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January 13, 2011

The Liberals and the Afghan mission

The Canadian Charger

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Well Canadians certainly got that one wrong. With the Liberals calling for extending the Afghan mission-just for training purposes, mind you-we thought that would give the Tories the present of running in the next election as the peace party.

No, with that bait and never seeing an American military adventure that he couldn’t love, Harper took up Rae’s invitation.  If Ignatieff had said the word, we would be in Iraq in force, rather than just with the one foot we have in now.  That leaves the peace franchise with the NDP, the Bloc, and the Greens.

We are assured by Peter MacKay that our troops in Afghanistan will be “behind the wire,” that is, safe.  And has MacKay ever lied to us before?  Well, in fact he has.  Just ask David Orchard.  And, it is rumored, rockets have a way of traveling “over the wire,” besides which wires can also be pierced.  In any case, monitoring involves showing, not just saying, and that means of necessity going “outside the wire.”

Wire or no wire, someone needs to tell us what success in Afghanistan would look like. 

If Karzai is more capable of hiding the massive theft of aid money, would that be success?  Just what outcomes could possibly be an appropriate war aim, even if there were any hope of achieving it?  And is such an outcome remotely possible?

Afghanistan now is government by warlords and drug lords, with the Taliban in the wings.  The warlords and drug lords are not that different and they might well come to an accommodation, leaving their foreign saviors out of it.

Not to be outdone in stupidity, at Lisbon the NATO countries, looking for a cure for which there is no disease since the demise of the Soviet Union, have decided on a missile defense shield for the continent.  The market-watchers, having so badly read the state for the world’s economies, entertain themselves in playing with mnemonics.

One of their current productions is the PIIGS countries: Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain countries with the proverbial one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.  Well, these and other members of NATO are going for a program that will cost billions if not trillions to protect against–whom? Klingons?  In his Medea, Euripides has someone say, “Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.” PIIGS take note.  Facing their current economic crisis, is there not something on which they might better spend trillions?

So up goes the missile shield.  Will it work? Russia has indicated some annoyance with such stunts, and so they have developed systems that thwart missile shields.  Thus, it is possible to send up multiple missiles.  Can the shield shoot down all of them?  Some of the missiles sent up might be duds, so how to tell to hit the right ones? And missiles could be fired that release multiple warheads in flight.  Playing games with this Buck Rogers stuff simply makes no sense, militarily or financially.  Let’s hear it for Euripides. He came from one of the PIIGS, after all. 

Well, suppose that this massive boondoggle actually “works.”  Even if it works it will not work.  Remember the story of the Maginot Line?  How the sneaky Germans outsmarted the French by going around the Line?  The new Maginot maneuver would be to go under the shield.  Send low-flying missiles from a fishing boat off the Atlantic coast or in the Mediterranean.

In any case, the so-called defense industries–industries that are really, truly offensive–want to be fed, so they are more than happy to feed on the madness, this new cargo cult.  They will help elect the politicians who keep them providing useless gew-gaws and will call upon universities to send them scientists to play space games. 

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