Some Canadians, maybe even most Canadians are opposed to or at least sceptical about the current mission in Afghanistan.
The Ruxted Group considers that former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien:
• Did the right thing, the honourable thing in early 2002 when he ordered nearly 1,000 Canadian soldiers to go to Afghanistan and fight the Taliban and Al Qaeda;
• Probably did the logistically sensible thing when he restricted that mission to one, six month, tour of duty;
• As was his wont, took careful note of the radical shift in Canadian public opinion which occurred after the Anglo-American (plus) invasion of Iraq; and
• Ordered a second Afghan mission – with ISAF in Kabul – for base and dishonourable reasons: to appease the USA which was displaying growing frustration with and distrust of Canada. Many Canadians felt that US frustrations might be vented in other areas – like border restrictions with severe economic impacts - right in Canadians’ wallets. It appears that PM Chrétien calculated that sending troops to Afghanistan and playing a ‘lead’ role in a UN sanctioned, NATO(+) mission would mollify official Washington while not alarming Canadians.
Former Prime Minister Martin endorsed Chrétien’s decisions and, in 2005, agreed, in accordance with Afghanistan’s request to NATO, to shift the mission focus from Kabul to the provinces. Because he dithered Canada was amongst the last to agree; the relatively safe, easy provinces were all taken by other allies; Kandahar was left.
The official rationale for the current mission is: "… The Government of Canada's main objective is to help Afghanistan to become a stable, democratic and self-sustaining state that never again serves as a terrorist haven."
(From: http://www.canada-afghanistan.gc.ca/background-en.asp )
Let us step backwards:
• Afghanistan was, most likely still is, in some regions, a haven for terrorists. Al Qaeda had training camps and bases in Afghanistan; it was the base from which it fermented anti-Western sentiment and from which it, and its allies, planned and mounted terrorist attacks against the West;
• Canada is a charter member of the liberal-democratic, secular West. Even though there have been no direct attacks on Canadian cities and even though fairly few (but one is too many) Canadians have suffered from terrorist attacks, Canada is part of the target; Canadians are in Al Qaeda’s sights. Al Qaeda has declared war on the West – that means it has declared war on Canada, too. There are those who deny this. Such deniers misguided, at best;
• Afghanistan became a terrorist base because the national government was overthrown by Soviet aggression in 1973, was replaced by increasingly weak, corrupt and illegitimate governments and, finally, post 1995, by the Taliban who allowed criminal and terrorist organizations to take root and flourish; and
• In 2001 President Bush demanded that the Taliban expel Al Qaeda and turn over bin Laden. The Taliban refused; the UN endorsed (UNSC Res. 1368, 1373 and others) US led military action to ‘suppress’ terrorism.
For those Canadians who insist that our foreign policy must be made in New York, by the UN, this is, exactly, what the UN said:
The Security Council,
Reaffirming the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations,
Determined to combat by all means threats to international peace and security
caused by terrorist acts,
Calls on all States to work together urgently to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these terrorist attacks and stresses that those responsible for aiding, supporting or harbouring the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these acts will be held accountable;
4. Calls also on the international community to redouble their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts including by increased cooperation and full implementation of the relevant international anti-terrorist conventions and Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 1269 (1999) of 19 October 1999;
5. Expresses its readiness to take all necessary steps to respond to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, and to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations …
That's clear, the United Nations says that we, Canada, a UN founding member, must “suppress terrorist acts” and hold accountable “those responsible for aiding, supporting or harbouring the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors” of terrorism. That’s what the UN says it wants us to do; that’s what Canada is doing in Afghanistan.
Canada, along with NATO (plus), has decided to do more – to go beyond just suppressing terrorism and holding the Afghans responsible for the actions of their former, and would be, leaders. Canada, and the others, decided to help the Afghan people so that they can better hold their own leaders to account.
Canadian soldiers are doing still more: they are defending Canada, they are defending Canadians right now, in Afghanistan. The more Canadian soldiers there are in Afghanistan and the better they do their hard, unpleasant, even deadly work, the harder it is for the Taliban and Al Qaeda to regain a foothold in Afghanistan and use its rough, difficult terrain as a secure base from which they can launch attacks on our allies, our friends and neighbours and on us. The more Canadians there are in Afghanistan and the better they do their hard, unpleasant, even deadly work, the harder it is for Al Qaeda to secure and retain moral, financial, political and logistical support elsewhere. If countries know that harbouring Al Qaeda will bring NATO soldiers to root them out then the support dries up.
This will be a long, long war – even the work of a generation. This is not easy duty. Canadians are suffering and dying. Our friends are dying. We affirm that their deaths are not wasted; they are dying doing what they swore to do: defending Canada and safeguarding Canadians.
Canadians must reject the siren song of the timid nay-sayers. They are wrong; they do not understand the issue at hand; they fool themselves and try to fool others. This is a war; it is our war. We are Canadians – the same Canadians who earned our charter member of the West spurs in the Battle of the Atlantic, the Battle of Britain and at Hong Kong. Dieppe, Normandy and in Korea; we do not run away from hard work, danger or even death – not when it is in defence of our country and our fellow citizens.
So: Stand up Canada! Shed a tear, please, for our lost young friends. Sadly, there will be more; but see them in their proper perspective as part of the long, long line of the greatest Canadians who have done their duty and now "shall not grow old as we who are left grow old." We are proud of and grateful to all those who have played their part in defending Canada, defeating our enemies, and advancing the cause of peace for all people, everywhere.
The Ruxted Group on : Liberal Lies
Given that “Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire!” is inappropriate, The Ruxted Group wonders how to respond to long time Liberal mouthpiece Scott Reid’s recent piece in the Toronto Star. Mr. Reid says: “the unmistakable truth is that this is Harper's war and he