Monday, May 18, 2009

We're Not Leaving Afghanistan - Peter MacKay. Then Again, We Never Were


Erstwhile DefMin Peter MacKay snuck into Kandahar apparently to tell the troops that there'll be plenty for them to do when Canada's combat mission there ends in 2011.

Memo to Pete: stop bullshitting everybody over there and at home.

So long as we have troops in Afghanistan, we don't get to decide when their combat mission will end. That's because the Taliban holds the iniative. We won't have the offensive combat mission but that's not exactly been a roaring success these past eight years anyway. But don't worry about that, Pete, the Taliban are on the offensive. They bring their war to us.

Most of Canada's casualties over the past couple of years haven't been from gunfights but roadside bombs, improvised explosive devices. Now, unless Pete is promising that, post 2011, our soldiers won't be driving down those same deadly roads, he's a lying bastard. Unless Pete can assure Canadian soldiers that they won't have to go anywhere in Afghanistan without being armed to the teeth, he's a lying bastard. Unless Pete can show up in Afghanistan announced instead of having to skulk in and skulk out, he's a lying bastard.

You see combat typically has two dimensions. One is offensive, the other defensive. We started this business years ago on the offensive. Gradually the insurgency has turned that around so that most of the time they're on the offensive. They hold the initiative, decide when and where to give battle or deny it. They have enough freedom of movement to stage highly complex attacks on major cities including Kabul, Kandahar and Khost. They have enough freedom of movement that they can get to the approaches of our garrisons to plant and conceal high-explosive 'improvised' mines.

Whether you're on the offensive or on the defensive, you're involved in a combat mission. The only difference is which side is calling the shots.
The day Canadian forces' combat mission in Afghanistan ends, is the day the last one of them flies out.