Sunday, March 8, 2009


I will say this about the war in Afghanistan; I understand that Canadian public opinion has been gradually turning against the conflict, as democracies tend to do in wartime. I believe our NATO allies should rotate into the most volatile region and give our troops some relief, but withdrawing completely before the war is won will have disastrous consequences in the long term. Allowing the inmates to takeover the asylum is folly. Having said that, so long as Pakistan ignores or aids the insurgency, while by all accounts Taliban/Al Qaeda are running command and control from northern Pakistan, we can't win. We must be allowed to strike at the beating heart of the insurgency. Which is where the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the ouster of Mushareff are so alarming. Most Pakistanis are moderates, but if the minority radicals are able to secure leadership of the Pakistani military, we're fucked.

Bhutto and her pro-Western ideologies included allowing NATO to run military operations in the volatile mountainous north of the country. Where I first turned on Mushareff was after watching his appearance on the Jon Stewart show, where he attempted to justify making peace with the Taliban as the best course of action. He played both sides, and adopted a strategy that would have made Neville Chamberlain proud. In the past year, Iraq has become less violent as Afghanistan has become more violent. To me, that suggests a migration of insurgents from one country to another. While on paper I support a de-escalation in Iraq in favour of an escalation in Afghanistan, as does Barack Obama, I remind you that a war in the Himalayan Mountains is remarkably more difficult to fight. If we do that without striking Taliban/Al Qaeda bases in northern Pakistan, we are going to follow the same path as the Soviets.

In our search for allies, I can name one that has already drawn up a plan to invade Pakistan, and that is India. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, as the Arab proverb goes. Trust me, those militant attacks in Mumbai have only strengthened their resolve. We are all afraid because Pakistan has nuclear weapons, but trust me, if the wrong people gain control of those weapons, India will be asking us for help, not the other way around. Adding insult to injury, the current Pakistani government is making further treaties with the Taliban. They are either ignorant of history, or acting out of fear.

I recently listened to a Pakistani spokesman speaking on the BBC about NATO sending Predator drones on missions over the Pakistani border. He said "they do not understand that they are just breeding hatred". I would remind him that prior to the attacks of 9/11, the embassy bombings by Al Qaeda in Africa, the attack on the USS Cole, and so on and so forth, the American military weren't sending unmanned aircraft on bombing runs in Pashtunistan. Yet none the less, the hatred was already there and boiling over the surface. Bomb their command and control targets and they will hate you, or do not bomb their military operations and they are still going to hate you? Seems to me like a simple choice...

"An appeaser is a man who feeds a Crocodile, hoping it will eat him last"

-Winston Churchill

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