Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Good On The Liberals

It's good to hear the Liberals aren't prepared to give the Conservatives a blank check on the Afghanistan mission. There are still some questions that need to be resolved, particularly better clarification of our role moving forward and some justifications for the Manley recommendations:
But deputy Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff delivered a stern ultimatum to the government less than two hours later, clarifying the Liberal position.

"If the government does not accept a clear focus on training and reconstruction, if they believe that they can sneak past Parliament a motion that continues the existing mission ... I am afraid that they will have difficulty securing the Canadian consensus that this party is seeking," Ignatieff said in the House of Commons.

You need to have some clarification on priorities, because as it stands now, the motion leaves too much control in the hands of the Conservatives. Given the government's previous preference for the status quo, it is imperative that the Liberals secure clear language on expenditure for training and re-construction.

I was also pleased to see that Dion isn't accepting the "1000 additional troops" at face value, that the Liberals would like the government to clarify the descrepancy between this recommendation and what commanders feel is necessary:
Dion said the government must still explain:

The need for just 1,000 additional soldiers when some commanders say 5,000 or even 10,000 more troops are needed.

This demand represents the first time anyone has really challenged this arbitrary number, it is a critical point. If, the troop increase recommended by Manley is woefully inadequate, as suggested by military officials, then the question then becomes, is this new formula simply a recipe for failure? It is incumbent on the government to explain how this recommendation adequately addresses the security challenges. If this dialogue reveals a fatal flaw moving forward, then the Liberals may need to reconsider their support, until this central argument is addressed.


MississaugaJoan said...

Continued support for combat while the truths about what is/isn't happening happening in Afghanistan are being ignored.

First the heroin trade was ignored (by Manley and the Con/Lib), now the continued degradation of women is being ignored.

"Despite a new law banning the practice, 57 per cent of brides are under the age of 16. The illiteracy rate among women is 88 per cent with just 5 per cent of girls attending secondary school."

"Maternal mortality rates – one in nine women dies in childbirth – are the highest in the world alongside Sierra Leone."

"Six years after the US and Britain "freed" Afghan women from the oppressive Taliban regime, a new report proves that life is just as bad for most, and worse in some cases."



"More than 1 million primary school age girls not in school (in two provinces, girls' nonenrolment = 99%)" Note: there are only 24 million Afghans.

"More than 75% of population does not have access to safe drinking water"

"Up to 30% of primary school age children working to support families"

Source: UNICEF February 2007 Update

Dion capitulation of Liberal values would make any ignorant American or Conservative proud.

wilson said...

Gee Joan, I didn't know Chretien/Martin sent our brave soldiers to Afghanistan to run the country.
I thought they were sent there to provide security so the Afghan government could run the country and provide a better life for their citizens.

Iggy says '...if they believe that they can sneak past Parliament a motion that continues the existing mission...'

Didn't Dion say he would not micromanage military decisions?
Are we back to 'even tho it's not in the motion, we meant 'no offensive combat'?

If that is what they meant, Liberals should have put it into their ammendments. period.

Either the Generals in the field make the decisions or Dion sticks to his caveat.
Which is it?
Be clear.

Mike said...

"I thought they were sent there to provide security so the Afghan government could run the country and provide a better life for their citizens."

Funny, I thought they went to help the Americans depose the Taliban and capture OBL, not support the Karzai government without question and with no end in sight.

And as mjoan has pointed out, even by your standards, the Afghan government has NOT provided a better life for its citizens...in some ways its worse.

Sentencing journalists to death for some perceived transgression against Islam is not a better life.

Sentencing people to death for converting to a religion other than Islam is not a better life.

Supporting torturing warlords (like the Governor of Kandahar) is not a better life.

Allowing the Americans to disappear and torture (and kill) people in Bagram AFB is not a better life.

Nothing in Afghanistan is worth a single Canadian soldier's life.

That government you want our guys to die to protect is no better than the Taliban before them, no less Islamist and no less thugs.

Bring the troops home now and don't let them die in a quagmire that cannot be won.

Nice try to avoid the whole point of Joan's comment BTW. Typical nonsense.

leftdog said...

MIKE! Thank you for your comments! BRAVO!!!

wilson said...

The point is Canadian soldiers are not in Afghanistan to govern.

You can point out how many children are not in school, pre and post-natal deaths, lack of bridges and clean drinking water...,
but if you don't also point out, that since 2005,
the millions of girls now attending school,
the mortality rate significantly dropped,
the income doubled,
construction of roads to villages that have been isolated since the beginning of time,
then your're just bitching.

The international community has been struggling over the poopy field issue since 1990.
Expecting Canada to fix everything that is wrong in Afghanistan is ridiculous.
We can't even get our own bridges fixed.

MississaugaJoan said...

wilson, you wrote:

"The international community has been struggling over the poopy field issue since 1990."

According to the U.N., the Taliban had the poppy field problem down to 8,000 hectares in all of Afghanistan in 2001. In 2007, there were 16,615 hectares in Kandahar province alone (and 193,000 hectares in all of Afghanistan, an increase of 2400%).

According to the U.N., in 2006, 2,900,000 Afghans were involved in opium cultivation, in 2007, 3,300,000 (an increase of 400,000 - more than the population of Halifax), or 1 in 7 Afghans were involved in opium cultivation.

According to the U.N., "in 2007, Afghanistan produced an extraordinary 8,200 tons of opium (34% more than in 2006)...93% of the global opiates market...leaving aside 19th century China, that had a population at that time 15 times larger than today's Afghanistan, no other country in the world has ever produced narcotics on such a deadly scale."



Canadian soldiers continuing to die until 2011 in a Narco-nation is very, very sad.

Gayle said...

wilson - does con party central pay you per word? I have noticed your posts are getting longer.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! What Mike said!

The Liberals sold out on this, Steve. They are so afraid to go to the polls that they are willing to allow a senseless unwinnable war continue for another 2 unconscionable years. More Canadians will die propping up a corrupt Islamic narco-state. We will eventually leave and, just like every other invading army that ever went to Afghanistan, we will not succeed in subjugating the Afghans.

It's been a colossal waste of life, limb and money, so far. We've sacrificed our international reputation and we've looked the other way while Karzai's warlords have plundered the treasury and committed war crimes.

I see nothing with teeth in Dion's compromise that deals with the lopsidedness of funding and effort. So far, we've spent $6,100 million on military efforts and only $741 million on reconstruction. Does the compromise address any of that in any binding way? Dion has given Harper carte blanche until 2011.

There are two reasons I can see that Dion continues to support the failed mission. One, the whole Afghan fisaco was initiated by the Liberals. Two, he is afraid to challenge Harper on an Afghan confidence motion because he fears the electorate.

I have lost respect for Dion. I see his support for this as a forestall-the-election tactic and Canadian soldiers will die needlessly for that political decision.


Steve V said...

"So far, we've spent $6,100 million on military efforts and only $741 million on reconstruction. Does the compromise address any of that in any binding way? Dion has given Harper carte blanche until 2011."

I think that needs to be clarified before the final vote, specific expenditures, percentages. If the Liberals fail to get some assurances for their position then "sellout" might have relevance, that remains to be seen.

Steve V said...

I would add, if this is "carte blanche", then these questions wouldn't exist, would they?

Those states mjoan provides, I wonder if she could do the same for the period prior to 2001? What was the literacy rate for girls then? All you have shown is that a tremendous problem exists, it doesn't speak to trend lines or any sense of progress, when there clearly has been some, in limited forms.

I agree with Mike, as it relates to Karzai, moving forward the alliance must confront the government, do something about corruption, or simply replace the puppet.

Steve V said...

Is the 1000 troops we asked for?

MississaugaJoan said...

steve v,

About $1T has been spent so far by the West on Afghanistan. At 24,000,000 Afghans, that is about $40,000/Afghan.

In 6 years, and $1T later, why do 30% of PRIMARY SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN have to work to support their families?

In 6 years, and $1T later, why does 75% of the population still not have access to safe drinking water?

Afghanistan's GDP, the total value of goods it produces, in 2006, was $6.7B, according to aforementioned U.N. Reports. That's the exact amount (about $7B) Canada alone has spent on Afghanistan.

Note: Canada's GDP in 2006 was about $1.2T. Can you imagine if some country spent $1.2T on Canada over 6 years.

steve v, I will not dispute that living in Afghanistan while the Taliban were in power, life sucked.

steve v, please acknowledge the reality that living in Afghanistan today, after 6 years of war and $1T spent by the West, life sucks just as bad for most.

Steve V said...


I can't admit that it "sucks just as bad" because you haven't provided me any statistics prior to 2001. I've always said that this mission is badly out of balance, we spend way too much on security, not enough on improving quality of life, enabling the Afghan people to take control for themselves.

MississaugaJoan said...

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 45.88 years
male: 46.62 years
female: 45.1 years (2000 est.)

Death rate: 18.01 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)



Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 43.77 years
male: 43.6 years
female: 43.96 years (2007 est.)

Death rate: 19.96 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)



War always decreases overall life expectancy and always increases the death rate.