Canada Pulling Out of Afghanistan?

Here is an excerpt from The Montreal Gazette Editorial section:
Harper, on his Latin American swing this week, pointedly referred to it: "What I see is a growing concern of Canadians, and of the burden we are carrying and the level of Canadian casualties."

He added: "I understand the pain and I understand the difficulties that this causes the Canadian population, and that's the real controversy."

In other words, he is feeling the political heat. A Strategic Counsel poll yesterday shows the Tories sliding into a dead heat with the Liberals at 31 per cent, and falling to a distant third place behind the Bloc Quebecois and Liberals in Quebec, where the Afghan mission is highly unpopular. The deployment of 2,000 Quebec troops in the middle of the summer will only call more attention to the mission.

Harper is now clearly saying while Canada will fulfill its commitment to February 2009, the government will not extend the mission in Kandahar without the support of other parties in the House.

Since the Liberals are calling for an end to the mission in 2009, and the NDP oppose it altogether, that's simply not going to happen.

In essence, although Harper hasn't said so, he is giving notice to NATO that Canada wants to be relieved in Kandahar in 2009.

bush has fucked himself everywhere. Nobody wants anything to do with his war games anymore because bush doesn't have a clue how AND WHEN wars should be fought. Both Afghanistan and Iraq's rapidly deteriorating situations have proven that.

But now, along with the endless occupation in Iraq, the US Military will have the extra task of picking up the slack in Afghanistan if Canada starts to pull out. All total that would be another 2500 troops that would have to be sent to Afghanistan if the Canadians pulled out.

Meanwhile, in Iraq news:
Before withdrawing its 480 combat troops from Iraq next month, Denmark is pulling out about a dozen Iraqi interpreters and their families.

The translators have worked with the Danes in the southern city of Basra, a risky job that has turned them into traitors in the eyes of militants fighting the U.S.-led coalition. The government decided in June to offer all the interpreters working for Danish forces a chance to seek asylum.

The United States and Britain have been reluctant to accept large numbers of Iraqi asylum-seekers - including those who worked for their military or civilian operations. The Danish move came only after months of heated debate.

Any help from the Brits on this problem of the Coalition of the Thinning?
The head of the Army has issued a dire warning that Britain has almost run out of troops to defend the country or fight abroad, a secret document obtained by the Daily Telegraph has revealed.

Gen Sir Richard Dannatt has told senior commanders that reinforcements for emergencies or for operations in Iraq or Afghanistan are "now almost non-existent".

In the memorandum to fellow defence leaders, the Chief of the General Staff (CGS) confessed that "we now have almost no capability to react to the unexpected". The "undermanned" Army now has all its units committed to either training for war in Iraq and Afghanistan, on leave or on operations.
Things are sucking everywhere you look if you are an American soldier.


sharon said...

The LA Times reports that Russ Feingold will introduce censure resolutions against both Bus & Cheney. It's a start:


sptmck said...

On another note, you may want to check out this week's The Nation--a GREAT feature on our soldiers and how Bush's war has taking its toll on them.

BillyWarhol said...


spotted this bit of good News today*

NATO has saved the lives of 40,000 Afghan Kids*

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Canada’s outgoing military commander in Afghanistan says Canadian and NATO efforts there have helped save the lives of 40,000 children.

And Brig.-Gen. Tim Grant says that’s a “conservative estimate.”

In an interview with The Canadian Press at the multinational base in Kandahar, Grant said he’s handing his successor, Brig.-Gen. Guy Laroche, a country more “confident” than it was a year ago.

“There’s 40,000 babies in Afghanistan more this year than... last year,” said Grant, whose return to Canada is days away. “That’s a big number.”

He attributes the success to improvements in health care, which has led to a drop in the region’s infant mortality rate.

Grant says the international community helped put a vaccination program in place and increased access to doctors, particularly for women.

'A successful little town'

Meanwhile, even as Taliban activity remains prevalent in Kandahar province, the level of confidence has surged among the city’s inhabitants, he said.

“The town was empty,” Grant said of Kandahar 12 months ago. “Now you go there, (it’s) like Kandahar City is a successful little town.

“The shops are open, kids going to school, people have gone back to a normal life. We see farmers have returned in large numbers, thousands of people have gone back to live in their homes.”

He also said villagers in the Panjwaii district, west of Kandahar City, who fled last year after fierce fighting broke out between insurgents and NATO forces, have returned.

“The streets are full, people are going about their daily lives,” Grant said. “Yes there are risks, but people have a sense that the situation is manageable, much better than last year, and its getting better.”

Risk still high for NATO soldiers

Still, Grant’s optimism is relative, as Afghanistan remains poverty-stricken and the prey of an insurgency.

At regular intervals, convoys of Canadian soldiers are the target of suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices.

Earlier this week, Grant himself narrowly escaped an attack.

“We do absolutely everything we can to reduce the risks for our soldiers,” he said. “There will always be a risk here.

“Soldiers understand that though. Every soldier who is over here realizes that there is a risk with the lifestyle they have chosen.”

For Grant, the real break for soldiers will come when Afghans can count on a competent and effective police force of their own.

“The police have to improve to the point where the people have an increased level of confidence in their ability to protect them and not take advantage of them,” he said.

“How long it will take? We’re talking years in my mind — two years or 10 years, it’s hard to tell. A lot will depend on how much attention we’ll turn to the problem.

“In this province (Kandahar), as Canadians, we are shifting our effort to turn resources toward making the police better. We understand clearly they are the last piece of the security puzzle.”

Beach Bum said...

Saw Congressman and presidential candidate Duncan Hunter on Chris Matthew's show tonight talk really happy shit about how he feels the American people are not yet ready to give up in Iraq. I know its a dead horse I'm still beating but I'm still waiting for the rush of young patriotic Chickenhawks to rush to the recruiting office.

Beach Bum said...

Finally found one of my old army pictures, took a great deal of searching. Boy, was I young and ugly. Don't know how long I'll keep it posted.

Connecticut Man1 said...

Beach Bum: I don't keep mine up too long... I'll rotate the pic out with another soon and bring it back every once in a while.

Billy Warhol: “The shops are open, kids going to school, people have gone back to a normal life. We see farmers have returned in large numbers, thousands of people have gone back to live in their homes.”

Normal life? Is Grant referring to the increase in poppy farming to the point where they are producing more than they were pre-war? Also, Kandahar is one of the deadliest parts of Afghanistan at this point... I guess I should cut Grant some slack since he is not a bush appointed crony, but I still question that upbeat outlook.