"Afghanistan is a daunting challenge ... but I think that if the international community works together we can make progress in that country to the point where it becomes irreversible and it becomes a functioning nation," said Harper.
Steve is obviously not a student of history. No foreign occupier has ever been successful in shaping Afghanistan into something of its own making.
And, if he truly wants it to be a "functioning nation", he needs to stop propping up the so-called military solution and place his focus on the politics. His rationale is the same as Bush's in Iraq - more troops that are supposed to provide increased security in order for a political solution to be found. It's not working in Iraq and it's not working in Afghanistan. The longer NATO stays in Afghanistan in a combat role while continuing to kill innocent civilians, (even more than the Taliban have this year), the more Afghans there will be who rise up against them. It's a lose/lose situation and Canadians are getting that message.
On Sunday, an Ipsos-Reid poll for the CanWest chain of newspapers showed that support for the mission had slipped to 50 percent from a high of 57 percent at the end of 2006.
Faced with that reality, Harper throws out a strawman:
"I don't think it's actually an option for Canada or anybody else ... to simply close our eyes and pretend there aren't severe problems in other parts of the world," said Harper.
No one is doing that. Nice try, Steve.
Related: U.S.: Afghanistan to break opium record
Taliban fighters are believed to tax and protect poppy farmers and drug runners, but so are Afghan government officials and pro-government tribes.