Friday, February 08, 2008

Afghanistan: Tories Introduce Their Motion; Gates Insults Europeans (again)

As expected, the Harper government has introduced a confidence motion on the fate of Canada's role in Afghanistan (full text) that would extend the mission to 2011 while calling for the heralded 1,000 extra troops and equipment that are apparently supposed to make all the difference for our soldiers over there.

The motion reads, in part:

whereas, as set out in the Speech from the Throne, the House does not believe that Canada should simply abandon the people of Afghanistan after February 2009;

Pack your bags. You're going on a guilt trip.

that Canada should build on its accomplishments and shift to accelerate the training of the Afghan army and police so that the government of Afghanistan can defend its own sovereignty and ensure that progress in Afghanistan is not lost and that our international commitments and reputation are upheld;

And who screwed up the training? The Pentagon, when it hired Dyncorp. Once again, Canadians are expected to clean up their mess or our "reputation" will be tarnished. We're like glorified janitors.

whereas their Report establishes clearly that security is an essential condition of good governance and lasting development and that, for best effect, all three components of a comprehensive strategy - military, diplomatic and development - need to reinforce each other;

whereas the government accepts the analysis and recommendations of the Panel and is committed to taking action, including revamping Canada's reconstruction and development efforts to give priority to direct, bilateral project assistance that addresses the immediate, practical needs of the Afghan people, especially in Kandahar province, as well as effective multi-year aid commitments with concrete objectives and assessments, and, further, to assert strong Canadian leadership to promote better coordination of the overall effort in Afghanistan by the international community, and, Afghan authorities;

Well, that all sounds fine and dandy but, as I've noted here before, 80% of America's money in Afghanistan is going towards military expenditures. That doesn't leave much in terms of reconstruction money.

On top of that, CIDA minister Bev Oda refuses to give straight answers about Canada's reconstruction efforts there. No wonder:

Cup half full, half empty in Canada's development work for Afghanistan

Jan 31, 2008

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - You can give a man a fish and feed him for a day, the proverb goes, or you can teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime.

If that's the mantra of development work in Afghanistan, Canada's approach is failing.

Millions of dollars are eaten up by corruption and mismanagement, and even successful programs do not seem to have a long-term impact, according government documents, non-governmental organizations and a former aid official.

Nipa Banerjee said 50 per cent of the $300 million allocated during her three years as head of aid in Afghanistan for the Canadian International Development Agency brought little or no results.

Yet, this government expects that the Canadian and Afghan people will be satisfied by more of the same?

As for "revamping" Canada's mission, here's what Robert Gates had to say about that on Friday, while he was insulting the Europeans by proclaiming they were "confused" about the difference between the Iraq and Afghanistan missions. Considering that Gates tried to shame NATO countries a year ago and that he also recently insisted that NATO troops don't know how to fight the insurgency in Afghanistan while at the same time announcing a measly enhanced US fighting force of just 3,200 soldiers, it's clear that the Bush administration intends to keep bullying and guilt-tripping tactics to deal with this war.

Mr. Gates said there was no need to rethink the NATO strategy in Afghanistan or to reshape the mission.

Just how does Harper think he can "assert strong Canadian leadership" in the face of a blunt statement like that, especially since he hasn't shown anything like "strong Canadian leadership" on our role there thus far? Just who is he trying to fool? And does anyone out there really believe that Canada's in charge of what's happening in Afghanistan when it comes to the fate of our troops and that of the Afghan people? There is no doubt that the Harper government and, to a lesser extent, the Liberals will be led by the nose by the Bush administration as long as we continue to participate in this war.

Just look how Condi Rice is framing this in typical neocon terms:

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan—On a surprise, 10-hour visit here Thursday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice thanked a crowd of multinational soldiers in a dusty compound, telling them their service in Afghanistan is helping to protect "the future of your own countries, your own people, and indeed, the security and the future of the world."

Will Canada bend to that fearmongering or will this government (and the Liberals) take a long, hard look at this situation, refusing to bow to American economic and global domination pressures?

Liberal leader Stephane Dion said today that his party will submit its own proposals next week in an attempt to amend the bill. Just how far will those amendments go and how does he plan to whip the vote when 24 MPs voted with the government last time to extend the mission to 2009, despite the fact that debate was so limited on such an important issue?

In the end, will this really be about Afghanistan or is it all hinging on whether the Liberals feel they're ready for an election? I guess we'll find out soon enough when the budget is presented to the house in March.

No comments:

Post a Comment