Saturday, May 03, 2008

Why are we in Afghanistan?

Why are our loyal soldiers dying in Afghanistan?

Someone ought to ask the question.

I don't know about you, but I was fed some story about "reconstructing" the country, repairing the infrastructure, instilling human rights (especially women's rights), protecting the populace from all those evil, drug-smuggling, woman-abusing warlords. We were hunting down "terrorists", the very same group of people - we were told - who were supporting Osama bin Laden and his crew.

Isn't that why the Canadian military is in there, killing and dying? Isn't that why we are all risking terrorist reprisals here in Canada?

Well, the first problem is that our military spending in Afghanistan is vastly outstripping our "reconstruction" spending. So we know we're destroying rather more than we're building right from the outset.

On the one hand, Canada's reconstruction agency (CIDA) tells us that six million children are now enrolled in school. That sounds like progress, doesn't it? Compared to the 700 000 that were enrolled seven years ago? But this report comes from Afghanistan's Ministry of Education.

However, it has been revealed that, in many cases the police forces in Afghanistan are full of "ghosts", officers who do not exist and whose salaries go in to the hands of local warlords. That being the case, why should we believe the education enrollment figures of the Afghan government?

Is that what we're doing over there? Feeding money to warlords?

Sadly, yes. We're helping one group of drug-smuggling, women-beating warlords triumph over another. There is no reason to believe anything that comes out of this corrupt government. Not the education figures, not the military figures, not the drug-production figures. None of it is trustworthy.

And where does that leave us?

Where does that leave our soldiers?

People are dying. They should at least know why. They offered their lives for our protection. We owe them as much.

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