Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Canadian PM Says Taliban Insurgents Can't Be Defeated

In an interview with Fareed Zakaria on CNN this past Sunday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan could not be defeated by foreign soldiers. "We're not ever going to defeat the insurgency," said Harper, "My reading of Afghanistan in history that it's probably had an insurgency forever of some kind." Suffice to say the opposition, especially the NDP, have had a couple of field days over this about face by Harper.
( http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/03/01/cnn-harper.html)

So why then keep any Canadian troops in Afghanistan in any kind of combat role at all if their mission is in vain? Why wait until July 2011 to withdraw? I can't think of a quicker way to demoralize military personnel than to tell him that they won't succeed.

Of course, it isn't that simple. The Obama Administration is upping troop levels in Afghanistan and could ask Canada to remain in Afghanistan beyond its present commitments. Harper would be in a difficult position to refuse Obama unless other NATO members came through which I would not count on. Assuming this is the case Harper (assuming he is still in office) will become enormously unpopular. But then again Obama would lose some of his lustre in Canada as well.
I am sure Harper's new public views on Afghanistan owe a great deal to President Obama's visit with him in Ottawa last month.

If Stephen Harper genuinely believes Canadian combat troops will not prevail in Kandahar he should withdraw them immediately.

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