Thursday, December 3, 2009

Harper Playing Dangerous Games in Afghanistan. It's Time to Get Out.

I'm afraid like many Canadians I had become an armchair warrior. I fed into the rhetoric that we were on a noble mission. We were fighting for the people of Afghanistan so that children could go to school and women could be free.

But all of that came crashing down, when I learned that we were in fact engaging in war crimes by being complicit in torture. And discovering that our inaction on this may have put our soldiers at even greater risk, just makes me even angrier.

As a result, I have decided to learn everything I can about this so-called "mission", and the more I learn the more convinced I am that we need to pull out NOW!

The above video is part two in a series by filmmaker Robert Greenwald, entitled Rethink Afghanistan. In it he discusses the situation with Pakistan and what is really going on there.

We hear all too often about how insurgents are crossing at the border, but if you look at the video, there is no border; at least not one recognized by the people living there. And according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; "The mere presence of foreign soldiers fighting a war in Afghanistan is probably the single most important factor in the resurgence of the Taliban."

This fits with what Human Rights activist and former Afghan member of parliament, Malalai Joya, has been trying to tell us. Her country will never be stable until the foreign invaders leave.

But what is of utmost importance now is stabilizing Pakistan. The country feels threatened by India and the fact that both have nuclear weapons and there is an apparent arms race between the two nations, is very troubling. However, if Pakistan feels that Afghanistan is also a threat, and that westerners are siding with their enemies, this could be a recipe for disaster.

It also sheds a new light on Harper's recent visit to India. He wouldn't allow reporters to ask him any questions while there, and it created quite a disturbance in the country. But it also worried Pakistan yet again, because he didn't take even a moment to visit that country's leaders, and instead signed a nuclear deal with their enemy.

How will this affect the safety of Canadian soldiers, who already have a bad reputation with the Afghan people? Are we now an even bigger target? And what about here at home? Is our safety assured if Harper continues on this dangerous path?

Another thing that continues to haunt me are our PM's words when speaking to the extreme right 'Civitas Club'. He told them that he couldn't simply rely on the the support of the neo-cons, but must tap into the theo-cons for money and votes. He continued that this might mean putting a little muscle into our foreign policy.

Sadly, the ultimate goal for these people is the annihilation of the middle east so they can feel the rapture. Groups like Christians United for Israel and the Council for National Policy are feeding into the hype, and for Harper he just loves the power. Canadians are on the bottom of his list of priorities.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper alienates Pakistan
November 19, 2009
Canada International Affairs Examiner
Zeb Qureshi

Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not take full advantage of his visit to the Indian subcontinent.

With a fruitful visit to India that revolved around nuclear cooperation, discussions of increased trade and awkward Bollywood moments (another in an ongoing effort to brand Harper as anything other than a robot and win the Indo-Canadian vote through planned photo-ops), Harper missed a crucial chance to build links with India's neighbour to the west.

War-ridden Pakistan, a state that has suffered from more terror attacks than any country in the western world, deserved at least some mention and support from Canada.

With both countries embroiled in an unending conflict around Afghanistan, Pakistan's success or failure fighting the Taliban on its side of the border will have direct implications on Canada's war effort. Would it not have been prudent for the government to have spent even a couple of hours in Islamabad to discuss new strategies or build renewed support?

Canada's decision to ignore India's historical rival does not echo smart politics.

It is also notable that Harper paid visits to the world's largest Hindu temple in New Delhi and the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar, yet did not acknowledge India's large Muslim minority - the third largest Muslim contingent in the world.

In a climate where dialogue with Muslim states and Muslims is so important, Harper missed the boat in the Indian subcontinent.

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