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Friday, June 05, 2009

Canadian government issues report on Afghan mission

The Canadian government has tabled its quarterly report on the war in Afghanistan. The report notes some signs of progress, but also highlights a deteriorating security situation.

Canada's mission in Afghanistan includes military operations, as well as diplomatic, development, and humanitarian efforts. The government was quick to highlight the areas where Canadians have made progress:

The fourth quarterly report illustrates important progress being made in the following key areas.

Canadian and Afghan Forces continued to attack and disrupt networks responsible for setting improvised explosive devices (IEDs)…

Through Canadian mentoring and training efforts, the ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] have demonstrated marked improvements in Kandahar;…

Consistent with the international focus on the region, Canada brought together Afghan and Pakistani officials in Dubai, where they adopted an unprecedented joint border management plan.

Afghans completed voter registration for presidential and provincial council elections in August–a major event in building capacity for democratic governance and an example of security success for ANSF. In Kandahar, 300,000 more Afghans have been registered to vote.

Canada also contributed to efforts to build new infrastructure, including a dam and new schools, as well as managing the polio vaccination program. While improving the lives of the Afghan people and building the capacity of the state are important parts of the mission, they're not the primary reason why we're there. We're there to kill Taliban and this part of the operation is not gong so well:

Achieving even modest progress in Afghanistan remains difficult. After decades of warfare and misrule, Afghanistan is one of the world's poorest countries. Its government lacks capacity in nearly every part of its administration. And the insurgency—in which the Taliban is the pre-eminent but not the only force—has shown no signs of abating and in some provinces has expanded its reach.

The report notes that there were more combat deaths between January 1 and March 31 of this year than in any other winter quarter since the war began. The number of insurgent attacks has also increased relative to the same period last year.

Part of the reason for the worsening security situation is inadequate troop levels. The Americans have realized this and will be sending more than 20,000 additional troops to the region. Canada's commitment will remain stable at approximately 2,800 troops, which will be withdrawn when the military mission ends in 2011.

According to a report published in The Washington Quarterly, the increase in American troops and an increase in the size of the ANSF will bring the combined level of Afghan and international personal to 300,000. This is, however, far below the 700,000 personal operating in Iraq and the levels advocated by "standard counterinsurgency guidelines," which recommend a total of 600,000 personal in a country the size of Afghanistan.

Another problem is that the ANSF is still relatively small and is unlikely to grow significantly due to the Afghan government's inability to fund such a force. Afghanistan's federal budget is a mere $4 billion and over half of it comes from foreign aid. Canada is trying to help the situation by improving security and providing training and assistance to the army and police forces. However, only six per cent of police units are currently capable of operating on their own and the Canadian government expects the army will still need the support of western troops once we leave.

To be sure, Canadian troops are working very hard under increasingly difficult circumstances. However, it does not appear as though we will make any significant improvements by the artificial deadline of 2011 that Parliament set last year. If anything, I hope people will begin to realize that wars are messy and can take a long time if one hopes to see success. We should not make the decision to enter such conflicts lightly and we should be prepared to stay as long as it takes in order to complete our objectives.

Our objectives in Afghanistan are to defend our NATO ally by defeating the Taliban, ensuring Al-Qaeda is no longer able to establish bases in the region, and leaving the country with the ability to defend itself. It is clear we will not be able to meet these objectives within the next two years. Imposing artificial deadlines makes us appear weak to our enemies and unreliable to our allies. Is it not time to rethink this deadline and extend our mission in Afghanistan?

(Photo courtesy lohan1025/flickr. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License)

Posted by Jesse Kline on June 5, 2009 in International Affairs | Permalink

Comments

Yes, extend the mission. Don't give up. If Iraq can be pacified and turned around towards a better future, so can Afghanistan.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-05 11:24:23 PM


It's time to leave. This war will be won or lost by Afghans not western troops. Our withdrawal (ASAP) would allow us to spend considerably more on Afghan security forces and development while removing the motive of "ejecting the occupiers" from Taliban recruiters pitches.

Canada is on the hook for at least $40 billion already and with years of deficits ahead paying for an expeditionary force that increasingly is hunkered down in Kandahar City makes no sense. Our limited successes have been at great cost and much of what we have done has been futile or actually counter-productive.

Posted by: Michael Shannon | 2009-06-06 6:49:34 AM


Perpetual War is one of the tools of fascism.
I greatly admire the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, and I think their talents and their lives are being wasted to further a political agenda that will amount to nothing more than dead Canadians. Get them out now!

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-06 7:48:58 AM


I strongly support the mission, but I dont think the organization is up for it. Why ? Decades of relentless cuts and any measure to save money by previous governments have made the Canadian forces fragile; difficult for it to compete in combat, lacking technical equipment and vehicles, and in a few years there will be a large turnover of experienced NCO's, leaving the canadian forces with a deficiency in expereinced NCO's (largely in part to Paul martin pushing for early retirement of personnel in the 1990's)

Posted by: Jack Dreaddy | 2009-06-06 10:43:58 AM


During those periods of "relentless cuts" the CF was the 10th most expensive military in the world, 6th in NATO and second most expensive per man in the world. It's a myth the CF was underfunded. What's true is that it was and is disorganized with too many bases, HQ and senior officers, a poor personnel system and terrible procurement bureaucracy. It just gave back $300 million it couldn't spend! Money isn't the problem it's the waste and disorganization and that has gotten worse since 9/11 not better.

Posted by: Michael Shannon | 2009-06-06 1:37:34 PM


Actually, that's a rather broad statement. Are you taking into account the value of the dollars of perspective countries ? Their abilities to fund militaries ? The size of other countries ? (Canada is the second largest in the world, think of the shear logistics). Even the Liberals(the main perpetrators of the cuts) in Canada admit to starving the forces. In the late 90's only 1.1% of GNP was going into defense, 20-33% of the air force was grounded, naval personnel had to steal equipment from each other, and soldiers couldn't even afford blanks for their guns for war games (my dad said how demoralized and embarrassed they felt that when on war games they all had to yell "bang bang bang" on the field.

Posted by: Jack Dreaddy | 2009-06-06 2:03:08 PM


A Canadian Soldier home on rotation told me that the US was giving the Canucks a lot of what they need to survive over there. This isn't the first time our military has had to learn to scrounge.
And yet another reason we shouldn't be over there.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-06 2:11:01 PM


We could stay for 50 years, and the day we leave, every man in the country would denounce us, and join the Taliban. They aren't worth fighting over, and they can't be saved from themselves.

On the other hand, the longer we stay, the longer we postpone the inevitable flood of "refugees", once the Taliban regains power.

Posted by: dp | 2009-06-06 2:56:52 PM


hey dp, couldn't the refugees just go over to Pakistan? After all they're friendly nation that we're already supporting right? ;)

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-06 3:05:46 PM


This war has become irrelevant and meaningless.

Posted by: epsilon | 2009-06-06 3:31:53 PM


This war has become irrelevant and meaningless.
Posted by: epsilon | 2009-06-06 3:31:53 PM

Maybe if we had Sir Epsilon Gooderich du Caen - Generale des Armees du Normandie running things it might be over in a few weeks. Bwahahahahahahahaha

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-06-06 3:50:27 PM


?

Posted by: epsilon | 2009-06-06 9:13:59 PM


Jack Dready: In the 70's, 80's and 90's the CF was paying ~ 500% over retail retail for small arms ammo and regularly threw ammo away rather than store it for use another day. I saw cases of ammo thrown off bridges and large quantities burned. If troops were running around yelling bang bang it wasn't for lack of ammo it was because of DNDs incompetence and waste.

Posted by: Michael Shannon | 2009-06-06 9:26:37 PM


Ontario's armaments industry is making a lot of money off the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. Taxes made off that business funds the social safety net, and they contribute heavily to all political parties. Hence, the conundrum - can't afford not to abandon the war. Even the NDP is heavily committed.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-06 9:35:12 PM


"Our objectives in Afghanistan are to defend our NATO ally by defeating the Taliban, ensuring Al-Qaeda is no longer able to establish bases in the region, and leaving the country with the ability to defend itself."

Maybe in the head of a few remaining neocons and some “conservatives” but in the mind of most Canadians, we tolerate the mission simply because it was sold and as an action to improve their quality of life. Built an electoral campaign on "defeating the Taliban", "protecting our allies” and “ensuring Al-Qaeda is no longer able to establish bases in the region”; and you will see how fast the mission, and your party, will cease to exist.
Even the U.S. preferred stealing Iraq resources before targeting people that have killed 4000 of their own. It's time to leave this mess to people who doesn’t even want us their. It’s also time our countries produce “pundits” that are connected to reality.

Posted by: Marc | 2009-06-06 10:12:32 PM


Zeb makes a good point here. The armaments industries are big business. Hence the lengthy Viet Nam war and now the Middle East. The Bush crime cartel is in business with the Bin laden's in a venture called the Carlyle Group. And guess what? They're a munitions dealer. Bush - Bin Laden - Al Qaeda....Profits! The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai was also a memeber of the 911 Commission. At the time he was a paid consultant of Exxon. I could go on... But there area a lot of coincidences. Too many.

We're bringing democracy to the Middle East? Maybe.
We're bringing tax payer funded profits to politically connected war mongers? Definately.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-07 7:52:34 AM


I wasn't talking about the US and all these conspiracy theories. I referred to the intense involvement and indeed dependence Ontario - and sadly by extension Canada - has on war production for its basic economic survival. As much as the Liebral/Green/NDP party says they support peace, their constituencies depend on armaments production for employment. Would they ever give that up? Hell no - they'd lose votes.

Hence, Canada is not a peaceful country nor an 'independent arbiter' - they're worse than a warmonger: they're the ones who profit off war.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-07 9:26:58 AM


I presented no theories Zeb, just facts.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-07 9:52:48 AM


Hence, Canada is not a peaceful country nor an 'independent arbiter' - they're worse than a warmonger: they're the ones who profit off war.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-07 9:26:58 AM


Bell Helicopter, Colt, Boeing...these aren't Canadian companies Zeb. "Everybody" in the arms biz profits off war.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-07 11:04:10 AM


Try finding reliable facts then.

-Karzai was never a member of the 9/11 commission. In fact there were no non-US citizens on it.

-"Crime cartel"? Really.

-A Bin Laden relative may have been involved with Carlyle, but not the man himself. Hardly proof of conspiracy.

-Moreover Carlyle had a Canadian division, including such notables as former ambassadors and provincial premiers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlyle_Group

-Armaments was but one of its investments.

-With people like Paul Demarais of Power Corp involved, it is clear that the Cdn gov't was deeply involved in any of its dealings.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-07 11:13:00 AM


Bell, Colt, Boeing, etc all have Canadian branches and employ Canadians, and pay Canadian taxes. They are involved. Think about where the money for medicare comes from now.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-07 11:15:47 AM


Bell, Colt, Boeing, etc all have Canadian branches and employ Canadians, and pay Canadian taxes. They are involved.
Posted by: Zebulon Punk | 2009-06-07 11:15:47 AM

With the exception of a dual use software maintenance product from Boeing, Boeing and Bell Helicopter produce commercial only products in Canada. Were you born a moron or did you have to work at it?

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-06-07 11:37:30 AM


What part of "dual-use" don't you understand - it has both civilian AND military applications. That in no way negates any responsibility for selling weapons to belligerent countries. IF so much as a bolt or computer chip made in Canada goes into such a system, then your country is at war. Moreover none of the parties, especially those who claimed to be opposed to the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, appear willing to risk losing jobs associated with war production. You people are worse than war mongers - you have no moral responsibility at all for your actions.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-07 11:43:29 AM


Globalization is a good thing?

I'm too lazy to research this. Did we not supply napalm to the US army, while giving sanctuary to draft dodgers? Contradictions seem to be a big part of conflict.

Posted by: dp | 2009-06-07 11:51:20 AM


-A Bin Laden relative may have been involved with Carlyle, but not the man himself. Hardly proof of conspiracy.

-Moreover Carlyle had a Canadian division, including such notables as former ambassadors and provincial premiers.
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-07 11:15:47 AM

Ok, I stand corrected on the Commission and Karzai. And I should have said he was a consultant for UNOCAL.
Otherwise, what's your point? Once again, I suggested no theories. But its interesting that you go straight there, isn't it?

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-07 11:58:43 AM


PS..."A Bin Laden relative may have been involved with Carlyle"

Are you kidding?...the whole fu**ing Bin laden family is involved in Carlyle. Same goes for the Bush crime cartel.
No theory there, just a fact!

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-07 12:01:07 PM


Only one Bin Laden, Shafig bin Laden, had direct involvement. In fact on 9/11/01 he was at a Carlyle meeting in DC. Soon after, the family divested itself of its Carlyle holdings. Take that Michael Moore. Check page 14 of the PDF below.

http://www.carlyle.com/Media%20Room/Fact%20Sheet%20Files/item9959.pdf

I was trying to prove - rather successfully - that Canada has profited handsomely off the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars because of its war industries. This has been achieved with remarkably little protest within official circles, indeed with their abeyance. Even those outside gov't - like the "peace" movement - have done little. it would take rather invasive surgery to disengage Canadian politicians and its tax base from war profiteering because of the job losses it would incur. So much for this Trudeau and Pearson idea of an 'impartial arbiter.'

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-07 12:36:59 PM


I was trying to prove - rather successfully - that Canada has profited handsomely off the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars because of its war industries.
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-07 12:36:59 PM

Noted. And I "did" say that "everybody" in the arms biz profits from war. Seems to that end we are agreed.
I'll look at the Bin laden / Carlyle thing some more.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-07 1:02:25 PM


I heard a story from a veteran, years ago, about how the Red Cross made a habit of profiteering during WW2. Apparently, there's also a lot of money to be made selling donated food to starving people.

I'd feel less dirty profiting on gun sales, than I would profiting on humanitarian supplies. Maybe I'm confused, but that's how I feel.

Posted by: dp | 2009-06-07 1:21:53 PM


What part of "dual-use" don't you understand - it has both civilian AND military applications.
Posted by: Zebulon Punk | 2009-06-07 11:43:29 AM

Virtually any product can be classified as "dual-use". Neither Boeing Canada nor Bell Helicopters Canada produce any lethal military products in Canada. I'll ask you again. Were you born a moron or did you have to work at it?

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-06-07 2:48:04 PM


http://www.gd-otscanada.com/

This branch of General Dynamics - one of the world's largest military contractors - is based in Quebec. They produce various types of ammunition for western militaries, especially the US. Bullets are not dual use.

What about General Dynamics Land Systems in London, Ontario (gasp, Ontario)? They build LAV armored vehicles for the Canadian, US, and other militaries for use in - yup, you guessed it, Iraq and Afghanistan.

General Dynamics also makes computers for the M1 Abrams tank - is that dual-use? Hardly.

War mongers! Hand over your profits and turn yourselves in for war crimes. That includes Taliban Jack, Iggy, Dion and Chretien.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-07 3:01:35 PM


dp, whether its selling death or selling life, the whole thing plays on misery. And in "my" mind, it all starts with the UN. Which is why I go back to - bring our people home. They're merely pawns in someone else's political agenda and they're just too valuable for that.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-07 3:48:39 PM


"I wanted the American eagle to go screaming into the Pacific ...Why not spread its wings over the Philippines, I asked myself? ... I said to myself, Here are a people who have suffered for three centuries. We can make them as free as ourselves, give them a government and country of their own, put a miniature of the American Constitution afloat in the Pacific, start a brand new republic to take its place among the free nations of the world. It seemed to me a great task to which we had addressed ourselves. But I have thought some more, since then, and I have read carefully the treaty of Paris [which ended the Spanish-American War], and I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem. It should, it seems to me, be our pleasure and duty to make those people free, and let them deal with their own domestic questions in their own way. And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land."
Mark Twain

Posted by: JC | 2009-06-07 3:55:50 PM


What about General Dynamics Land Systems in London, Ontario (gasp, Ontario)?
Posted by: Zebulon Punk | 2009-06-07 3:01:35 PM

And what about them Punk? Your original assertion was Boeing and Bell. Which was wrong. Not only are you a moron, you're a clueless moron.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-06-07 3:57:00 PM


Bell makes the 412 Helicopter which is used by militaries around the world. Almost all are made by Bell Helicopters in Mirabel, Quebec. Hence they are war machines.

Boeing Canada makes aircraft components out of composite materials. Many of them are used in military aircraft and ordnance. Another group of war mongers.

http://www.boeing.ca/ViewContent.do?id=22063&aContent=Boeing%20in%20Canada

"Canada is also home to the second-largest international supplier base for Boeing, including more than 200 suppliers spanning every region of the country. Canadian partners provide commercial and defence aerospace parts for all Boeing commercial aircraft models and V-22 rotorcraft, aircraft trainers, FA-18s, and the C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlift. Combined with the Boeing facilities, this supply network makes a significant contribution to the Canadian economy by generating approximately $1 billion in business annually."

Case closed. Canada is a nation of war profiteers.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-07 5:04:56 PM


Case closed. Canada is a nation of war profiteers.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-07 5:04:56 PM

Right up there with the US, Britain and anyone else who has an arms factory.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-07 6:30:38 PM


Precisely, Original JC. In fact the three are tightly integrated. But tell that to the Liebral/NDP/Green Party and they'll give you the Pearson/Trudeau line about being peaceful. Horse hockey, as Sherman T. Potter would say.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-07 6:38:41 PM



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