Thursday, February 21, 2008

An Open Letter to Stephane Dion

Some weeks ago I sent an e-mail to Stephane Dion, Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae concerning Canada's mission to Afghanistan. It took quite a while but I eventually received an acknowledgement of receipt from Mr. Dion's office and nothing at all from Igantieff or Rae.

That led me to finally send a somewhat confrontational message to the Liberal leader. The contents of it follow:

Dear Mr. Dion:

I am a lifelong and committed Liberal supporter. I am also the son of a horribly wounded, WWII Canadian army veteran. My dad's experiences and those of his family in the aftermath of WWII leave me very sensitive to the notion of politicians exploiting the lives of Canadian servicemen and the welfare of their families for political advantage.

In your policy speech of February, 2007, you asserted that the Liberal Party would reject any extension of the Afghanistan mission beyond February, 2009. It was a reasoned, thoughtful and principled position that you espoused.

Now, for reasons unknown, you propose abandoning you previous position and, instead, supporting the extension of the mission to 2011.

I want to know why? What has changed, save for electoral fortunes, to justify yet another two year extension of the mission?

From my perspective, Mr. Dion, the mission has already failed. It has failed due to lack of commitment from the political side. We left a force that was woefully understrength from the outset to confront an insurgency that steadily, year by year, expanded in numbers and influence. In the result we have retreated, gone on the defensive.

I call upon you to justify your proposed extension. Surely somebody must. Give me one example of a counterinsurgency success in these circumstances. Just one. Show me where a grossly understrength counterinsurgent force has prevailed. Then explain, please, why the Canadian mission to Afghanistan has the remotest chance of success.

If you cannot muster even one relevant example, please explain why you now support extending the mission for another two years. What is to be gained, save perhaps not having to go to the electorate on this issue? What is more important, the survival of your own position as leader of the opposition, or the lives our parliamentarians are willing to squander in their political self interests?

Having received no substantive response, whatsoever, to my previous e-mail to yourself and Messrs. Rae and Igantieff, I will be posting this an an open letter on Liblogs and Progressive Bloggers. I will, of course, promptly post any reply you may offer.


Perhaps this will finally get a response, a partial discourse of the debate that Canadians deserve but may not have.

I will post any replies as soon as they're received.

1 comment:

JimBobby said...

Whooee! Good letter, Mound. Don't hold yer breath waitin' fer a reply. Dion has proven, yet again, that he will do anything to avoid an election -- including sacrificing the lives of Canadian soldiers in an unwanted and unwinnable war.

The more we learn about the Karzai regime - massive corruption, POW's routinely bribing their way out of custody, starving Afghans selling their little girls for grocery money, top level Karzai appointees involved in the opium trade and involved in torture, Sharia Law with death penalties for Christian converts and anyone who dares question fundamentalist Islam -- the more morraly bankrupt this mission appears.

We are spending more than 50x as much on military effort as on humanitarian aid. Yet, Canadians are being fed the Big Lie: we are there to build a civil, democratic society.

We are there for one reason: to appease the Americans. Harper plays it that we are re-building an influential role on the world stage. The only news reports that mention Canada's involvement are Canadian sources. For the rest of the world, Afghan war reports refer to NATO and the US.

If we are rebuilding Canada's place in the world, we are doing so by propping up one of the most corrupt governments in the world. We are re-building our image and the new image is being built on lives sacrificed for nothing.

Now, Dion and Harper have colluded to ensure two more years of Canadian casualties in what is obviously an unwinnable war.

Dion's every bit as bad as Harper on this. Neither leader and neither party deserve support.