Tuesday, January 05, 2010

They might as well praise the Taliban

Their strategic and tactical theory, I mean.

Reading the responses of a few Conservative supporters to the 2nd Prorogue (look them up at their blogs and comments on news articles), there are a few references to the apparent tactical brilliance of the current Prime Minister. By that standard then, they should also laud the Taliban because the Harpercons have taken a page from their book.

Guerrilla insurgencies like the Taliban use existing social, political, and economic landscapes to wage war on their foe. Their opponents are often strong bureaucratic entities such as states and state governments, that follow traditional rule-bound procedures and norms for the conducting their business. They do not follow conventional patterns of war, preferring instead to delegitimise their opponents by working within the system to subvert it, and from without to directly attack the legitimacy of bureaucratic infrastructure by rendering it useless in the face of their attacks. Their goal is to eventually gain enough leverage or support to seize power and impose a state apparatus that privileges only those with similar views, and forces conformity on the rest. Liberal ideals of tolerance and diversity are rejected, and a monocultural (including religious) goal is pursued. Granted the Taliban use weapons to wage their campaign; however, the means of fighting is a matter of local context and vernacular. In Canada, in the context of government, the Harpercons operate from the same theory.

The Taliban set bombs in cars and under roads that attack NATO vehicles and personal. The stage short-term fire-fights with NATO troops in order to harras and delegitimise their presence and mission in the country. The more the Taliban is able to attack, the less NATO is able to claim it has control and order of Afghanistan, and the less credible and legitimate the West's mission becomes in the eyes of both Afghans and Westerners. Conservatives make much hay about the fact the Taliban does not adhere to the Geneva Conventions in its operations, which are the rules of war to which NATO is at least objectively bound, and often call them cowards because they do not stand to and face NATO firepower.

Stephen Harper's tactical arsenal is that of an insurgent, albeit translated into the realm of Canadian parliamentary democracy. No norm or institution, formal or informal is sacred to this man and his party. His party members shut down, obfuscate, and interfere with the functioning of their government. The Taliban shuts down, obfuscates, and interferes with the functioning of the Afghan government and its NATO protectors. The Taliban hides among the population and use members of it as shields. Stephen Harper the Conservatives hide behind Canadian troops fighting the Taliban when serious questions are asked of the government about its conduct of the war. When the parliamentary questions get to hot, instead of stepping up and facing the music like an honourable and mature adults, Stephen Harper shuts down Parliament, ending discussion. When the fighting gets too heavy for the Taliban, they run away and hide. The more the Harper government does this, and the more the Opposition, like the mishmash of NATO countries, fail to devote time, resources and strategy to beating the Taliban, the stronger the enemy becomes and the less effective are NATO countries.

So when the Conservative fanclub points to Harper's apparent political brilliance at thwarting the Opposition and functioning of parliament, ask them if they also feel the same way about the Taliban's inability to man-up to the fight. Ask them if they too praise the insurgent's tactical acumen.When they scream "Taliban Jack" or call anyone-but-a-Conservative-war-supporter a Taliban sympathiser, mention that actions speak louder than words, and the prime minister is behaving like a Taliban coward in running away from our Parliament.

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