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More on Afghanistan: or how NATO refuses to help

In light of yesterday’s story on how Hillier thinks it will take a minimum of 10 years to stabilize Afghanistan, (NATO’s head thinks it will take a generation), and the PMO hastily issuing press releases to disagree and claim everything will be stablizied by 2011, this editorial in the Toronto Star this AM was timely, as it showed us how Peter MacKay has utterly failed to convince any of the other member countries of NATO to help shoulder the load:

NATO plans to lease 20 civilian helicopters while military choppers sit idle at European bases. The Germans and French, shouldering easy duty, are willing to deploy just 250 more military instructors, most of them to relatively quiet zones. The Italians and Spanish have not publicly gone even that far. All insist on shielding their troops from combat.

It is not just troops that are not being sent, but it mentions that NATO countries are loath to send in equipment such as surveillance aircraft and helicopters. When Canadians see this type of reluctance for anyone else to get involved in a mission we keep getting told is vitally important, it’s little wonder public support for this mission to end (at least the military aspect of it) is growing.

Canada has done its part of the burden for this vital mission – let other NATO countries show they are equally committed to it. We cannot stay there forever on our own or with only a handful of countries helping out. We should be giving our notice to leave in 2009 and let NATO and its members know we are serious about this. Perhaps that will convince NATO and its laggard member countries to step up to the plate.

UPDATE: A really good posting at the Galloping Beaver about how Sandra Buckler, PMO shill, er… spokesperson – seems to think she knows more about the situation there then Rick Hillier or the NATO General-Secretary.


6 comments to More on Afghanistan: or how NATO refuses to help

  • garhane

    I think you have it wrong Kursk, since the Mulroney govt. sold off the Chinooks to the Dutch, though what they might want with them is a puzzle. But the main point is surely that there is no use in sitting  in the middle of the road and paring away at that ingrown toenail as is so typical of the Conservavative (Harper model) mind.  Raise any issue at all of what has not or might reasonably be done and a con will appear  to say that should have been done or un done by the Libs years ago; that is, he will  collapse into the ingrown toenail postition.  Neither does it help to offer a vague claim that the Cons. govt. "got the ball rolling" months ago over the need for choppers. Where are they? The political hay the Cons will doubtless seek to make out of the Remembrance day season will be great, and who knows they may even out bellow Granatstein. But the thing is, get the dammed choppers above that filthy road in Afghan land.

  • kursk

                     Where have you been? The conservatives (months ago) started the ball rolling on Acquiring heavy lift helicopters.

    Do you know why we don’t have any?

    Why that would be because the liberals sacrificed capability to balance the books, and sold our heavy Chinook Helos to Holland.They then ensured that Canada would have no heavy lift for a generation by cancelling the much ballyhooed helicopter contract, at a cost of half a billion dollars in penalties.

    Canadian soldiers have died as a result of that short sighted move, as we have to move supplys in by land, and that opens the way for enemy ambush.

    "Go get choppers fast, or turn the whole thing over to the Liberals who at least understand that there are times to cash in  you chips and get out of the game."

    I agree, get them in fast.There is a saying ‘lead, follow, or get out of the way..’ considering the legacy that the liberals have left the Canadian military, one would conclude turning the "whole thing" over to the libs would result in us getting out of the way, to the detriment of the Afghan people and ultimately, western security.

    I much prefer to lead under a conservative govt that has the best interest of our soldiers in mind, and will give them the tools with which to do their jobs.

  • Festus

    Gee, the liberals maybe should have spent the 500 million to cancel helicopter ON helicopters. What a fiasco.

    It’s no great suprise to see the Euroweenies are unwilling to pull their weight on anything, a lifetime of being a child of a nanny state does tend to rot their brains.

  • If you had the choice between leaving Canadian troops in Afghanistan [it is a voluntary fighting force, by the way] to finish the job, or leave with a fairly highly prospect of the mission being lost [Lord Ashdown think we’re lost anyway], what would you choose. Note I didn’t ask you whether Canada had done enough for the mission; I asked whether you would choose to have Canada sacrifice for the benefit of the globe to fulfill a mission which no other country would enter, lest we lose the war altogether.

  • When these things like the Afghan mess break, it can come  suddenly and catch various groups unprepared. Canadian troops should be in a position to air supply any posts now, and to get to hell out of Afghan (without much equipment) far sooner than 10 years (10 months or less is a better estimate). The whole government of Afghan is sliding back into the  dense complex of tribes, ethnic roots, language, warlords, poppy economics,  banditry, over lapping geographic and ethnic borders, and patron which are exterior  states supporting this or that gang that has characterized it for many centuries.  Barzai is just the current leading member of a wealthy landholding family that has been among the top dozen or so  powers in that country for  over 700 years.  His family power is the raging south of the country (the family even  has a chain of restaurants in the USA called Kandahar)The fact he proposes a discussion with the Taliban is a huge red neon sign that the old  ways are back and the foreign troops and leaders  are about to be shoved aside. To him it doubtless seems just sensible to go that way, as it will to the groups coming under Taliban influence at the moment. All it will take is for one of the bigger bandits like Hakmatyar or  two or three others to make some  public comment  or private move, and the slide will become a landslide. Quite suddenly our troops will be needing a fast way out just as has happened to many foreign troops before our time in this place. Ask the Brits if their bags are packed, always.

    So I am glad to see the Afghan discussion moving to the question of  HELICOPTERS.  Who has them, who needs them, who will supply or rent them, and how many will be needed. Is it not clear that  they are much more urgently  needed by Canada right now than Corvette sized patrol boats 6 or 7 years from now up North?  Is it not utterly clear that we do not have them or enough of them (big ones that will carry a lot of troops) to supply posts let alone get the soldiers out?   Who could have imagined the desperate scene at the American embassy only a few months before the dogfall in Viet Nam. The biggest, most powerful, most heavily armed, with all their  aircraft carriers and bombs and jets streaking about….they were reduced to marines hanging onto helicopter skids.

    We do not even own a number of suitable machines. And now what, we ask for help from countries that will not supply soldiers never mind pilots of expensive machines that are easily shot down? We will not get them. So we lease them from who? The same countries just mentioned? The Dutch? Outside of the Americans the Dutch are the worst commercial bandits in the world and will haggle their way to outrageous deals winding in side deals every step of the way. And who will fly them? If we need 6 we will probably have to get 8 or 10 because of maintenance and the near certainly that some will be shot down. Canadian pilots will become available if the training is done, to help Canadian soldiers, but  should we expect any flood of others? How about the Russians, they have a bunch of old but very well armored machines and pilots who might go for high wages.  Even second hand ones formerly used for industry, like those used to fly in supplies for industry camp locations, could be used.

    But who can say that it makes any sense whatever, when we are being driven into a position like the Brits in Ireland, where they had to supply posts by air,  that the PM is talking vaguely about not-quite ice breakers for the still frozen north; the Nato countries that have big choppers are leaving Afghan land;  we do not have the choppers to re supply;  the Taliban are coming up like a wave of the sea;  and our government,sitting+ on a surplus THIS YEAR   that is already over $8 billion is not scouring the market to find big choppers and training pilots fast; the the lead mouthpiece for the military is  making idiotic speeches about the situation in 10 years times. Enough of this crap. Go get choppers fast, or turn the whole thing over to the Liberals who at least understand that there are times to cash in  you chips and get out of the game.

  • doz

    Perhaps with their greater experience with the futility of colonial warfare, the Europeans are not as easily duped into jumping into unwinnable conflicts for the benefit of imperial wanabes as our sad sack political leaders. 

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