Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pen Meets Paper March 2 '09

Pen Meets Paper

Opinion by Helge Nome

“The bones of Alexander’s men lie deep in Afghanistan. The Mughals, a Turkic dynasty established in India in the early 16th century that later adopted the Persian language, could not with their affinity subdue the Turkic and Persian tribes in the region. The bleak, mountainous land was unkind to the British Raj during a series of Anglo-Afghan wars that started in 1839 and ended 80 years later. The Soviet invasion of 1979 was seen as a nine year immersion into Afghan hell for its army. And now, under the Obama administration, the U.S. is preparing to commit more troops, with little to show for some 3,300 casualties and the expenditure of more than $173 billion since 9/11”.

This was the introduction to an article written by a Frank Schell recently in the Wall Street Journal.

And, our own Stephen Harper was recently pinned down by an American reporter while visiting the US and asked whether Canada might be prepared to commit more troops to Afghanistan. To which he replied, to my amazement, that there had better be some expected positive outcomes before any such commitment would be contemplated. He did not believe that the “insurgency” could ever be defeated, only contained. Astounding. Stephen Harper must have finally seen fit to open a history book!

I remember Stephen Harper flying into Afghanistan shortly after his installment in the Prime Minister's chair and address our troops there with great bravado, extolling their virtues and achievements, before flying back to his comfortable home in Ottawa.

So why in Heaven's name are our politicians in Ottawa wasting some $18 billion in Afghanistan in addition to squandering the lives of more than 100 Canadians? The answer is only too plain and has nothing to do with the “improvement” in the lives of indigenous people in the area. On the contrary, it has everything to do with who controls the energy flows coming on to world markets from that general region. The real reason for the Iraq war is exactly the same.

I found Stephen Harper's frankness to be quite out of character, compared to his previous statements.

I think he knows that his days as Prime Minister of Canada are numbered and couldn't keep himself from expressing some real sentiments, rather than those he has been paid to utter in the past.

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