moral obligations

there has been much debate since jack layton, leader of the ndp, called for a pullout of canadian troops from afghanistan, saying "this is the wrong mission for canada."

in the wake of those comments and in the wake of five canadian deaths in two days, bloc québécois leader gilles duceppe has called for an emergency session before prime minister stephen harper presents canada's foreign policy to the united nations on sept. 20. this all, it should be noted, was shot down by foreign affairs minister peter mackay, who said that the necessary debate over canada's presence in afghanistan took place in may, when a two-year extension for the mission was narrowly approved.

now i am all for debates, that's for sure, but the question shouldn't be whether this is the right mission for canada, or whether we should even be in there in the first place, or whether we should cut our losses and run. the truth is, we violated afghanistan's sovereignty by going in and killing taliban troops. simple as that. we helped in this war. and as i have said many times before - almost to the point of redundancy - we have bought afghanistan's problems, and we have a moral obligation to stay and fix things.

the real debate should be for how we are going to solve this problem. it should be to discuss how we can reduce canada's casualty rate, while getting at the taliban and finally bringing some order and restoration to the people of afghanistan. one way to do this would be to reduce the amount of heavy lifting canadians and coalition forces do by improving the afghan military. abdul rahim wardak, afghan's defence minister, has said in the past that they would need to expand the afghan military to about 150,000 to 200,000 well trained and well equiped troops. he has said that the amount of money some coalition nations spend on one of their own soldiers in the field could fund 50 to 100 new Afghan troops. and if afghanistan's forces can be beefed up to those number, then maybe for once they can do more of the fighting and then coalition forces down't have to be gathered in such great number. and by increasing the army, we can help employ more people who are currently having to join various militant groups or get into the drug trade to earn money due to afghanistan's starved economy.

we should also look at new strategies, more aggressive ones instead of sitting and waiting to be taken out. all we've ever done since the initial overthrow of the taliban, is to wait and react to whatever comes at us. it's about time we went on the offensive, like the current push against the taliban, but it would be preferred if we did less of the front line fighting. the only way this will happen is if a) the united states cleans up iraq and returns some troops to afghanistan, which is just never going to happen. you might as wish to santa claus for world peace. or b) afghan forces are built up to the point where they can start providing for their own security. we've seen the giant mistake it was in iraq to disband the army and the police there. let's not make that mistake a second time around.

ultimately we have three goals to acomplish: 1) reduce canadian casualties. 2) provide security to the people of afghanistan. 3) make sure afghanitan doesn't turn into a terrorist state. we don't want to have to return ten, twenty, fifty years from now. the first two are possible. the latter, hopefully will come about due to our efforts on the former.

(source 1) (source 2) (source 3)