Thursday, February 19, 2009

Same War, Different Generals, Different Stories

Brigadier Jon Vance officially took command of Canadian forces in Afghanistan today.

Vance says we're winning. From CBC News:

He also said he believes the Taliban and other militants are losing influence in Afghanistan.

"I believe the insurgency is increasingly marginalized, and Afghans will be able to assume greater freedom from the scourge of insurgent activity and follow the destiny they have chosen," he said.

Vance replaces outgoing Brigadier Denis Thompson who, after nine months in charge, gave The Globe & Mail a somewhat different take:

Canadian military surveys have found that average people in Kandahar now feel dramatically less safe than they did 18 months ago, the top commander for the province says.

'People's sense of security has absolutely plummeted,' Brigadier-General Denis Thompson said, offering an unusually thoughtful view of the battlefield as he sat down with reporters at the end his nine-month tour of duty.

Thompson did point out that surveys consistently show that the Afghan people have greater support for the government than the Taliban. I wonder how many, when asked of their allegiance, would say whatever they thought the questioner wanted to hear?

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