citizens to put their voices on the record.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Why is NATO/US/us there? Is it in retaliation for 9/11? Well, the Taliban likely had nothing to do with that. By all accounts, that particular plot was hatched in Germany, and the Taliban played no part in its planning or implementation.
  • Are we there to capture or kill Osama bin Laden? Well, it now seems that in 2001 the Taliban had offered to deliver bin Laden to a neutral country for arrest by US officials. But the US refused. Why would they do that?
  • Are we there, as the conservatives now insist, to help the Afghan people? Really? Let’s recap. After the Soviets lost their invasion bid, the country was beset with lawlessness, drug production and mass rapes on an epidemic level. Mullah Omar and his talibs stepped in and created order, protected the women, and shut down the opium fields. Sure, he also brought in some of the less attractive aspects of his dogma, as well, such as severely reduced civil liberties. But since our invasion, the rapes have returned, lawlessness is back and opium production is back on top. Are we really helping? And are our allies not worse criminals than many claim the Taliban to have been? I don’t know, but the claims that we are there “to help” are, unsurprisingly, looking like so much hooey.
  • What have we accomplished in Afghanistan? We’ve killed a lot of mostly innocent people. We have increased the world’s heroin supply. We’ve installed a puppet president who is nothing more than the mayor of Kabul. Meanwhile, the Taliban are still there, comfortably hiding out in on the Pakistani border. And when “we” leave, as we will, the Taliban or their heirs will quietly resume their rule of the place.
  • Canada has spent billions on its war efforts in Afghanistan for these slim outcomes. We are not the USA or Britain. We cannot afford billions on something so questionable.
  • Oh yes…. this is what the West has accomplished in Afghanistan. “We” now have a pipeline from the Caspian Basin, one of (if not the) largest untapped reservoirs of oil in the world, to Pakistan. Interestingly, the American invasion of Afghanistan coincides pretty closely with the Taliban’s refusal to allow the pipeline to be built.

Need I draw a picture? The American, and now Canadian, military misadventure in Afghanistan has very little, if anything, to do with fighting terrorism, avenging 9/11 or standing up for the rights of Afghans. Judging solely by measurable outcomes, it seems to have everything to do with securing access to a big pool of oil.

Maybe somebody should have mentioned that during the so-called 6 hour “debate” in Parliament last week.