Afghanistan, Still losing the war, Part VIII

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Afghanistan, Still losing the war, Part VIII

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Continued from [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=13&t=004194]h...

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/09/04/afghan-natynczyk.html]Sophistic... of deadly Taliban attack concerning[/url]

quote:

The complexity of a Taliban attack that claimed the lives of three young Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan on Wednesday is worrisome because of its sophisticated nature, said Canada's top soldier.

Gen. Walter Natynczyk, chief of defence staff, was commenting just hours after Cpl. Andrew Grenon, Cpl. Mike Seggie and Pte. Chad Horn were killed in an insurgent assault on their armoured vehicle while they were on a security patrol in the Zhari district of the southern Kandahar province.

All three were members of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based in Shilo, Man., and were set to return to Canada as they neared the end of their six-month tour.

Natynczyk said he wasn't sure of all the details, but said it was different than the usual Taliban strategy of using roadside bombs.

"This attack is worrisome in the kind of sophistication of the attack," said Natynczyk.


'Sophistication'? Wtf?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I heard on CBC last night that the vehicle hit a remotely detonated roadside bomb and that the soldiers were picked off when they exited their vehicle. No sophisication there, just an ordinary but effective tactic.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I think we're being manipulated into showing more sympathy for the troops, maybe by the media in cahoots with government. They want us all to believe "our brave soldiers are being outclassed by a sophisicated and fierce enemy, therefore we have to spend more money to give them better weapons and other equipment".

Nah, that's too cynical. [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

quote:


Boom Boom: I think we're being manipulated into showing more sympathy for the troops, maybe by the media in cahoots with government.

It's a general strategy to conflate support for the mission with support for the troops (as people) in order to strengthen the former. I don't think that has changed one iota. Don't get sucked in.

Canadians died and our answer is to bring the remaining ones home, [b]alive.[/b] Let the people who sent them to their deaths try to justify those deaths.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

What does "support for the troops (as people)" mean?

The Canadian Forces are not in Afghanistan "as people" but as [b]fighting soldiers[/b].

When you express support for the troops in Afghanistan it means support for what they are doing there. It's not an expression of brotherly love for all fellow human beings.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

You and I have had this tussle in the past, Spector, and the promised thumping (from you) never materialized. Perhaps I wasn't paying proper attention. I really think it's important to unravel the right-wing arguments and separate the wheat from the chaff. If their arguments get traction then it's ultimately because there's an element - however small - of truth in them. Rip out that truth and there's nothing left.

It's idiotic to wish for Canadian deaths. Idiotic. And politically suicidal. Yet that's a kind of default position that opponents of sending Canadian troops to Afghanistan can easily find themselves boxed into ... by virtue of the political sleight-of-hand in which the troops, who must go where they are told by their political masters, are fused with the mission. We want a withdrawal, orderly perhaps, of the Canadian troops form Afghanistan if we're convinced that the mission is wrong-headed or doomed to failure.

And it's the peaceniks who should be complaining about the Government of Canada sending Canadians to their deaths, not the Federal Government, and others I might add, using the deaths of Canadian soldiers to build a political base for themselves.

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by N.Beltov:
[b]It's idiotic to wish for Canadian deaths. Idiotic. And politically suicidal. [/b]

Ok, N.Beltov, I hear you.

I happen to wish, ardently, for the victory of the Afghan people over the invaders (especially the Canadian ones, because they're the ones I'm involuntarily financing).

It's exactly the same wish I harboured during the U.S. war against the people of Indochina many years ago.

Is that idiotic? Have I just committed political suicide? Am I now to be dubbed "Taliban Unionist"?

This is a serious question, because quite honestly, Taliban Jack's messages of condolence over Canadian deaths, and [b]no message ever of sympathy over hordes of Afghan deaths[/b], leaves me feeling idiotic and politically suicidal.

Please help straighten out this point of principle for me. In the course of it, you might let us know also whether you are hoping for the victory of the insurgency.

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by N.Beltov:
[b]
It's idiotic to wish for Canadian deaths. Idiotic. And politically suicidal. . .

/~/

And it's the peaceniks who should be complaining about the Government of Canada sending Canadians to their deaths, not the Federal Government, and others I might add, using the deaths of Canadian soldiers to build a political base for themselves.[/b]


Exactly. So how to we convince yellow ribbon Canadians that this is a phony-baloney war on terror led by the U.S. that will bear no positive results? I think the left should concentrate on pointing out the fact that Karzai's election was a total fraud, and that Afghans are actually worse off today than during PDPA rule in which a dirty proxy war, a deniable war was fought and Talibanization of Pakistan and Afghanistan occurred.

Unionist

But should the left support the insurgency, Fidel? The insurgency against the U.S.-U.K.-NATO-Canadian invaders? Or should we just be "neutral" on that particular little point?

I'm not neutral.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by N.Beltov:
[b]I really think it's important to unravel the right-wing arguments and separate the wheat from the chaff.[/b]

It's not the right-wing arguments I'm worried about. It's the left-wing ones. The ones that say "I disagree with the mission, but I support the troops."

quote:

[b]It's idiotic to wish for Canadian deaths.[/b]

I don't wish for Canadian deaths.

But I do support anti-imperialist struggles, and in the case of this war, I am an advocate of [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defeatism]revolutionary defeatism[/url]. The optimal outcome would be no more deaths, and the immediate surrender or withdrawal of the imperialist forces.

Tail between legs optional.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

quote:


I happen to wish, ardently, for the victory of the Afghan people over the invaders ...

It doesn't follow that you, therefore, wish for Canadian deaths. You might want to see the Canadians leave. You might want to see the Canadians taken prisoner, and traded for the prisoners in Bagram, or Guantanamo. There is a whole range of possibilities.

Furthermore, you can wish for the NATO occupiers, including the Canadians, to leave without supporting any one faction of the Afghans who succeed in driving the foreigners out. It's up to the Afghans to decide those sorts of things. Remember?

The whole thing is a political trap.

quote:

Fidel: I think the left should concentrate on pointing out the fact that Karzai's election was a total fraud, and that Afghans are actually worse off today than during PDPA rule in which a dirty proxy war, a deniable war was fought and Talibanization of Pakistan and Afghanistan occurred.

Too complicated. I think the focus should be on identifying what the alleged goals of the NATO occupation are, how they have failed to be achieved, how they are getting no closer now than 7 years ago, and on the horrific humanitarian disaster of the occupation, both for the loss of foreign troops (especially Canadians, whose lives are being wasted) and Afghans. The ugly truth is that far too many Canadians care more about 1 dead Canadian soldier than 100 dead Afghans. So you emphasize accordingly.

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]But should the left support the insurgency, Fidel? The insurgency against the U.S.-U.K.-NATO-Canadian invaders? Or should we just be "neutral" on that particular little point?

I'm not neutral.[/b]


Personally, I tend to want to support not Taliban's overall cause but rather their immediate goal to throw foreign invaders out the country. I think it would be difficult to convince Canadians that the Taliban are the good guys in all of this without going into long and drawn out explanations of what's happened in Afghanistan since 1973-70 to 1985-89 and 1989 to 92 and then NATO turning their backs on the ensuing carnage after "stirring up a radical Islamic hornets' nest" to rid the region of secular socialism in the beginning. As soon as certain Canadians hear the world "secular socialist though", their cold war instincts likely kick-in and we're back to complicated cold war mumbo-jumbo.

So I dunno. Best keep it simple I guess. The U.S. is attempting to prop up another of what is a long line of kleptocratic and undemocratic regimes for the sake of an overall war on democracy and destabilizing Central Asia in general.

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by N.Beltov:
[b]

Too complicated. I think the focus should be on identifying what the alleged goals of the NATO occupation are, how they have failed to be achieved, how they are getting no closer now than 7 years ago, and on the horrific humanitarian disaster of the occupation, both for the loss of foreign troops (especially Canadians, whose lives are being wasted) and Afghans. The ugly truth is that far too many Canadians care more about 1 dead Canadian soldier than 100 dead Afghans. So you emphasize accordingly.[/b]


Sounds good to me.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

M. Spector: "I am an advocate of [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defeatism]revolutionary defeatism[/url]. The optimal outcome would be no more deaths, and the immediate surrender or withdrawal of the imperialist forces."

Lenin's idea was inseparable from the supplementary idea of turning the weapons provided by the government on that same government. He was thinking further ahead than simply ending an (inter-imperialist) war. It was also a period of conscription in Russia as well, so Lenin had way more traction, politically, than current opponents in Canada of the Afghan war have. James Connolly in Ireland, incidentally, advocated much the same thing as Lenin did.

But it's a round peg in a square hole. I don't think it fits at all.

[ 04 September 2008: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]

Fidel

Although I do think the [url=http://www.counterpunch.org/whitney10112004.html]illegitimacy of Karzai's municipal government[/url] is a weakness for the overall plan in the Stan.

quote:

CNN's Christiane Amanpour summarized the day's events succinctly in an interview with presidential candidate, Ahmed Shah Ahmadzai who said: "This is a completely, completely prearranged fraud. I have cast my vote but the ink was removable. This is ridiculous."

And warlords in the municipal gov threatening death to Malalai Joya, an elected but "banned" parliamentarian herself, is not a good sign for Afghan democracy, imo. These are obvious telltale signs of a stoogeocracy

[ 04 September 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Emphasizing cosmetic or demonstration elections is still doing a favor, of sorts, to those who want to legitimize those "elections". Real differences in Afghan lives, like the bombing of wedding parties, and the lack and vagueness of the "improvements" under NATO (and its puppet regime) is a better emphasis.

Karzai isn't responsible for the NATO bombings in his own country. We should talk about who's really in charge. And how Canada isn't achieving the alleged goals, should therefore leave, etc.

[b]"Karzai is not President of Afghanistan. B-52 is President."[/b]

That's the way to go. Go for the jugular.

[ 04 September 2008: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by N.Beltov:
[b]I think the focus should be on identifying what the alleged goals of the NATO occupation are, how they have failed to be achieved, how they are getting no closer now than 7 years ago, and on the horrific humanitarian disaster of the occupation, both for the loss of foreign troops (especially Canadians, whose lives are being wasted) and Afghans.[/b]

This is the same sort of position the Democratic Party took on Iraq (eventually): - The war is a "failure" or it was a "mistake" - "We" have failed to achieve "our" goals - "Our" brave patriotic troops are dying in a losing cause - etc. etc.

In other words, accept the whole premise of going to war to achieve the ruling class's goals, and argue that if the goals aren't achieved then "we" should cut and run.

The subtext is not that the war is/was wrong and should never have been started, but that "we're" losing, so "we" should quit.

Well, I don't think the left should identify with the goals of the imperialist warmakers, as if to say the war would have been OK if only it had achieved its stated goals. The left has a responsibility to denounce the goals of the war themselves, and call for withdrawal of imperialist forces regardless of how "well" or "badly" the war has turned out.

This kind of ambivalence towards imperialist war leads to errors like "I oppose the mission - but I support the troops, so I'm glad when they get new and improved body armour or aircraft, and I [url=http://irenemathyssen.ndp.ca/page/39]buy Tim Horton's gift certificates[/url] to send to them to keep up their fighting morale, and I send them Christmas cards and I put yellow ribbon decals on my fire trucks and ambulances, and I wear red on Fridays. But gee, I don't like the mission."

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by N.Beltov:
[b]Lenin's idea was inseparable from the supplementary idea of turning the weapons provided by the government on that same government. He was thinking further ahead than simply ending an (inter-imperialist) war.[/b]

Gee, I guess that's my "problem", too - thinking too far ahead. [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]

I'm not a pacifist. I want the imperialists to lose the war because I want the imperialists to be weakened. I want the working class to defeat the imperialists and establish socialism. That task is made more difficult every time the imperialists score a military victory. Hence my defeatism.

I guess you see ending the Afghan war as an end in itself, rather than as another stage in the class struggle against capitalist rule of the world.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

quote:


Well, I don't think the left should identify with the goals of the imperialist warmakers, as if to say the war would have been OK if only it had achieved its stated goals.

I think the mission was doomed to failure from the start. It was premised on a lie from the very beginning. That lie was that the Taliban regime would not help the US capture Osama bin Laden. What the attack on Afghanistan was, in addition to geopolitical and geostrategic manuvering, is PRACTICE for Iraq a few years later.

Unravelling those lies, exposing the BS of the mission parameters, seems the best, clearest and surest way to reject the NATO, and Canadian, presence in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, a compulsory rejection of imperialism shouldn't be a condition of opposition to a particular war. That can only be PART of the message of the left. The main message is to end the war and occupation.

I really don't see what's wrong with conveying a different message (from the left) depending on the audience. We know that imperialism will forever be a cause of wars until it's gone from planet earth but that's only one part of the message.

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by N.Beltov:
[b]Emphasizing cosmetic or demonstration elections is still doing a favor, of sorts, to those who want to legitimize those "elections". Real differences in Afghan lives, like the bombing of wedding parties, and the lack and vagueness of the "improvements" under NATO (and its puppet regime) is a better emphasis.[/b]

Okay, but I think that also leaves the door open for "a better plan" If only the democracy-loving Karzai had some decent help from NATO and Canada, then things would be better. Our stoogeocrats and theirs can then remake themselves into the democrats they are not. The stoogeocracy in Kabul is illegit from the beginning, like Batista's U.S.-backed mafia government, the Shah, JER Montt, or Papa&Baby Doc. Those people were bad for democracy in those countries, and so is Karzai bad for the large majority of Afghans. They are a drug-dealing, power hungry stoogeocracy like a string of of U.S.-backed kleptocracies before them. And I think side-stepping this issue is ceding something precious to the illegit government and NATO military occupation overall.

Sven Sven's picture

Hey, why is no one talking about Iraq anymore?

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

quote:


M.Spector: I guess you see ending the Afghan war as an end in itself, rather than as another stage in the class struggle against capitalist rule of the world.

Yup. Ending war is more important than anything else - even if I reject constructing an utter Chinese Wall between the two. I don't see anything wrong with combining these messages, reserving the right to say to working people the message that you have underlined while taking a less demanding position into the peace and anti-war movements that include a wider cross section of society.

If you really believe, as I do, that war is endemic to imperialism, then calling for an end to war is, in any case, a call to end imperialism. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by Sven:
[b]Hey, why is no one talking about Iraq anymore?[/b]

Exactly. NATO and the U.S. military will be fleeing one job not well done to screw up another country. Their record on democracy and nation-building just isn't there. They've bombed over 30 countries since Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and propped up over three dozen stoogeocracies, and which country is better off for it today? They can't patch up that resume. No credibility whatsoever.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Good God, Fidel. You bite at the smallest lures.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Sven:
[b]Hey, why is no one talking about Iraq anymore?[/b]

Because there are only a handful of Canadian troops in Iraq and none "officialy."

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by N.Beltov:
[b]Good God, Fidel. You bite at the smallest lures.[/b]

I think it would actually help Afghans for us to point out their occupiers' abysmal record for promoting democracy around the world. Their batting average is terrible, and not a lot of people realize this fact. There [i]are[/i] people who believe NATO and the U.S. military are there in Kabul and Kandahar to support and maintain democracy. All I am suggesting is that their record for doing the opposite, as well as Karzai's illegtimacy, needs to be exploited for the sake making a convincing argument [i]against[/i] the illegal and immoral occupation to subvert democracy in Afghanistan. That's not a lure, it's a sprat to catch a mackeral.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Sven's lure, you so-and-so! He played you like a cheap violin.

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by N.Beltov:
[b]Sven's lure, you so-and-so! He played you like a cheap violin.[/b]

I think Sven made a salient point that should have led us to an obvious conclusion: military occupations and democracy are totally incompatible. And the historical record is there to support this general idea. If anything is being played here, it's the Stradivarius of issues namely democracy itself, their alleged reason for the occupation. Dance around that issue, and I think you will be the one played like an out of tune violin.

[ 04 September 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by N.Beltov:
[b]Unravelling those lies, exposing the BS of the mission parameters, seems the best, clearest and surest way to reject the NATO, and Canadian, presence in Afghanistan.[/b]

You're not going to unravel any lies by saying you support the troops "as people". Rather, you allow the perpetuation of the lies that say the imperialist armed forces are a force for good - a humanitarian force, even - and that the reason for their failure is lack of support from their political masters, who aren't equipping them to "get the job done" so they can come home safely to their wives and children. It's a position entirely consistent with a pro-imperialist ideology.

quote:

[b]Furthermore, a compulsory rejection of imperialism shouldn't be a condition of opposition to a particular war.[/b]

I agree and I never said otherwise.

But an individual's opposition to a particular war can [b]evolve into[/b] opposition to all imperialist wars, and opposition to imperialism itself. That process can be helped or blunted, depending on how the anti-war forces frame the message.

I think anti-imperialist opposition to the war should be framed somewhat differently than, say, the Liberal Party's "opposition" to the war. The latter never question the assumption that sending troops to Afghanistan was a humanitarian act; their only opposition is to seeing a bunch of Canadian soldiers dying in a losing cause. An anti-war movement built around that perspective would do nothing to advance the acceptance of an anti-imperialist critique.

An anti-war movement that proceeds from the assumption that Canada's role in Afghanistan is wrong - regardless of whether the war succeeds or fails in its objectives (propping up the puppet Karzai regime, advancing the war on terror, making the country safe for a gas pipeline, destroying the poppy trade, opening up the country to foreign investment, etc.) - and fights for the withdrawal of Canadian and NATO troops on that basis, is going to put squarely on the table the issue of the legitimacy of the geopolitical goals and alliances of the ruling class. That will make it more likely that Canadians will oppose the next imperialist war that our government gets us into (as it inevitably will) and it will open up avenues for the left to make gains among the population.

quote:

[b]The main message is to end the war and occupation.[/b]

This is the pacifist position. It is devoid of any class analysis or perspective of struggle for social change.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Fidel, I thought Sven's remark was a complete non sequitor. Theatre of the absurd. It didn't have any connection to the previous discussion. Probably inserted for his own amusement.

Hence MY remark. Can we move on?

Fidel

I have little doubt Sven was joining in off key. I was simply humming a few bars of old demockracy. It's a tune that I think everyone is somewhat familiar with. Righties are already decided as are lefties on Afghanistan. Some issues in the middle ground are still vague for the undecided fence sitters. And I think democracy is a pretty large stone to hand to them, is all. Carry on

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by N.Beltov:
[b]If you really believe, as I do, that war is endemic to imperialism, then calling for an end to war is, in any case, a call to end imperialism. [/b]

"Calling for an end to war" is not the same thing as "calling for an end to this war". The movement against the war in Afghanistan is not a movement against war [i]per se,[/i] and thus is not subjectively an anti-imperialist movement.

Anyway, aren't you the one trying to separate the two concepts? You want to focus on ending [b]this war[/b], without trying to change people's consciousness in a way that will make them less likely to support the [b]next war[/b]. You can kid yourself into thinking that such a strategy is going to put an end to imperialism, but it's like fighting a forest fire with a water pistol.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Fine. You want to put me in the "supports imperialist running dogs" basket ... then who am I to stand in your way?

It still sounds like quibbling to me.

Fidel

I think we've all [i]razed[/i] important issues here, including Sven. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] Something else that lends to the idea for Beltov's KISS approach is that fence sitters, I believe, tend to have short attention spans. They are too busy struggling with family and other obligations to worry about anyone else but themselves by design of the current political-economic situation. Some will want to know more without being preached or lectured to, and some couldn't care less about a country on the other side of the world which the U.S. is attempting to destabilize and prevent an outbreak of democracy from happening. So with that I think we should all do the Gore Vidal thin book thing instead of the thick book saga when winning friends and influencing enemies. And do that really well.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

I didn't say you support imperialism. You just don't have a clue about how to fight it.

For example, you think that a liberal-pacifist perspective on Afghanistan and an anti-capitalist one are distinguished by mere "quibbling".

You think it's "quibbling" to suggest that the expression of support for the troops "as people" is not an anti-war (much less anti-imperialist) position; in fact, it's one that General Hillier himself would agree with.

Unionist

So, N.Beltov and M. Spector, do you support the Afghan people's struggle to rid their country of invaders and puppets - even if it doesn't herald in galaxy-wide socialism instantaneously?

I do.

You're right, N.Beltov, I want that to happen by the Canadian government and other governments being forced to withdraw by their own insurgent populations. But military defeat, humiliation, surrender, and retreat are also acceptable alternative options.

I am not a pacifist. I support the war. Do you? Or is that question way too un-nuanced?

Fidel

I think what will happen is the two old line parties will continue to support the occupation for years to come while maintaining a democracy gap here in Canada.

Meanwhile, Obama and McCain are both committed to the phony war on terror and waging war in a desperately poor Afghanistan. The stage is set for a long occupation and probable escalation of the war into Pakistan. More destabilization of Central Asia to come, and the overall goal is to renew the cold war with Russia and China. Perhaps a nuclear showdown

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]...do you support the Afghan people's struggle to rid their country of invaders and puppets - even if it doesn't herald in galaxy-wide socialism instantaneously?[/b]

I certainly do. I make no conditions on my support.

But before we get galaxy-wide socialism a whole lotta people are going to have to come to realize that capitalism, and particularly its imperialist manifestation, is inimical to a humane, just, and ecologically sustainable society. Successful campaigns to stop imperialist wars can be an important part of that process of consciousness-raising.

Fidel

The Yanks, Brits, Pakistani military-ISI and Saudis are afraid that the efforts to Talibanize Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 1980's cannot be sustained if there is no perceived purpose for the Taliban. All of them need enemies. At the same time, the Yanks don't want another VietNam or reversal of 1980's cold war roles in Afghanistan. Surrounding countries don't want NATO in their backyards, and I think that's obvious to the U.S. military and Pentagon strategists. The larger concern must then be, what does "NATO" and U.S. hope to achieve in Central Asia? We already know it's not to support democracy, and the global war on terror is a phony war. What are they up to then?

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Today's radio coverage of the deaths of the 3 Canadian soldiers was remarkable, I thought, for the utter lack of broader meaning to their deaths. Other soldiers, friends of the deceased, were unable to muster any coherent explanation of the sacrifice of their friends, beyond their friendship and camaraderie. It was really quite pathetic and sad.

It's a surprise, really, that there are not more Cindy Sheehans.

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by N.Beltov:
[b]Today's radio coverage of the deaths of the 3 Canadian soldiers was remarkable, I thought, for the utter lack of broader meaning to their deaths.[/b]

Same with this coverage:

quote:

I was deeply disturbed today to learn of the eight Canadian casualties in Afghanistan. The lost of three brave soldiers, means now that 94 Canadians have lost their lives in Afghanistan.

It is with great sadness that New Democrats across Canada pass on our sincere sympathies to the friends, families, and colleagues of Cpl. Andrew Grenon, Cpl. Mike Seggie and Pte. Chad Horn.

We also keep the five soldiers injured in the road-side attack in our thoughts and hope for a full recovery.

We hope those close to these fine soldiers find solace in knowing that we are thinking of them at this time.

These casualties are a stark reminder of the danger faced by our Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of them on this tragic day.


It's profound all right.

He's even lost count of the number of Canadian fatalities.

Can't they hire better editors? I've given up hoping for decent writers.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Looks as if the French are beginning to go through the same doubts about Afghanistan as Canadians.

quote:

A French magazine published photos on Thursday of Taliban fighters with trophies taken from French soldiers killed last month in Afghanistan, setting off a new round of pained debate about France's presence there.

President Nicolas Sarkozy and his ministers have said again and again since [b]10 French soldiers were killed in an ambush on Aug. 18[/b] that France would not falter in its determination to fight the "medieval" and "barbaric" Taliban.

But the pledges ring hollow in the ears of many French people who are suddenly being served blanket coverage of a faraway conflict involving about 2,600 French soldiers that had previously been confined to the inside pages of newspapers.

The weekly magazine Paris Match rekindled emotions with its spread of photos of Taliban fighters displaying French army guns, uniforms, helmets, a walkie-talkie and a wristwatch they said were taken from dead soldiers during the Aug. 18 ambush.

"It's a shock to see our children's killers parading their uniforms, their weapons," said Joel Lepahun, the father of one of the dead soldiers, on RTL radio.

Defence Minister Herve Morin suggested the magazine's reporters had done the Taliban a favour in the propaganda war….

"The Taliban are waging a war of communication with this kind of operation. They have understood that [b]public opinion is probably the Achilles' heel of the international community that is present in Afghanistan,"[/b] he said.

Eric de Lavarene, the journalist who arranged the meeting with the Taliban fighters and interviewed their leader, defended himself against accusations that he was manipulated by them.

"I wouldn't say that. [b]No one talks of propaganda when we set off embedded with NATO troops, yet information is always very tightly controlled on those occasions,"[/b] he said on i-Tele TV.

"However it is true that the Taliban have become masters in the art of communication," he added.

Unease over the Paris Match photos and the quotes from the Taliban leader named as "Commander Farouki", who threatens to kill every single French soldier in Afghanistan, revived the debate about whether France was doing the right thing there….

But the agonising over the deaths, France's worst single military loss in 25 years, shows no sign of abating.

The magazine Le Nouvel Observateur ran yet another interview with the parents of one of the dead soldiers on Thursday. [b]Mother Chantal Buil said she had written a letter to Sarkozy.

"Stop following the example of President Bush. His arrogance comes out of every pore. Let's stay French. Let's get our soldiers out of the quagmire,"[/b] she wrote in her letter.


[url=http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L4116640.htm]Reuters[/url]

The Defence Minister is of course correct: public opinion is indeed the "Achilles heel" of the imperialist intervention in Afghanistan.

[ 04 September 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

Webgear

[url=http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/opium-cultivation-in-afghanistan... cultivation in Afghanistan down by a fifth [/url]

"26 August 2008 - Released today, UNODC's Afghanistan Opium Survey 2008 shows a 19 per cent decrease in opium cultivation to 157,000 hectares, compared to the record harvest of 193,000 in 2007."

"Despite these improvements, the situation is vulnerable to setbacks. "Afghanistan's drug control strategy should be to consolidate and reduce", says Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of UNODC. "Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world, and the latest food crisis has made farmers even more vulnerable. Opium is a seasonal plant. It may be gone today, but back again tomorrow," he warns."

Stanley10

It would require a very determined government to eradicate the poppy. It is drought resistant, used for cooking fuel instead of dung, burned for caustic soda to make soap, the seeds are crushed for oil, and it earns more than 10 times any other cash crop. In addition to that there are major players involved internationally who benefit both directly and indirectly from its trade and use. All around, a tough thing to eradicate without replacing it with something better for the farmer trying to feed his family. The only really good counter to poppy so far has been certain Muslim values that come with their own baggage.
Best of luck on that.

[ 04 September 2008: Message edited by: Stanley10 ]

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Stanley10:
[b]It would require a very determined government to eradicate the poppy. [/b]

Yeah, right. The preceding government banned poppy cultivation and [b]wiped it out completely[/b]. The U.S., Canada, NATO, and their puppets brought it back to record crop levels. Webgear publishes this idiotic story saying it's down from last year - but that's because of bad weather!

Here's what [url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F06E3D7163DF933A15756C0A... New York Times[/url] said in May 2001, before the Crusading Saviours arrived:

quote:

The first American narcotics experts to go to Afghanistan under Taliban rule have concluded that the movement's ban on opium-poppy cultivation appears to have wiped out the world's largest crop in less than a year, officials said today.

The American findings confirm earlier reports from the United Nations drug control program that Afghanistan, which supplied about three-quarters of the world's opium and most of the heroin reaching Europe, had ended poppy planting in one season.

But the eradication of poppies has come at a terrible cost to farming families, and experts say it will not be known until the fall planting season begins whether the Taliban can continue to enforce it.

''It appears that the ban has taken effect,'' said Steven Casteel, assistant administrator for intelligence at the Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington.


So, what were you saying?

Stanley10

The Taliban were a very determined government. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

Webgear

Perhaps you can read the article again.

Weather only played a factor in the north.

jester

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]

So, what were you saying?[/b]


So, if NATO passes an edict stating that anyone growing poppy will be beheaded and their families shot, will that work?

The Taliban didn't eradicate poppy, they merely restricted it to raise the price.

The Karzai government and Karzai himself,through his brother, are complicit in the drug scene and all profit from it.

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Stanley10:
[b]The Taliban were a very determined government. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img] [/b]

And if the invaders financed by your tax dollars actually touched the poppy cultivation, they would be dropping dead at a far faster rate than they are now.

Here is how the Times described the Taliban's methodology:

quote:

The Afghans are desperate for international help, but describe their opposition to drug cultivation purely in religious terms.

At the State Department, James P. Callahan, director of Asian affairs at the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs who was one of the experts sent to Afghanistan, described in an interview how the Taliban had applied and enforced the ban. He was told by farmers that ''the Taliban used a system of consensus-building.''

They framed the ban ''in very religious terms,'' citing Islamic prohibitions against drugs, and that made it hard to defy, he added. Those who defied the edict were threatened with prison.

Mr. Callahan said that in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, where the Taliban's hold is strongest, farmers said they would rather starve than return to poppy cultivation -- and some of them will, experts say.


Perhaps Canada should take a similar approach, Webgear? [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img] [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img] [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

Fidel

It's the CIA's fault. They admitted to funding druglords in the 1980's.

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