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MacKay: If we don’t stay in Afghanistan, the bad guys will come and get us.

It appears that since Peter MacKay and the Conservative government has failed with any of its conventional arguments to persuade Canadians about how staying in Afghanistan after 2009 is a good thing, they’re going to try a new tactic – fear:

Peter MacKay ….suggesting the Taliban threat would follow Canadians home if Ottawa left Afghanistan before its mission was complete…”If the job is not done in Afghanistan, if countries like Canada leave, the Taliban can follow them,” MacKay told Canadian reporters here.

Does that threat look familiar to you? Well, it should. It’s an arguing tactic long used by the Republicans and Bush:

….it parrots a long-time mantra of U.S. President George W. Bush who has repeatedly argued that Al Qaeda insurgents in Baghdad would follow American troops home from Iraq if the U.S. precipitously withdrew from that war.

So, it appears MacKay and the Conservatives are reduced to having to fearmonger, using their American Idol’s tactics. This particular line of argument/ threat that Bush uses has started to wear thin down south, and I don’t expect it to start working up here either.

11 comments to MacKay: If we don’t stay in Afghanistan, the bad guys will come and get us.

  • Timothy Webster

    Some may say they don’t see much difference between the substance of MacKay’s comments and that of Graham’s in 2005. Of course after you ignore his silly reference to the Nazi’s which pretty much invalidates everything that comes out of his mouth. Godwin’s Law of ultimate of useless fear based comparisons. Sorry I couldn’t resist, but as soon as someone makes the obligatory Nazi reference they get routed to /dev/null.

    The words may be similar but the actions are different. And actions speak loader than words. Up until January 2006 Glyn Berry served as Political Director for the Department of Foreign Affairs (Canada) to the Provincial Reconstruction Team. And through him Canada had an expert on the ground working towards the long term peace keeping objective of establishing ‘good governance’. Unfortunately he was lost at the end of the federal Liberal’s time as elected party.

    Unfortunately guys things have changed. It is not Harper’s fault. But he is at fault for not reinstating the objective of ‘good governance’ as primary to the mission. Actions speak loader than words.

  • Timothy Webster

    I do not believe Harper can bring good governance to Afghanistan. Why? Based on his track record in Canada. Everybody can see what Harper is doing in Canada. He has taken steps to reduce the independence of the judiciary. And is seems apparent why with his handling of the Wheat Board and now Elections Canada. An independent judiciary is a tool to prevent corruption. I believe this is one reason why many people do not want to give Harper a mandate to stay in Afghanistan. This is partly why people are so split on what to do. They realize we need to be in Afghanistan, but under Harper's leadership we will only make things worse so we need to get out. To date we have failed to reduce corruption in Afghanistan. In fact corruption is worse than before

    I kind of wonder if Peter MacKay understands our own guide lines for peace keeping. If peace keeping only includes stabilization and protection then all hell will break lose as soon as the stabilization force leaves. Simply because the failed state which became a threat to stability is still a failed state. This is Canada's own guides for peace keeping.

    When a state 'fails' and becomes a threat to the stability of its neighbours, the Canadian government may choose to intervene. Any such intervention will have diverse goals – to be accomplished within differing time – frames:

    • Short – term operations will focus on stabilization and protection of civilians.

    • Medium – term: projects will include rebuilding basic infrastructure – water, sewage, and transportation.

    • Long – term goals involve the establishment of 'good governance', trustworthy security forces, and an independent judiciary.

    These there objectives do not occur sequential, but simultaneously where the long term and final goal takes longer to complete. Good governance requires fighting corruption and sources of corruption.

    If 'good governance' is not achieved the state will fail again and become a threat to the stability of its neighbours. The world is a small place and we are all neighbours. The problem is not enough is being done to fight corruption and bring about 'good governance'. Our military is addressing the short term objective of stabilization and protection, however little is being done to address the equally important medium term and long term objectives. CIDA has failed at its task of development and aid distribution, because it has not address corruption in the failed state. In fact as CIDA tries to deliver aid and fund development things will only get worse until corruption is firmly dealt with.

    The CIDA is not able to function without an independent anti-corruption section cooperating with and training the Afghan civil service, much like the Canadian Forces are cooperating with and training the Afghan police and military. At this time anti-corruption operations and training need to be its most significant role. President Hamid Karzai needs Canada's help in fighting corruption and has asked for our help “international partners must (also) do their job," to defeat corruption, but noted: "That has not been there, despite our asking for it." Our Senate has also been highly critical of our lack of corruption fighting in Afghanistan. The Karzai government should be pressed to develop a "comprehensive, transparent and effective plan" to reduce corruption as a condition of Canada's long-term commitment. Removing corruption in Afghanistan is not a pipe dream any more than removing corruption in Hong Kong was before the ICAC. The ICAC in Hong Kong and else where are good examples to base anti-corruption operations and training of the Afghan civil service.

    The Canadian Forces are training the Afghan police which will vastly reduce corruption within the Afghan police force, but that is not enough. Drug money and usage is a huge source of corruption which needs to be addressed. Also equitable land ownership is required. Clear and equitable land ownership will also aid in fighting the drug problem. Not to mention bribes and corruption of the civil service.

    What “MacKay: If we don’t stay in Afghanistan, the bad guys will come and get us.” is in effect saying is we are TOTALLY failing at our required objective of helping this failed state. The whole point of being there. Why is that?

    Have we totally failed or not succeeded yet? We are failing because Harper would rather hid corruption than fight corruption. And we will keep failing and only make matters worse until corruption is exposed so that it can be fought.

  • Peter Mackay employing Bush's bankrupt rhetoric makes Dion's speech in Montreal last night all the more relevant  Dion wants us to get our of ideological tent swathing Harper and Bush and stand on our own two feet.  Isn't that an exhilirating thought!

  • JDot

    Stephen Says

    "I don't see much difference between the substance of MacKay's comments and that of Graham's in 2005"

    That was then, now Harper is in power now.  As you can see liberals don't give a [email protected]#  all they want t do is smear Harper with Bush. 

    wilson61 – Why bother with facts, it's Bush and Harper hater time in liberal la,la,land

  • Stephen

    <i>"If the job is not done in Afghanistan, if countries like Canada leave, the Taliban can follow them,'' MacKay told Canadian reporters here.</i><i>"By that I mean these threats are not going to stay isolated. We know that Afghanistan was an incubator and an exporter of terror.</i><i>"North America is not immune. Continental Europe is not immune. Nobody is immune.''</i>Sorry to be contrary, but McKay's analysis and argument are identical in substance–if not in rhetoric–from those Bill Graham and the Liberals put forward for Canada's combat role in Afghanistan in 2005 (and earlier).

    Indeed, the 'failed state' analysis Graham then said was an 'organizing principle' of Canadian foreign and defence policy for the new era was clearly spelled out in 'A Role of Pride and Influence in the World,' a Liberal policy document whose key assumptions did not significantly differ from those of the Bush administration: we had to be involved in combat in Afghanistan, argued Graham and the Liberals, so it did not become one of the "breeding grounds for international crime and terrorism," citing the examples of London, Madrid and New York as he did so.

    I don't see much difference between the substance of MacKay's comments and that of Graham's in 2005.

  • kursk

    No, the Taleban may not 'follow' the Canadians home..but if they are ever allowed to gain power again, they will facilitate the conditions that will allow other, more pro active terrorists to train and to attack the west..this has been demonstrated before and is an unfortunate fact of letting these religious extremists run the country..

    The Taleban may be content with domestic murder and mayhem, but their ideological stablemates have a greater, more global brand in mind..

    The Canadian forces are doing a fantastic job, and are considered a major cog in the NATO wheel in their taking the fight to the Taleban.In fact, it has been their proficiency at arms that in part negated any spring drive planned by the Taleban, and have pushed them out of areas once considered safe havens by them..

    The one concern i have with the forces being taken out of the line and relocated to the more quiet (yet not always safe ..) north is that this role could be tackled by civilian aid groups..this role as armed aid workers would be a waste of our resources and frankly, a misuse of highly trained combat personell..

    Of course, the other scenario, as espoused by Stephane Dion, is to stop the combat operations in the south whilst simultaneously continuing the aid and rebuilding projects.This would be sheer folly, as those aid and reconstruction efforts would become primary targets of the Taleban due to their being unsupported by the military in strength. It needs to be repeated at every turn, there is no aid and reconstruction, if you don't eliminate the threat the Taleban pose in their stated desire to destroy all of these efforts…

  • wilson61

    Bush Bush Bush…
    Scott, it was Bill Clinton who said  it.!

    '…Former U.S. president Bill Clinton has urged Canadians to continue the Afghan mission, calling it a chance to help a "genuine Muslim moderate democracy prevail" that should be distinguished from the Iraq war…
    "If we lose in Afghanistan and the Taliban come back, it will not only be a nightmare for the Afghan people, but it will create greater options of movement for the al-Qaeda leadership, and increase the likelihood that they will be able to mount and conduct more global terrorist operations."…'

    Translation, if we don't stop them there,  there's no stopping them here.

  • Fear, Fear, just like Bush tried to do to the American people, although, I do not think it is as bad now that they are onto him. When will the Canadians smarten up, before it is too late.

  • The Taliban say they want the countries out, not to follow them home, that is ridiculous are more apt to send someone over here for revenge, for what they are continuing to do. They just want them out, and the longer they stay they, the more they will be angry, very angry, at them.

  • Lord Kitchener's Own

    I'm starting to thing we're totally boned.  MacKay says if we leave, the bad guys will come after us.  The bad guys say if we stay, they'll come after us.

    Perhaps the message is that we shouldn't decide whether to stay or go based upon what the bad guys will do?  Maybe taking our cue from the bad guys is, oh, I don't know, idiotic?

    Also, there's staying, and then there's STAYING.  Personally, I'd like us to make a big push to get some of our allies to pick up the slack in the South, so that our men and women can spend some time in the North doing good works to help the people while not being (as) engaged in direct combat.  Although, I would like to see us be willing (unlike, say, the Germans) to move back down South in times of emergency to help out our allies (what a concept!).  I think most Canadians could get behind that, as polls differ slightly when the question is "leave Afghanistan" versus "end the <i>current mission</i> in 2009".  I think it would be great if the Tories and Liberals could get on the same page to that effect, for the good of our country and Afghanistan. 

    I won't hold my breath though.

    Everyone loves a wedge!

  • slg

    Well, they both get their catch phrases from Frank Luntz, the slimy neo-con strategist.  I read where this Luntz guy was also in Australia – I suppose to help out John Howard.

    Problem is – our problems and solutions don't lie in catchy phrases. 

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