Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Finally, he’s got the message. As he bravely told the people of the United States on CNN on Sunday, our Prime Minister does not believe the war in Afghanistan is winnable. See:

The coup de grace of the statement was:

“Quite frankly, we are not going to ever defeat the insurgency. Afghanistan has probably had – my reading of Afghanistan history (is) it’s probably had an insurgency forever of some kind.”

Indeed it has. And it is a great tragedy that Harper and a few other movers and shakers in the lofty reaches of the Canadian government hadn’t read any Afghanistan history much earlier - like say, before marching our troops off to Kandahar to the mindless jingoism of General Hillier. If these turkeys had done so most of the 111 of our troops who have lost their lives in the conflict would still have their futures ahead of them. Just this morning came the news of the roadside bomb killings of another three of our brave troops in the region.

In case anybody is interested – and we all should be - here is what happened to the 111 brave young Canadians who have perished in Afghanistan. 92 were killed in hostile circumstances – 59 as a result of improvised explosive devices or landmines, 22 from rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire, and 11 from suicide bomb attacks. 19 died from friendly fire, motor vehicle accidents, falls, accidental gunshots, suicide and other causes.

See also an expanded list of casualties:

In addition, more than 300 Canadian soldiers have been wounded in Afghanistan, half of whom had to be transported back to Canada for treatment. Many of those wounded have serious and disabling injuries. There are amputees and seriously brain injured among them.

Our government says that by 2011 the direct cost of this folly to the Canadian taxpayer is estimated to be $11.3 billion. Parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page says that when you add in disability and health care for the troops, the price tag rises to $18.1 billion. See:

Yes, if Harper had read even the rudiments of the history of the region, he would have realized that the NATO commitment of even less than 100,000 troops at any one time would have been woefully deficient even to make a dent in changing that godforsaken country for the better.

If he had read the history of the region, he would have realized that the people of Afghanistan had given the boot twice to the British Empire at the height of its power.

If he had read the history of the region Harper would have realized that not yet twenty years ago the Russians, even with a far stronger military presence in the country than NATO now has, had to leave licking their wounds.

And had he had read some history of the region, he would have picked up on why our NATO partners were so loathe to send their troops into tough spots of Afghanistan such as Kandahar. Why indeed? Because our partners had read the history of the region and realized the futility of it all! Unlike Prime Minister Harper, who was too busy apple polishing President Bush and the neocons, in between reading learned treatises from the likes of the Fraser Institute, William Kristol and the National Citizens Coalition.

Yes, had Harper only read some history of the region before it was too late. He didn’t.
This is a very sad story. In his haste to please his American idols and embrace the geo-political views of the now discredited extreme right, history never entered the Prime Minister’s mind. It has only now, and it is too late for at least 111 brave Canadians.


WesternGrit said...

The sad fact is, our nation is placing less and less importance on education - even when it is needed most. It doesn't help that many conservative politicians (in USA and Canada) prefer the jingoistic, epithet-filled and "dumbed down" form of politics...

We need more schools, creating more elite scholars and "thinkers"... It may be our only way out of this economic mess (or "dumbed down economics for the masses")...

Darryl Raymaker said...

Right Again WesternGrit. I think you ought to run for public office.

penlan said...

I do NOT support Harper & want him gone BUT some of those lives were lost when the Libs were in power. Can't blame all of it on Harper, unfortunately. Sure can blame Hillier though who conned Martin big time!

Darryl Raymaker said...

Penlan, you have a point. However, think of this, When Harper took office on March 10, 2006, according to my calculations 11 Canadians had died in the Afghanistan campaign. Today there are 111 Canadians that have died. We have been there since late 2001. So 91% of the Deaths have taken place on his watch.

We have been in Afghanistan for 88 months (November 01 to March 09). Harper has been PM for 36 months (March 06 to now). He has been PM for 41% of the time we have been there during which 91% of the deaths have taken place.

I would argue that it is now and has been for some time, Harper's war. Particularly so because of his jingoistic "We don't cut and run," approach and threatening an election if we didn't extend the mission when the opposition parties were weak.

penlan said...

I agree Darryl. Just wanted to point out that soldiers had also been killed under the Lib watch. Certainly not near as many as under Harper's rule. He owns those deaths, & this war, by wanting to continue this war beyond 2009 & it's going to get worse with our losses. And don't forget all the Afghans who've died needlessly as well.

Darryl Raymaker said...