Monday, August 04, 2008

We're Not in Flanders Any More

When a person is diagnosed with cancer, physicians spring into action with aggressive therapies. When a country is afflicted with cancer, we throw on a bandaid. What gives?

The country is Afghanistan. The malignancy is what the Royal Institute, aka Chatham House, describes as the "nexus" of the Afghan government, the country's warlords and its drug trade. You see, they're all linked together and operate in defiant collusion right in front of our gunsight-weary eyes. Hamid Karzai's own brother, Ahmed, is routinely linked to the opium trade. It's no coincidence that the Karzai government hasn't apprehended a single drug baron. Curiously enough, the government is linked to the opium trade and so is the insurgency, the Taliban.

It's not surprising that our fiercely "law and order" Harpo government openly insists on turning a blind eye to Afghanistan's drug trade. Our Furious Leader and his DefMin have made it perfectly clear they want nothing to do with that little hornets' nest, no sir. This weekend our illustrious Foreign Affairs Minister, turncoat extraordinaire David Emerson said, "We all agree with the fundamental need to deal with this problem and I know Canada is prepared to step up and be part of a solution."

"Does it necessarily mean going out burning crops – or whatever the latest technique is – I'm not sure about that." Emerson claims that destroying opium fields would simply turn the peasants against us.

We even pretend that it's the poor farmer who'll suffer from poppy eradication when, in reality, it's large landowners and their protectors in the government itself.

Hmm, let's see. How are we doing with all those lofty goals we set for ourselves in going to war in Afghanistan? Women's rights? No, sorry, in the tank. How about democracy? No, the warlords have restored their own brand of fundamentalist, medieval tribalism through the country. That one's out, sorry again. Putting down the insurgency? Keep guessing. No, they're stronger than they have been since 2001 and, far from being discouraged, they think they've already tipped this scrap their way.

You see, we don't have enough resources to do the life-saving surgery needed to "save" Afghanistan. All we can do is throw on a few bandages and act like we don't know about the spreading tumours. If we acknowledged the scope and severity of Afghanistan's mortal problems we would have to admit how grossly understrength is the force we've deployed there and we can't admit that just in case someone noticed that we've been wasting the lives of the soldiers we've sent there to mark time in a minefield.

Astonishing. We cannot get it through our heads that there are no real Afghans, just Pashtun, Uzbek, Tajik, Hazara, Baloch and Turkmen tribes indulging in a centuries-old tradition of alliances, intrigue, betrayal and warfare.

Here's the bottom line and, when the dust clears, it's the only one that matters: we're in Afghanistan shoring up an entrenched criminal enterprise, one in which the good guys and the bad guys resemble nothing so much as warring Mafia families.

Is this really worth the lives of Canadian soldiers?

1 comment:

Johnathon said...
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