Afghanistan: Tears are not enough, but neither are troops

Taylor Owen and Patrick Travers had a nice op-ed published in Saturday’s Toronto Star. Entitled, “2011 is a date, not a goal” it drives to the heart of the debate we aren’t having on Afghanistan.

It increasingly feels that in referencing the “Afghan Mission” the “mission” part has been lost somewhere. It is as though simply being in Afghanistan has become an end in of itself. This should not the case. We have a mission there, one that it would be nice if the government articulated from time to time and that it would talk to the public about whether or not we were getting closer or further away from achieving it.

6 thoughts on “Afghanistan: Tears are not enough, but neither are troops

  1. Mound of Sound

    Didn’t you get the memo? We don’t have a “mission” in Afghanistan any more. That was just a joke. Surely you knew that. Didn’t you? Really?

    You see what happened at the Bucharest summit was a decision not to renew our lease on Afghanistan’s civil war after 2011. After that it’s their civil war again.

    Now don’t go getting all mushy on us about the women and the child bride/slaves and democracy and all that other stuff. That was all just talk and it’s now officially off the table.

    Reply
  2. Mound of Sound

    Didn’t you get the memo? We don’t have a “mission” in Afghanistan any more. That was just a joke. Surely you knew that. Didn’t you? Really?You see what happened at the Bucharest summit was a decision not to renew our lease on Afghanistan’s civil war after 2011. After that it’s their civil war again.Now don’t go getting all mushy on us about the women and the child bride/slaves and democracy and all that other stuff. That was all just talk and it’s now officially off the table.

    Reply
  3. David Eaves Post author

    Mound of Sound, thank you for the comment. Women, child brides, slaves and democracy are an important dimension to this mission. But I’m most concerned (or in your terms “mushy”) about training camps, bombs on commuter trains and passenger planes flying into to 100 story buildings. Preventing internationally destabilizing events like those, or more specifically, like this one, is in Canada’s national interests. It is just no longer clear – as per Owen’s and Travers’ piece – that this is still the mission’s objective.

    Reply
  4. David Eaves

    Mound of Sound, thank you for the comment. Women, child brides, slaves and democracy are an important dimension to this mission. But I’m most concerned (or in your terms “mushy”) about training camps, bombs on commuter trains and passenger planes flying into to 100 story buildings. Preventing internationally destabilizing events like those, or more specifically, like this one, is in Canada’s national interests. It is just no longer clear – as per Owen’s and Travers’ piece – that this is still the mission’s objective.

    Reply
  5. Mound of Sound

    David, we wrote the prescription for our failure at the beginning of this farce when we refused to recognize that Afghan warlordism was the fatal flaw in the post-Taliban Afghanistan.

    You can’t achieve the sort of progress we were promised by supporting fundamentalist feudalism and that’s exactly what we’ve done. There was a reason one of the first laws passed by the Kabul parliament was to grant themselves amnesty for their own, widespread atrocities.

    If you can get your hands on it, you should read the Chatham House (Royal Institute) report on Afghanistan and the analysis of the “nexus” that connects the Karzai government, the warlords, the drug barons and the insurgency. We simply ignore that and wonder why we can’t win.

    You may find this distressing David but “the mission” is and always was one dark farce. We’re fighting a resurgent Taliban and trying to bolster a new government and build infrastructure and, supposedly, an economy with a fraction of the force we deployed in Bosnia for God’s sake. This, David, is in all respects a joke.

    Reply
  6. Mound of Sound

    David, we wrote the prescription for our failure at the beginning of this farce when we refused to recognize that Afghan warlordism was the fatal flaw in the post-Taliban Afghanistan.You can’t achieve the sort of progress we were promised by supporting fundamentalist feudalism and that’s exactly what we’ve done. There was a reason one of the first laws passed by the Kabul parliament was to grant themselves amnesty for their own, widespread atrocities.If you can get your hands on it, you should read the Chatham House (Royal Institute) report on Afghanistan and the analysis of the “nexus” that connects the Karzai government, the warlords, the drug barons and the insurgency. We simply ignore that and wonder why we can’t win.You may find this distressing David but “the mission” is and always was one dark farce. We’re fighting a resurgent Taliban and trying to bolster a new government and build infrastructure and, supposedly, an economy with a fraction of the force we deployed in Bosnia for God’s sake. This, David, is in all respects a joke.

    Reply

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