Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Canada and Afghanistan

I don't know about you, but I am getting just a little ticked off about the way the media (and indeed the Canadian Armed Forces) are reporting Canada's exploits in the Godforsaken land that is Afghanistan.

For a start, to get this ball rolling, I want you to know that I entirely disagree with Canada's policy over Afghanistan. We should not be wasting young (or old) Canadian lives on this country. Try as I will to justify our actions over there, I simply cannot. And why you might ask? Because the people of the country do not deserve to have our Canadian lives wasted over them.

I have heard all of the stories about the Taliban, and this land being a breeding ground for Al-Qaeda delinquents. If we do not take the fight to them, the country will continue to be a breeding ground for such movements, and will fall into further anarchy. This prompts me to ask just how much further can it fall anyway? Has it not occurred to the powers that be that Afghanistan will revert back to anarchy as soon as the western powers decide to stop wasting money on it? What do you think will happen when the west pulls out, to all of the schools our military has helped to resurrect? And other institutions of so-called western ideals such as libraries and hospitals?

The problem here is that the overwhelming majority of Afghanistan's population is Muslim, and one of the basic doctrines of Muslim life is that help emanates from the religion itself, or from within. Therefore there will always be a large amount of the local population who resent what we are doing anyway. Don't get me wrong here - the fact that the majority of Afghanistan's population is Muslim is not in itself a problem - there is little wrong with Islam (assuming that it is practised sensibly).

So in my opinion, Canada and other western nations should not be wasting any more money or the lives of our soldiers on a country where we are simply not wanted (or appreciated). I know there are great stories about the children gleefully being able to attend school, the women now being able to decide on things like the Burqa, and similar things. However this will amount to nothing as soon as the west loses its nerve (or comes to its senses). It does not matter that Hamid Karzai is a wonderful person and he was democratically elected. This will mean little should the west leave. Are we really supposed to believe that with western help, the Afghan army will be able to take over and stop the resurgence of the Taliban? Not likely!

Which brings me back to the start of this post. It is becoming common for firefights to erupt in places like Kandahar. During a recent event, a couple of Afghani "civilians" were wounded or killed during the melee. One of them was approaching the Canadian soldiers, when after repeatedly being told to stop, he was shot (quite rightly). And now we are hearing the media reporting that "incidents such as this are making it increasingly difficult for the Canadian military to build trust with the local population". This is outrageous. Even the Canadian commander has been sucked into making apologies, and reminding the soldiers to "be careful".

Get a grip. Just how long are our men and women, who are over there fighting for their welfare, supposed to live under these pressures?

It is about time the west packed up and left Afghanistan to its own devices. It really is not our business what happens over there. And no amount of occupying the country and beating up on the Taliban will stop them permanently. They will find a way to commit their atrocities anyway.

It will be a different story when they decide to bring their little games to Canada.