Saturday, September 06, 2008

Vote Con or the Taliban wins

Responding to an amazingly leading question as to "whether he thought the Taliban would target Canada's military in an attempt to influence the election outcome", Peter MacKay takes the bait :
"I sure hope not," he said. "All I can tell you is the challenge is there, it's real. We've seen the tactics of the Taliban. ... Their tactics know no bounds, know no rules of engagement."

He said the government is aware the Taliban is not just “living in caves and attacking soldiers” and is informed about what is happening in Canada and other parts of the world through the Internet, which also helps them wage their own propaganda war.
"We're mindful of that, we're not deterred by the intimidation and we're going to continue our important work there to the benefit of the Afghan people," he said."

Apparently it's vote Con or the Taliban wins.

Pete then went on to say he doesn't give a rat's ass what Canadians think when asked about "a recent poll that suggested 61 per cent of Canadians believe the cost in lives and money is too high."

Nor does he much care for the opinions of the Afghans apparently.

AP : "A strong sense of frustration echoed through dozens of interviews by The Associated Press with Afghan villagers, police, government officials, tribal elders and Taliban who left and rejoined the religious movement. The interviews ranged from the capital, Kabul, to the rural regions near the border with Pakistan.
The overwhelming result: Ordinary Afghans are deeply bitter about American and NATO forces because of errant bombs, heavy-handed searches and seizures and a sense that the foreigners do not understand their culture. They are equally fed up with what they see as seven years of corruption and incompetence in a U.S.-backed government that has largely failed to deliver on development.
Even with more foreign troops, Afghanistan is now less secure.
"It certainly is a mess. Security is the worst that it has been for years. Corruption is out of control. It impacts every single Afghan," says Doug Wankel, a burly 62-year-old American who coordinated Washington's anti-drug policy in Afghanistan from 2004 until 2007 and is now back as a security consultant. "What people have to understand is that what ordinary Afghans think really does matter."

Not to our Pete.

Halifax Chronicle Herald : "It does come at a huge sacrifice," Mr. MacKay said. "The human cost is enormous but the benefits that flow to our country, certainly to Afghanistan and to our allies, are huge."


AP : "It is now so dangerous outside the capital that Afghans are afraid to travel hundreds of miles of newly-paved roads, and most international aid groups have forbidden their staff to do so altogether. Truck drivers who have no choice often say thieves and thieving police are a bigger worry than the Taliban.

An air strike in Herat province about two weeks ago killed dozens of people. A U.S. investigation concluded that most were Taliban, but the Afghan government and the United Nations say up to 90 civilians died, including children

"There is a contradiction between wanting to minimize Afghan civilian casualties and minimizing U.S. military casualties," says Robert Oakley, a former U.S. ambassador and National Security Council staff member. "For the former, we should go on the ground. For the latter, go in from the air."

AFP : Major General Jeffrey Schloesser, who commands US and international forces in eastern Afghanistan, said Friday he needs more troops to counter growing insurgent violence in Afghanistan.

"The number of insurgent attacks has grown by 20 to 30 percent in the first eight months of this year in the eastern sector along the border with Pakistan, compared to the same period last year, he said. Roadside bombs are up 30 percent over last year, while attacks on such "symbols of governance" as district centers are 40 percent higher this year than last."

Peter MacKay made his remarks at a military trade show.

Cross-posted at Creekside

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