Friday, February 08, 2008

Abandoned! Abandoned, I say!

Oh goody. The Conservatives have tabled their motion to protect the women, puppies, and rainbows of Afghanistan from perfidious, uh, voters, who might want to stop seeing Canadian soldiers come home in body bags ad infinitum. This part, I love:
the House does not believe that Canada should simply abandon the people of Afghanistan after February 2009.
Canada is contribution roughly 2,500 soldiers out of roughly 40,000 in all of ISAF. To put it another way, Canada makes up:

2500/40000 * 100 = 6.25%

of ISAF's current force level. So, even if we just pack up and go home, NATO will be left with... 93.75% of its current force levels.

"Abandoned". Yup, we'd sure be leaving them in the lurch, we would.

Two things to draw here: One, and yes I'll keep writing it until Jim Travers does, we aren't that fucking important. Canada's contribution to ISAF is so minimal, compared to the numbers needed, that we could disappear entirely and the Americans and British would only notice because Christie Blatchford wouldn't be around as much. The only conceivable reason that Canadians think we matter is because other NATO countries are contributing even less. But think -- if our allies refuse to contribute to a war of occupation in Asia, what does that say about the war?

Two, if the disappearance of 5-6% of your combat force is the dividing line between victory and defeat, absent heroic measures you've already lost. And "doing exactly the same thing in exactly the same place" doesn't count as a heroic measure, people. To use an example, Iraq didn't become a shithole because the Spanish, the Poles, the Koreans, or anyone else in the coalition of the marginal departed. It was a shithole from the beginning, and there was never any other likely outcome.

So, if Canada's departure means that the Taliban will win, then Canada's persistence can only mean that the Taliban will still win, but they and we will kill a lot more people in the process.

1 comment:

Chet Scoville said...

Sadly, I'm not sure the Conservatives are actually convinced that they can in fact win; they just don't want to be the ones who declare the mission over.

In my more cynical moments, I think that the main use of the war, as far as they're concerned, is that it's a useful political tool back home. Then I shake my head and go, "Nahhhh." But then again....