Toronto Star op-ed on Prime minister and the afghan prisoners

Thursday’s blog piece “the prime minister, the taliban and human rights” was published in the Toronto Star today as an op-ed. You can catch the Star’s version here.

My fear is that this piece will never attract any conservative readers (not because it is in the Toronto Star, but because it is critical of Harper). The fact is, this is an important issue. Ensuring our PoW’s are treated in accordance with the Geneva Convnetion is an essential tactical and strategic tool for our soldiers in Afghanistan. Ethics and values aside, it would be a mistake to discard even on purely military grounds, especially to simply win some small political points at home.

However unlikely the possibility, if the PMO reads this piece I’d understand why they might get angry. That said, I hope it doesn’t prevent them from taking its underlying advice to heart. This is not a partisan issue, this is a “how do we achieve success and protect our soliders in Afghanistan” issue.

(Updated 10:38AM PST) Want to say thank you to the numerous friendly emails. Also my friend Taylor Owen sent me this fantastic piece, which highlights how the current British PoW crisis in Iran feeds off this problem as well…

2 thoughts on “Toronto Star op-ed on Prime minister and the afghan prisoners

  1. Afghaniblog

    There is a good article here – read the author profile

    http://afghaniblog.livejournal.com/68715.html

    When Helmand villagers see soldiers from countries thousands of miles away carrying guns and claiming to be only building schools, they don’t believe them.

    I have noticed that many Afghans now simply assume we are engaged in a grand conspiracy. Nothing else in their minds can explain the surreal gap between our language and performance.

    Many of the people we are fighting have no fixed political manifesto. Almost none have links to Al Qaeda or an interest in attacking U.S. soil.

    Afghans are bored with foreign consultants and conferences and are saying, “Bring back the Russians: At least they built dams and roads.”

    In Kabul, the garbage is still 7 feet deep and buildings are collapsing

    KEY POINTS
    1) We should remember that we came first to protect ourselves against terrorist attack.
    2) Not to lose the support of the disillusioned population in the central & western areas
    3) Think more clearly about how to improve Afghan lives through development projects.

    Dutch forces in the province of Uruzgan have found that, when left alone, the Taliban alienate communities by living parasitically, lecturing puritanically and failing to deliver.

    My experience in Afghanistan has led me to believe that the original strategy of limiting our role was correct.

    Reply
  2. Afghaniblog

    There is a good article here – read the author profilehttp://afghaniblog.livejournal.com/68715.htmlWhen Helmand villagers see soldiers from countries thousands of miles away carrying guns and claiming to be only building schools, they don’t believe them. I have noticed that many Afghans now simply assume we are engaged in a grand conspiracy. Nothing else in their minds can explain the surreal gap between our language and performance. Many of the people we are fighting have no fixed political manifesto. Almost none have links to Al Qaeda or an interest in attacking U.S. soil. Afghans are bored with foreign consultants and conferences and are saying, “Bring back the Russians: At least they built dams and roads.” In Kabul, the garbage is still 7 feet deep and buildings are collapsing KEY POINTS1) We should remember that we came first to protect ourselves against terrorist attack.2) Not to lose the support of the disillusioned population in the central & western areas3) Think more clearly about how to improve Afghan lives through development projects. Dutch forces in the province of Uruzgan have found that, when left alone, the Taliban alienate communities by living parasitically, lecturing puritanically and failing to deliver. My experience in Afghanistan has led me to believe that the original strategy of limiting our role was correct.

    Reply

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