Senate committee chair Colin Kenny said Canada should expect its allies to step up to the challenge. If that doesn't happen, he says Canada must “take another look” at its mission.
“We cannot stay there forever,” Mr. Kenny said. “The solution has to be in us helping the Afghans solve their problem, and our efforts have to be driven towards that.
Putting NATO on notice, that our commitment isn't open-ended, nor do we follow blindly. If Canada is on the frontlines, then Canada's voice must be heard. This logic applies to the Afghan government as well:
The report also pokes at the Afghan government, led by President Hamid Karzai, for the systemic corruption it says runs rampant through the country's institutions. It says the Karzai government should be pressed to develop a "comprehensive, transparent and effective plan" to reduce corruption as a condition of Canada's long-term commitment.
What I really like about the tone of this report, Canada will not be taken for granted, it will set conditions for our involvement. Too often, we have appeared relatively passive, merely following along, not wanting to step on any toes. This report is somewhat threatening, meet these demands or Canada isn't staying.
I also like the "re-balance" towards infastructure and development:
An 250 extra soldiers and another 50 Canadian police officers – up from 10 currently involved – to instruct the Afghan army and police, and a significant increase the $10-million budget for uniforms, benefits and salaries for Afghan police;
• CIDA to give $20-million from its budget to the Canadian Forces for local development projects run by Afghans until non-government organizations can safely function in Kandahar;
When you think about it, 10 people committed to training is pathetic by any measure. Ultimately, if we ever hope to leave Afghanistan, or at the least diminish our military role, it will coincide with the rise of domestic security. IMHO, we should be POURING money into the Afghan army and police force. This report addresses corruption, which gives some hope that any funding is effective.
This report is blunt, and it asks questions:
the report notes that Taliban fighters have "time and geography on their side.
"Are Canadians willing to commit themselves to decades of involvement in Afghanistan, which could cost hundreds of Canadian lives and billions of dollars ...?" it reads.
Just in case we are idealistic:
“Afghanistan is only remotely connected to the modern world,” it says. “Anyone expecting to see the emergence in Afghanistan within the next several decades of a recognizable modern democracy capable of delivering justice and amenities to its people is dreaming in Technicolor.
No guarantee of anything remotely resembling victory, that is the reality. I think Canadians can accept these sober conclusions, as opposed to the arguments of national pride and romantic language. The fact this report is supported by both Conservative and Liberal Senators should give it more credibility and allow this assessment to be the cornerstone moving forward. I see these declarations as a statement to the other players, don't take Canada for granted.