Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Afghanistan - Mission?

Shortly after the Manley report was released, a US report on Afghanistan painted a pretty grim picture of a nation teetering on the precipice of failed statehood and an American military machine that has given little attention to the mission.

People, and indeed the Manley report, have made much of this being a UN-approved mission, but professor of International Law, Francis Boyle points out that the UN security council permits actions to bring 9/11 criminals to justice preferably through extradition and the judicial system. Osgoode Hall law professor Michael Mandel says the mission has "a veneer of UN authority." (see Linda McQuaig, "Keep Pearson out of it" Toronto Star, 5 Feb 2008).

We have all read of the corruption in Hamid Karzai's government and the fact that there's been no decline in the abuse of women in Afghanistan. Today's news points to another failure of Harper's government to stand up for human, let alone Canadian, morals:

"It was only after weeks of international outrage that Canada's House of Commons, in response to a motion sponsored by NDP leader Jack Layton, unanimously voted on Monday to condemn a death sentence faced by an Afghan journalist.

About time, too, although the Harper government still hasn't had much to say about the case, at least not for the record." (see , "Afghan evils ignored at our peril" Toronto Star, 6 Feb 2008).

Harper's government doesn't know what it is doing in Afghanistan. It has covered-up and obfuscated our treatment of detainees. Harper's government has blamed the military for its own mistakes (e.g., Sandra Buckler). Worse, Harper has dragged Canada's good name around the world through the mud.

I don't think much of Manley's pre-conceived report, but I think a lot of Canadians are saying, on the "spectrum between utility and futility," Harper's government seems to be shifting things toward the futility end.

Let's stop listening to Harper's (or "lil' dubya's") rhetoric and spin, and instead stop fighting and create a truly Canadian mission for Afghanistan.

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