the taliban

four more canadian soliders were killed today in afghanistan during a ground offensive that started in southern kandahar a day earlier. this brings the total dead to 31 since the afghan mission started in 2002. there are now renewed calls for canada to get out, with ndp leader jack layton saying "this is the wrong mission for canada. it's not balanced. it doesn't represent the equilibrium between humanitarian aid, reconstruction and comprehensive peace process that canadians would want to see."

well no shit, layton. do you want a gold star for that bit of insight? we're in a situation where the united states and the british, who still have forces in afghanistan, are primarily focused on iraq. should they have gone into iraq? no. but they did, leaving us to pick up the pieces. before any real reconstruction can begin, the taliban have to be uprooted, and defeated, and despite what the americans may like to think, that job was not finished, nor is it even close to being finished.

the ground offensive will continue, and there will be more bodies. i have said it before, and i will say it again; we have bought afghanistan. back in 2002, we were all gung-ho about going into afghanistan. after 9/11, the united states had the world on their side, and when they decided to go into afghanistan, we went, resulting in a distinct change from the previous decades of peacekeeping. sure, we dropped some bombs in kosovo, but we didn't have the large numbers of troops on the ground like we do now. we went in with the americans, into a war. reconstruction is part of the package with modern day warfare; you just don't bomb a country and leave it. not anymore. you stay behind and help rebuild.

well, we're trying to rebuild, to reconstruct, but the taliban have proven to be stubborn, and most of all, deadly. so comes the question: were we serious about taking on the taliban back in 2002? i like to think that we were; that canadians believed in it. and if we were serious, then we have to finish the job and give the afghan people a chance. if we leave now, the taliban will just steamroll the fragile afghanistan government. and then what? what was the point of the last four years?

obviously, it's easy for me to say this because i'm writing from my comfortable vancouver apartment. i don't have any kids, and i don't have a desire to pick up a gun. but we have to step back and look at our objectives and our responsibilities. we have to give it a fighting chance.

and yes, there have been a lot of successes, such as over 200 taliban soldiers being killed, 80 captured, with another 180 fleeing the area during this ground offensive. but forgive me if i don't celebrate the killing of other human beings, even if they are our "enemies." and i suppose there have been other success, such as women being allowed to go to school, and that is definitely something to celebrate.

i want this over as much as the next person, but in all honesty: we should have seen this coming. you just have to look back at history: afghanistan has been embroiled in one war or another, under the control of one war monger or another, for centuries. they kicked the british out at the height of their power, and they kicked the soviet union out in the 80's. chances are, we will fail, and looking back, we probably should not have gone in to begin with, but hind sight is 20/20. or a kick in the crotch, whichever you prefer. we have to give it a little longer. how long is a little longer? a year? two? three? i don't know. but there will come a time when it will feel like the right time to get out. i guess that will be when the next election comes around.

all i know, is that our troops will come out stronger, hit back harder. if the way we've fought in the past is any indication, our troops will be bouncing back in what appears to be one of the biggest battles since world war two. we have the best troops in the world, with the best training. having little to no budget for years has allowed our soldiers to adapt to virtually any environment quickly.

i also know that bleeding, on the international stage, buys you clout. we bled in both world wars, we've bled during peacekeeping, and we're bleeding again now. like it or not, the reality is that bleeding... dying... buys you clout with your allies. what this will translate to, i don't know. all in all, it's a bit of a vicious and vile thought, especially when every drop of blood that buys us clout with our allies, comes from a human being. can we turn this around into a positive? perhaps. i haven't lost hope on that at least. we've seen how the rest of the world sees us in such a positive light, even if that view of us may be a little fake.

at any rate, i've ranted long enough. here is a vid clip from the hour that they aired months ago, where they set up just how dangerous afghanistan is. i think i posted it before, but i'm doing it again, because it gives you a good sense of perspective on who we are fighting.

(source 1)
(source 2)