Thursday, September 28, 2006

Jack Layton is Right on Afghanistan

Jack Layton is doing the tough sledding on the Afghanistan issue, and he is turning out to be right on the issue.

His call for the removal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan in February 2007 provoked vicious attacks on him from the Conservatives, from editorialists, and from vitriolic letter writers to the newspapers. There was the supercilious Peter MacKay who commented repeatedly that the only person who wants to talk to the Taliban is Jack Layton and that the NDP leader will soon be suggesting tea with Osama bin Laden. And there has been the spittle of editorial writers who charge Layton with wanting to “cut and run.”

It always takes courage to recognize that a military mission thousands of kilometers from home is the wrong one and to call for it to be ended. The phony patriots have a field day with those who tell the truth and warn the country that it is one the wrong track.

The case for the Afghanistan mission is collapsing like a house of cards. First, there was the leaked U.S. National Intelligence Estimate that concluded that the American occupation of Iraq is inspiring new recruits to terrorism on such a scale that the U.S. is worse off today than before the invasion of that country. Yesterday, portions of a leaked British intelligence report reached the same conclusion about the consequences of the Iraq mission, and went on to warn that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not going well and that their outcomes are uncertain.

Now we have the spectacle on the front pages of the papers of the Three Musketeers who met over dinner at the White House---George W. Bush, General Pervez Musharraf, and Hamid Karzai, the presidents respectively of the global empire, and his two quarrelsome allies from Pakistan and Afghanistan. It must have been a hell of a dinner, since the latter two participants refused to shake hands with each other. Following dessert it was reported that no deals had been reached.

Musharraf disdainfully dismisses Karzai as the “mayor of Kabul”, just as he has shown disdain for the sacrifice of Canadians in the war against the Taliban. (“You suffer two dead [the true number is 37], and there’s a cry and shout all around the base that there are coffins,” Musharraf told the CBC the other day.) Last week, we learned that Pakistan, formerly openly pro-Taliban, only joined the U.S. War on Terror following 9/11 after being threatened with a military assault that would drive it back to the stone-age.

Since then, all that’s happened, as daily news reports reveal, is that Musharraf has mouthed support for the war on terror while continuing to allow the Taliban to come and go across the border between his country and Afghanistan. As he seeks to distance himself from George W. Bush and his failing policies, Musharraf has no intention of provoking intense opposition to his own shaky regime by cracking down on the Afghan insurgents, who really are as much a collection of anti-westerners, tribal fighters and drug-dealers as they are the Taliban. Besides, he’s happy to keep Karzai in his box as the mayor of Kabul.

Canada doesn’t belong in this war where duplicity and double-dealing are the order of the day.

It’s tough to be the politician setting the pace on the Afghanistan issue. Jack Layton’s doing it and he deserves credit. Soon he’ll be joined by other less courageous politicians as ever more Canadians conclude that we have no business in this odious affair.


Art Hornbie said...

"the only person who wants to talk to the Taliban is Jack Layton and that the NDP leader will soon be suggesting tea with Osama bin Laden."

Hey, what's wrong with that? I wish Elizabeth May would propose such a course. Peace through negotiation ... how novel.

But I don't think Jack is removing any forces from Afghanistan. I think he just wants to move them more north, out of harms way.

Mike said...


It takes guts to write a post like this, considering viciouness of the blogshpere makes newpapers look like a school yard spat.

I guess I now know why Harper doesn't rely want to discuss this or tell us the facts he knows the sad truth is that perhaps our current situation is unwinnable.

And George doesn't like that kind of talk.

Anonymous said...

The Taliban kill people for supporting the education of girls. They kill people for being gay.
They support al-Qaeda who kill everyone.
Jack & the NDP are disgracefull. Canada's Neville Chamberlain.

AnonyMouse said...

Absolutely! I totally agree with you.

By the way, I was wondering if there are any *recent* petitions calling for the withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan, or at least a halting of (most) military activity in Afghanistan to focus more on humanitarian aid. The online petitions I've found are all old, from Jean Chretien and Paul Martin's time.

Anonymous said...

Good ole Taliban Jack is playing the appeasement card. As a professor of political science, I'd think you'd be familiar with history, and how well this has worked in the past. There are 6 million dead Jews who would slap you in the face for even suggesting appeasement be a viable option. Typical elitist Toronto educator.

Anonymous said...

Jack Laton is the most ridiculous politition alive. If you agree with anything that man says, take off your begenstocks and beat your self to death with them. Maybe Jack should yank his head out of his ass, throw his helmet on and pedal around Kandahar until he finds some Taliban and explain to them that we are sorry for shooting at them and we really just want to fix and build things. I'm sure if Jack just chatted with them for awhile they would quit burning down and blowing up everything we fix.
Why is the leftwing all of a sudden concerned about our troops anyway. Canadian troops are not "Peacekeepers" Thats a word the liberals made up. Call any infantryman I know a peacekeeper and you will probably end up with a sore nose. The troops want to be there. fighting is part of the job we are ok with it. Certainly you can't actually care about the Afghan people. The troops can. We have been there. What have you done? Nothing. The left doesn't do anything. Instead of writing articles and blogging about what the rightwing is doing wrong write something about what the left has done at all. I am guessing writers block will set in fairly quickly.

Anonymous said...

These comments make me wonder if these people know the difference between the Crusades and the Second World War.

What's really depressing is that they don't seem to care about the deaths of Canadian soldiers.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"Peace through negotiation ... how novel" Yeah, it would be nice if we could just ask the terrorist regimes of the

world to take it easy for a while. Hey, maybe we should have delayed WWII and just aksed Hitler nicely to stop his

genocide, I'm sure he would have been glad to comply.

Nobody enjoys going to war. Then again, nobody likes going to the dentist either. Rational people understand that

they both must be done from time to time. Trying to have a functioning global society without war is like trying to

run a city without police. The reality is, the kids on the playground can't always play nice.

I can garuntee that there is not a single member of the Canadian forces serving in Afghanistan so that they can

rebuild churches and hand out food. Last time I checked, our flag had a maple leaf on it, not a red cross. We

can't accomplish anything by standing on the sidelines, trying to be everyone's friend. Don't get me wrong, I'm not

saying Canada needs to start taking an agreesive approach like the US, I'm just saying that Jack Layton's

suggestions to want to abandon our efforts in Afghanistan is simply disgraceful to our country. The recent 'Bring

Our Troops Home' rallies held nationwide on Oct. 28th showcased Layton's anti-war views. A similar rally is

scheduled to be held in Ottawa on Nov. 11th. This is quite possible the most disrespectful thing that any

organization could do. The reason why war is a necessity in our world is because it garuntees the basic rights and

freedoms of everyone, nomatter where they are in the world. I don't need to tell you that the freedoms you enjoy

today can be acredited of the sacrifices made by those in the past. But I guess those freedoms only matter when

there close to home. Everybody cried when New Orleans got wiped out, but nobody really cared when the tsunami in

2004 wiped out nearly 300 000 in India. But who cares, we don't party there. People only really care about

something when it affects them, and can't make sacrifices for something that doesn't.

Canada's increased commitment in the Afghani war on terror is both a noble and humanitarian one. For Jack Layton to

want to pull our troops out now speaks a strong statement to the world that Canada lacks dedication and courage in

international conflict.

Don't listen to Layton, Support Our Troops.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Jack Layon, where do I begin. I have been waiting for so long to communicate with others what I think of Jack Layton; what a total waste of human flesh. What does it say about Canadians when we tolerate a person to be leader of an opposition party in Canada with so little substance, completely unable to grasp significant factors of problems of any complexity in a situation, so lacking in intelligence, a man with no vision, no ideas, a total yes man whom has never stood for anything or stood up for anything unless it was the popular thing to do. He knows well how to point out short comings in others yet He has absolutely no interest in actually making a difference in this country, and actually stepping up to the plate to become Priminister himself. His only goal seems to be to be a voice, to speak for all Canadians that really don't know what they want or what steps to take to make a difference in this country. I can see why Paul Martin and Harper find it difficult to resist making fun of the guy. Jack Layton is waisting the time and money of all Canadians and he needs to go.