Ranticles: “To all who oppose Canada in Afghanistan”

By Canticle

CanticleAnd your solution to Afghanistan's problems would be?

War sucks. Even those who wage it would probably agree with that assessment. The problem is, once war is launched, to end it there must be a viable, workable alternative.

For example, I vociferously opposed the Iraq war as I felt there were a wide range of viable options to deal with Iraq that would not require a gung ho, guns blazing approach (my favoured option, unfortunately, isn't one that is very realistic, and I will mention it below). However, war was waged, and now Iraq is a cesspit of violence and destruction, spawning terrorists where none before existed and providing a rich, fertile garden of propaganda for jihadists to exploit.

Leaving Iraq now would be the dumbest, most apocalyptically stupid things that the US could possible do (which is why I think George Bush is probably considering it now). Just because I think the Iraq war was a mistake doesn't mean I automatically default to believing that the best solution is for the US to leave. My personally opinion is the BEST, REALISTIC option for the US is to reinstitute the draft, pour close to 1 million soldiers into Iraq, lock down the country in a manner resembling that of post war Germany (and I hate the neo conservative movement for drawing that comparison in 2003, if the US HAD treated Iraq like post war Germany, there would have been a US soldier for every 30 Iraqi citizens on the streets), and completely occupying the nation. After all, no matter WHAT the US calls it, propagandists are going to call it an Occupation, so just MAKE it one and get the work done.

Unfortunately, there's no will for that solution, so there will be a series of half baked and half assed solutions that will lead to more bloodshed and carnage.

In Afghanistan, the country is still in the grip of violence, despair and a resurgent Taliban (a problem that WOULDN'T have been remotely realistic if, again, the Bush Regime would have done things right in Afghanistan to start with). Pulling out now does NOTHING except assuage the guilt complexes of a bunch of people who have absolutely nothing to offer in the way of a solution themselves.

If I were Prime Minister, it wouldn't be 2500 Canadians in Kandahar with the Provincial Reconstruction Team. It would be 25000, the PRT would be setting up core businesses with Afghans in charge (for example, a water purification plant) and the troops would be providing round the clock guard as the entire supply chain was built from the ground up to demonstrate to the locals how they can do it themselves. Then, once a working 'business' chain was in place, the troops would start training the locals to defend themselves. Oh, and it would NOT be an attempt to make Afghanistan into a mirror of Canada with Pashtuns replacing Prairie Canadians. The Afghans can decide for themselves how they want to govern themselves. All Canadians would do would provide the security and infrastructure to let them do it.

Oh, and every person demanding that Canadian troops pull out of Afghanistan would be given the opportunity to volunteer for the PRT in a civilian capacity, so they could show people what should be done instead.


Here's the thing. Saddam Hussein was and will forever remain a gangster. Dealing with him, one needed to deal as one would a gangster. His hate for the US was driven in large part by his feeling of betrayal. After all, the CIA had provided him with all this wonderful information on Iranian troop movements, he'd gotten equipment and expertise on chemical warfare from the US, and then when Kuwait comes along, he thinks the US will just let it blow over, and instead, he's buried under the military machine no sane man confronts.

Saddam Hussein's Iraq should have been given this option (and this is unfortunately something the UN COULD do if it had the political will, but does not): Admit the inspectors who will be accompanied by a military and civilian administrative group. While they are searching for weapons of mass destruction, the UN will graciously allow the civilian administrative group and the military group to take over the functions of government that will temporarily be surrendered by Saddam Hussein so he can concentrate on making sure the inspectors have access to all the documentation and materials they need. Iraqis will be the employees under UN auspices, but Saddam Hussein and his apparatus will be removed. So, for example, as the inspectors do their work, the UN takes over civilian control of the government bureaucracy. Saddam may have felt comfortable torturing and murdering even his relatives, but doing it to some functionary from Belarus who happens to find proper accounting techniques a better method of managing the oil ministry than graft would probably not be so easy, particularly if said functionary is backed up by a few thousand UN troops.

Realistically, the US should have waited, weeks wouldn't have mattered in the overall scheme of things, Canada's proposal to the UN was workable and provided a timetable and then the US could have had the backing of some of its major allies, instead of alienating those allies in the rush to go it alone.

Canticle on 3/19/2006.