The politics Of Getting Canadians Out Of Afghanistan

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KenS
The politics Of Getting Canadians Out Of Afghanistan

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KenS

The point is to get Canadian troops out of Afghanistan. And a first step is to acknowledge something else that may seem utterly obvious.

The mission has been extended. And that is the reality for at least the near and medium term. Given that the Liberal Party has endorsed that, we simply are not going to be reversing that in the very near future. So our eyes should be on what we can achieve in the medium term and longer.

I think a quick survey of the 'home front struggle' in the Vietnam War is in order. The war in Afghanistan is stalemated. The same stage had been reached by 1968 in Vietnam. You have in both cases the arming and training of a native army that is suppossed to take over the heavy fighting from the foreign occupiers. But 'training' is just an obfuscation of the real problem: that the native army gets bigger and better trained, but never has a real stake in the war, and in fact is chock full of infiltrators. When the US started backing away from the direct combat role, it was the beginning of the end in Vietnam. And the same will happen in Afghanistan.

The US anti-war movement grew from the beginning, but really took off when this stalemate state was obvious to anyone who cared to look at the evidence- even before the 1968 Tet Offensive. Even though a majority of Americans had not yet decided they did not want to support the continuation of the war, that finished Johnson's presidency, and put Nixon on a short leash. Not short enough of course to keep the US from covert and semi-covert war expansion, but it did set the clock on moving towards ending the US doing all the real ground combat.

While the anti-war movement continued to grow, the US Army was disintegrating, and carpet bombing and defoliation couldnt do what US troops were no longer doing and going to do.

The whole anti-war movement, not just its more radical elements, attacked the carpet bombing and other 'secret wars' as well as how many US bodies were coming home in bags.

What sealed this 'capping' and near term end of the US aggression was the 1971/2 half million person marches on the East and West coasts.

As in the US 40 years ago, the final act of the home front will be the orders made in Ottawa, and the much earlier legislative struggles [where we are now] will be part of the road there. But along the way 50% or even 60% or more of the public saying they want the troops home will not be sufficient. Considering the different population sizes- the equivalent of those half million person marches would be 100,000 people on the streets of Vancouver AND Toronto- each. I would think that this is not a case of 100,000 on the streets would be 'good'... I think we have to be going there.

KenS

In the thread title the small 'p' of 'politics' is deliberate. Not a typo.

I know it would seem to be obvious around here that there is more to politics than electoral politics. But you wouldnt know it reading the numerous recent and hotly contested threads since the government came out with its Liberal Party supported extension and predicatble 're-branding' of the mission.

KenS

One thing about those half million marches in the US. Along the way to that peak, there were quite a number that were 100,000 people on the streets. The visible difference in 1971 was the people from suburban US. They generally had an analysis that was deeper than just displeasre with the waste of American lives, but they were very far from anyhing remotely like an anti-imperialist or anti-colonial consciousness. In fact, they were hostile to the ideas even if tolerant in the practice of unity.

To get the point we can force the ending of the Canadian military presence, we're going to need those same people on the streets and making the issue one of the main priorities at the ballot box. Right now, as just a few years before the peak of the US anti-war movement, those are the folks that are really only motivated by the loss of Canadian lives. At most theie analyis will be limited to some understanding that the Afghans dont like us, and have reason to. And a lot of these folks we need have not even got that far along.

The flip side to that is that it isnt our anti-imperialist analysis, or that occupation and aggresion are simply wrong and wrong-headed, is not what is going to move these people.

There is a political reason that some version of the anti-imperialist analysis is important in its own right. It needs to percolate around as much as possible.

But it is not the be all and end all. Broadening the scope of who we impact is what it is about. And many of the people we can not do without will NEVER be positively effected by any form of analysis that focuses on anti-imperialism or that we are aggresors.

People here are in the habit of assuming that implies that the message has to be 'watered down'. Not the case. It just means we have to understand what is in the road.

bekayne

The biggest difference between now & back then? The draft

KenS

I disagree.

First, there is a general problem with people making 'technical' or exceptionalist objections to an analysis.

The draft created a different dynamic for the US effort. And the proportion of conscripts was certainly part of the utter breakdown of discipline in the US Army. That isnt going to happen to the Canadian Forces. But the Canadian military is stretched very thin, and a 'mere' decay in morale from a protracted losing war is both likely and will have quite an impact.

The draft in the US certainly brought the war closer to the homes of all. But two years before we got to the peak of the movement, the complete bogging of the ground war, and the peak of the need for young male cannon fodder.... 50% of draftees simply did not show up when called, and it was taking the FBI an average of 2 years to make the initial call to the families of delinquents to ask them where their sons were.

The draft was a toothless tiger by 1971. My age cohort wasnt bothering going to Canada any more. We just didnt go into the Army, and didnt really worry about it. And thats the working class who had a few years before dutifuly gone to Vietnam while the university educated went to Canada.

Unionist

KenS wrote:
The mission has been extended. And that is the reality for at least the near and medium term. Given that the Liberal Party has endorsed that, we simply are not going to be reversing that in the very near future. So our eyes should be on what we can achieve in the medium term and longer.

So the Cons and Libs are together, and the battle is lost. No point organizing, mobilizing, demonstrating, no point even saying "troops out!" Might as well just forget about the issue until the NDP holds the balance of power. Oh wait, they signed a coalition deal in December 2008, and Afghanistan wasn't even part of the deal. So might as well just forget about Afghanistan altogether.

It's difficult to express one's feelings calmly in the face of such craven capitulation masquerading as "realism".

Cueball Cueball's picture

Read Jack Layton's statement sent out the NDP voters list. Just aweful. "What's going on in Afghanistan"? Not: "End the mission in Afghanistan".

From November 16th

Quote:

My fellow New Democrat,

Stephen Harper is trying to extend the military mission in Afghanistan - without even so much as a vote.

He promised Canadians he'd bring our troops home in 2011. He said there was no wiggle room on this. Now he's going back on his word. We need to send him a strong message.

Stephen Harper - bring your Afghanistan mission extension to a full debate and vote in Parliament. Stop playing games with our troops and their families.

After nine years of combat, 152 Canadian soldiers lost, and hundreds more returning home wounded and traumatized - our soldiers have done their fair share with honour. To extend the mission after Harper said he wouldn't, without even a vote in Parliament, is simply unacceptable.

I want you to put the pressure on Stephen Harper to do the right thing.

Spread the word on facebook and twitter right now and tell Harper if he wants to extend the military mission in Afghanistan again, he must first bring it to a vote in Parliament.
Spread the word on facebook. Spread the word on twitter.

Mr. Harper, we won't stand for your broken promises. You promised to bring our troops home in 2011. Now bring it to a vote.

Jack Layton
Leader,
Canada's New Democrats

No statement about voting against the extension if there is a vote. All about procedure. Am I correct that Bob Rae wants a vote too? Given this kind of non-statement coming out of the NDP, I am sure Rae would love to have an opportunity to make the NDP put their money where their mouth is.

Wether or not the NDP leader will would whip the vote in the NDP caucus is an open question.

"Stephen Harper - bring your Afghanistan mission extension to a full debate and vote in Parliament"

NOT

"Stephen Harper - bring your Afghanistan mission extension to a full stop."

Why would anyone vote for a party that demands a vote on an issue but can't even bring themselves to state a poisition on the issue? Absurd.

Cueball Cueball's picture

KenS wrote:

I disagree.

First, there is a general problem with people making 'technical' or exceptionalist objections to an analysis.

The draft created a different dynamic for the US effort. And the proportion of conscripts was certainly part of the utter breakdown of discipline in the US Army. That isnt going to happen to the Canadian Forces. But the Canadian military is stretched very thin, and a 'mere' decay in morale from a protracted losing war is both likely and will have quite an impact.

The draft in the US certainly brought the war closer to the homes of all. But two years before we got to the peak of the movement, the complete bogging of the ground war, and the peak of the need for young male cannon fodder.... 50% of draftees simply did not show up when called, and it was taking the FBI an average of 2 years to make the initial call to the families of delinquents to ask them where their sons were.

The draft was a toothless tiger by 1971. My age cohort wasnt bothering going to Canada any more. We just didnt go into the Army, and didnt really worry about it. And thats the working class who had a few years before dutifuly gone to Vietnam while the university educated went to Canada.

Actually, none of this is relevant. What is relevant about the mobilization for the Vietnam war, and war in Iraq, is that the US authorities refused to deploy the reserve army during Vietnam. Even the famous 82nd Airborne was never deployed in Vietnam. This meant that they had to draft soldiers for the war. What they did this time was change the terms of the contracts for the army reserve so they could be deployed overseas.

jrootham

Translation:  KenS this is what we should do to bring the troops as soon as possible, which will be in the medium term.

Unionist:  You mean the troops aren't coming home immediately?  Defeatist!  I want my pony!  If we demand ponies we will get them!

If Jack Layton calls for ponies Harper will fall over in a dead faint and ponies will be released.

 

 

 

Frmrsldr

What we need:

1. We need war weariness: By escalating Canada's military engagement (presence) in Afghanistan yet again (third time now), even though he is correct, the only concrete promise the 2008 war resolution passed in the House made was that combat operations by the Canadian military in Kandahar (province) would cease. THAT IS ALL. Canadian troops could still be stationed in Kandahar province (protecting NGOs or training) or they could have been redeployed to (an)other province(s) still in a combat role. As it is, Harper has chosen to redeploy ~950 troops (roughly half the current level) to the north to (ostensibly) engage in (non-combat) training.

On that level, Herr Harper did not lie to us. However, in terms of what he has said on the record, that all Canadian troops were going to be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2011, save those guarding the odd embassy or consulate, Herr Harper has clearly and unquestionably lied.

What Harper is gambling on is that enough Canadians will either be ignorant and apathetic about the issue or that they will buy his line "that all politicians are untrustworthy at some level, himself included, and therefore he hopes that enough Canadians will be turned off of politics and he will get away with this latest escalation stunt.

Right now it is hard to tell: Why have Canadians thus far been silent about this issue? Are they still reeling and trying to make sense of what just happened? Or are Herr Harper's beliefs about the Canadian public correct?

2. We need the equivallent of a Tet Offensive. I thought the 2008 Sarposa prison breakout would be the "Tet Offensive" of the Afghan war. Unfortunately, it failed to gain traction in the fawning commercial media and thus made little impact on the publics of the U.S./NATO/ISAF countries.

On a Vietnam War timeline, (unless war weariness causes a decisive swing against the war among public opinion) we are at 1967, believing in "the light at the end of the tunnel." Although the (mostly U.S.) generals know that training the ANA and ANP is an exit strategy; any victory strategy was abandoned (if there ever was one) long ago. Unfortunately, most people do not know this.

KenS, contrary to your downplaying (if my analysis of your argument is incorrect, please inform me) of Tet, the Tet Offensive was responsible for a number of very important watershed turning points in the U.S.

1. President Lyndon Johnson cancelled a 206 000 U.S. troop escalation he had promised General Westmoreland and made a public announcement that he had put a cap on U.S. troop escalations to Vietnam. No more troops would be sent to Vietnam and the process of bringing the troops home would begin.

2. After Tet, North Vietnamese representatives arrived in Paris for the Peace Talks for the first time. The Peace Talks went on for the next 5 years.

3. The Tet Offensive began in February 1968, by April, Johnson announced that he would not seek nor accept nomination as President in the '68 Presidential election.

4. The Tet Offensive (led by Walter Cronkite) saw the U.S. media and (subsequently) the heartland (everyday people who might otherwise have been uninformed and apathetic) turn against the war.

Soldiers

3. Soldiers who have been to Afghanistan have seen the truth about what goes on over there and thus see, more clearly than anyone else, the "credibility gap" (i.e., the lies) that the government, the military and the FCM (fawning commercial media) are telling us.

If you have the opportunity, watch the DVD Sir! No Sir!

We need to unite ALL members of the antiwar coalition. The political Left as well as the political Right. We need to steal the Canadian economic libertarian "Tea Partyers" who may still be part of Herr Harper's political base, away from the Conservatives.

We can do this by playing on the fact that Harper contradicted what he said earlier about troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. That Harper is not a strong leader. We can help them connect the dots that the Conservative Party is not a financially responsible party. The war has already cost $18 billion. By conservative estimates, another four years of war are going to bring that cost to over $20 billion. If the deal goes through on the F-35, that will cost the Canadian taxpayer another $16 billion. If the Conservatives carry out their plans to construct new prisons across Canada, that will cost another at least $9 billion. That is a minimum of $45 billion over the next few years. With the current state of the economy and the rate of unemployment, can we afford this?

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2010/11/14/getting-beyond-left-and-ri...

Footnotes in the margin:

The above link mostly talks about U.S. political history. If the reader wishes, skim through this until the last three paragraphs.

KenS

jrootham wrote:

Translation:  KenS this is what we should do to bring the troops as soon as possible, which will be in the medium term.

Unionist:  You mean the troops aren't coming home immediately?  Defeatist!  I want my pony!  If we demand ponies we will get them!

Exactly.

A more succinct reply than I would have made.

Somehow Unionist makes the leap from me saying that the extension is happening- to me saying "the battle is lost." The point is that the extension is done. Period. Now its up to us to unwind it.

And the bit about "Might as well just forget about the issue until the NDP holds the balance of power." and "No point organizing, mobilizing, demonstrating," is pretty odd considering that I opened this thread with the history of the most relevant anti-war mobilization we know of. And explicitly as an antidote to everyone else talking about the NDP, Unionist leading the way.

So again: the extension is already a fact. This is Day 1 of repealing that.

KenS

I really dont understand the point of post # 8 Cueball.

The issue here is how we mobilize a movement. I figured a good place to start is looking at the anti Vietnam War movement, and looking specifically at some broad parallels.

Someone mentions that 'it was the draft'. Apparently meaning that we dont have a draft in Canada, so there wont be the level of outrage that fueled the movement 40 years ago in the US.

I stressed that the main point is that of course not all the conditions are going to be the same. And added that well before the movement peaked, the draft was not what it had been. [You just didnt report for duty, and everyone knew consequences for that had become unlikely.] Then you add more to the discussion of the secondary issue. Is there a point to that viz mobilizing a movement now?

Unionist

KenS wrote:

The flip side to that is that it isnt our anti-imperialist analysis, or that occupation and aggresion are simply wrong and wrong-headed, is not what is going to move these people. [...]

And many of the people we can not do without will NEVER be positively effected by any form of analysis that focuses on anti-imperialism or that we are aggresors.

Here's the way I understand this: "Even people calling themselves progressive don't share any anti-imperialist analysis, or see Canada as the aggressor - so we have to find a different way to motivate them, without being too hasty with such radical left-wing demands as: Bring the troops home now!"

That's the message of the people advising Jack Layton, for example.

The message is wrong. No movement in history - whether against racism or gender domination or homophobia or national oppression and colonialism - has ever waited for a majority of people to buy into some "analysis".

A majority of Canadians don't want us participating in any war in Afghanistan. Some Canadians want the troops out because they believe in peace. Others, because they support the right of Afghans to make their own lives. Others, because they can't stand to see dead and mutilated Canadians. Others, because they think we're wasting billions of dollars. Others, because they think we should be isolationist and to hell with the rest of the world. And you can amplify on this.

It doesn't matter. It all goes together to make a movement. And we don't need to, and mustn't, "attract" more adherents by stopping the demand, the call, the mobilization, the alliance-building, for "Troops Out!" The anti-imperialist analysis guides us - it's not a condition for unity in the movement. But at least on babble, it should guide all of us - no? Isn't that the mandate of this board?

A point Ken misses - never once addresses, in fact - is that the Afghan people will win their own war. It will not be won by well-meaning Canadians "allowing" them their "freedom". Their fate will not be decided by votes in the House of Commons or decisions of NATO or Obama's war room. Our job is to hasten the day of their victory (no matter how much it galls some around here to think in terms of the Afghan people winning) and minimize the slaughter and torture along the road.

Quote:
People here are in the habit of assuming that implies that the message has to be 'watered down'. Not the case.

Good. Then don't.

 

KenS

I think this a great and meaty post Frmrsldr.

Frmrsldr wrote:

What we need:

1. We need war weariness.

.... in terms of what Harper has said on the record, that all Canadian troops were going to be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2011, save those guarding the odd embassy or consulate, Herr Harper has clearly and unquestionably lied.

What Harper is gambling on is that enough Canadians will either be ignorant and apathetic about the issue.... that enough Canadians will be turned off of politics and he will get away with this latest escalation stunt.

That is Harpers strategy in a nutshell.

And the 'war weariness' part is a crucial question.

We dont have the war weariness that the US had well before the movement peaked in 1971. Canada now is more comparable to the US in 1968- even after the Tet Offensive [which startled people, but they still bought the government explanations]. A lot happened in the US in those 3 intervening years.

My hunch is that there is an important amount of war weariness in Canada. Most people dont pay close attention. But the ones that do have noticed the narrative that this business of "the Afghans taking over" is just wishful thinking. That this cannot end well.

The difference with the US Vietnam experience is the number of American/Canadian bodies of soldiers coming home. While it is dawning on Americans after 1968 that the government and military have been giving the same 'things are improving' propaganda for years now, there are several hundred US soldiers being killed every month. That is comparable to 50 to 100 Canadian slodiers being killed every month.

The 'training mission' assurances are BS. But there isnt going to be that scale of Canadian deaths.

But Americans were also revolted by the dawning realization of the fate of the Vietnamese, and Canadians start with a little more sensitivity to that [or less completey binded by racism and jingoistic propaganda].

I dont think there is really any point in debating how much there is and what exactly it implies.

We have the hand we are dealt. There is at least some war weariness already, and even among Canadians who are right now mostly only thinking or the impact of the war on Canadians, they arent impervious to the fate of Afghans.

 

Frmrsldr wrote:

Right now it is hard to tell: Why have Canadians thus far been silent about this issue? Are they still reeling and trying to make sense of what just happened? Or are Herr Harper's beliefs about the Canadian public correct?

Good question. But I think a lot of the current silence can be chalked up to "still processing". Unfortunately, the undecideds in this- not the people who were only acquiescing because they beleived the mission was ending in months- come into it willing to give Harper a lot of benefit of the doubt. And Iggy and Bob Rae have helped with that. Which is one reason we need the breaking of the very explicit promises fixed in their minds. It is never going to be the deciding factor, but tipping points matter.

 

KenS

Unionist wrote:

KenS wrote:

The flip side to that is that it isnt our anti-imperialist analysis, or that occupation and aggresion are simply wrong and wrong-headed, is not what is going to move these people. [...]

And many of the people we can not do without will NEVER be positively effected by any form of analysis that focuses on anti-imperialism or that we are aggresors.

Here's the way I understand this: "Even people calling themselves progressive don't share any anti-imperialist analysis, or see Canada as the aggressor - so we have to find a different way to motivate them, without being too hasty with such radical left-wing demands as: Bring the troops home now!"

As usual, you have horribly misrepresented what I said.

Before that bit you quote, I pointed out that the ground war in Vietnam is when the movement made the leap from marches at or near 100,000 to multiple marches of half a million. And the increase that turned the conner was in different kinds of people... who definitely did not buy into even a version of our anti-imperialist analysis. We needed those people then to end the war, and we're going to need them in Canada to end our country's role in this war. And reaching those folks is different.

That distortion of yours Unionist hopelessly 'colours' what you have to say.

From: 

Unionist wrote:
That's the message of the people advising Jack Layton, for example.

...on down.

If you care to incorporate a fair and full reading of what I said, you can take another crack at it.

But I will add one thing I didn't make fully explicit.

In the US movement we did not water down the anti-imperialist message. But we did add to it, and thats what reached those people that made the difference.

 

KenS

Frmrsldr wrote:

2. We need the equivallent of a Tet Offensive. I thought the 2008 Sarposa prison breakout would be the "Tet Offensive" of the Afghan war. Unfortunately, it failed to gain traction in the fawning commercial media and thus made little impact on the publics of the U.S./NATO/ISAF countries.

On a Vietnam War timeline, (unless war weariness causes a decisive swing against the war among public opinion) we are at 1967, believing in "the light at the end of the tunnel." Although the (mostly U.S.) generals know that training the ANA and ANP is an exit strategy; any victory strategy was abandoned (if there ever was one) long ago. Unfortunately, most people do not know this.

KenS, contrary to your downplaying (if my analysis of your argument is incorrect, please inform me) of Tet, the Tet Offensive was responsible for a number of very important watershed turning points in the U.S.

1. President Lyndon Johnson cancelled a 206 000 U.S. troop escalation he had promised General Westmoreland and made a public announcement that he had put a cap on U.S. troop escalations to Vietnam. No more troops would be sent to Vietnam and the process of bringing the troops home would begin.

2. After Tet, North Vietnamese representatives arrived in Paris for the Peace Talks for the first time. The Peace Talks went on for the next 5 years.

3. The Tet Offensive began in February 1968, by April, Johnson announced that he would not seek nor accept nomination as President in the '68 Presidential election.

4. The Tet Offensive (led by Walter Cronkite) saw the U.S. media and (subsequently) the heartland (everyday people who might otherwise have been uninformed and apathetic) turn against the war.

We agree about the importance that was weariness played in the US, and generally that Canada is in the satge before that really sets in.

As to the importance of the Tet Offensive, I think you generally overate that as far as public awareness goes. And you are missing some historical understanding.

We are not likely to see anything like the Tet Offensive. Different kind of guerilla war. But there will be plenty of pain and shock without anything as singularly decisive as the Tet Offensive.

You are right that post-Tet the US adjusted. But the public by and large bought the line that "yes, we did not expect this, but the Communists have been beaten back." ['Beaten back' is echoed today.] And despite the adjustments, the US military went on taking most of the real combat while preparing the ARVN to 'take over'. Which is exactly what US/NATO is doing.

While that killed Johnson's presidency as I also noted, there was still years of heavy fighting and hundreds of deaths of american soldiers per month. Johnson's administration layed the ground work for what Nixon continued. As to the 'peace talks'- lots of drama, but we have that parralel track now too.

KenS

Frmrsldr wrote:

Soldiers who have been to Afghanistan have seen the truth about what goes on over there and thus see, more clearly than anyone else, the "credibility gap" (i.e., the lies) that the government, the military and the FCM (fawning commercial media) are telling us.

If you have the opportunity, watch the DVD Sir! No Sir!

We need to unite ALL members of the antiwar coalition. The political Left as well as the political Right. We need to steal the Canadian economic libertarian "Tea Partyers" who may still be part of Herr Harper's political base, away from the Conservatives.

We can do this by playing on the fact that Harper contradicted what he said earlier about troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. That Harper is not a strong leader. We can help them connect the dots that the Conservative Party is not a financially responsible party. The war has already cost $18 billion. By conservative estimates, another four years of war are going to bring that cost to over $20 billion. If the deal goes through on the F-35, that will cost the Canadian taxpayer another $16 billion. If the Conservatives carry out their plans to construct new prisons across Canada, that will cost another at least $9 billion. That is a minimum of $45 billion over the next few years. With the current state of the economy and the rate of unemployment, can we afford this?

Right on.

[I dont think there are that many libertarians to be pulled along. But I dont think the question really matters, because they respond to the same messages regardless of disagreeing with parts of it. For what its worth, I dont think it is any surprise than an ex-soldier who still has plenty of military and ex-military in their circles, is going to think there are more of those kind of libertarians around.]

KenS

Unionist wrote:

A point Ken misses - never once addresses, in fact - is that the Afghan people will win their own war. It will not be won by well-meaning Canadians "allowing" them their "freedom".

The second sentence is entirely a gratuitous dig not based in anything I said, or even any reasonably fair reading of what is impled.

In the opening of the first substantive post I said: "I think a quick survey of the 'home front struggle' in the Vietnam War is in order."

This is about the home front struggle. About building a movement. In earlier threads I have explictly placed that the Vietnamese kicked the Americans out. That they would have done it eventually one way or the other, but they accomplished it after the US combat role had become just about zero- a huge change from 1968 in Vietnam, or today in Afghanistan.

And the 'home front struggle' 40 years ago was what made sure the politicians and generals did not just go on endlessly fighting a stalemated war.

NDPP

Anything purporting to deal with Canada in or out of Afghanistan must deal with the problem of NATO and our membership in it.

NATO's Strategic Concept 2010

http://www.nato.int/lisbon2010/strategic-concept-2010-eng.pdf

"NATO has a unique and robust set of political and military capabilities to address the full spectrum of crises - before, during and after conflicts. NATO will actively employ an appropriate mix of these political and military tools to help manage developing crises that have the potential to affect alliance security..

We, the political leaders of NATO are determined to continue the renewal of our Alliance.."

NATO: Afghan War Model For 21st Century Operations

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22006

"Launching an unprovoked war of aggression and operating outside the territory of NATO member states - and outside international law without a United Nations mandate - inaugurated the US-controlled military alliance as a global warfighting organization. There are now 140,000 troops from 50 nations serving with ISAF in Afghanistan...

A recent report estimates the number of Afghans killed in the war at 100,000

A veritable chorus of recent comments from American NATO and NATO ally officials has confirmed the war that will be in its 11th calendar year on January 1 will continue to 2014, beyond 2014 and even for decades longer.."

Layton Changes Course on NDP's NATO Policy

http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/SciTech/20040530/ndp_nato_040529/

"Jack Layton brushed aside a long-held NDP policy that would pull Canada out of NATO, promising instead to work on changing the military alliance...'People in NATO are already changing it themselves..'

And here's another pro-NATO gift from the NDP of yesteryear - 'Sgt Bob'

Bob Rae Zips from Dove to Hawk

http://www/ottawasun.com/comment/columnists/2010/11/19/16225326.html

"Rae is widely credited as being the guy who first called for Canada to keep on fighting in Afghanistan and well beyond the June 2011 pullout date decreed by Parliament. He knew what he was doing. He usually does..

Rae, more than any other member of Parliament, ultimately influenced the Harper government's decision to stay in Afghanistan and fight some more.

It's ironic; Hawkish Conservatives who wanted to extend the combat mission are now offering silent thanks to Sgt Rae for jumping into the figurative foxhole with them and cheerfully providing cover...For years to come, political scientists will ponder how a genial, peace-loving former NDP politiican was transformed into such a tough-talking hawk."

Thanks a lot Jack, Bob. As long as the Canadian anti-war movement continues to trust such people, there won't be any movement worthy of the name or calling. Out of NATO! Out of Afghanistan! Out of Canada's bought and sold, bait and switch, run with hare hunt with hounds, pro-Imperialist political parties!

 

 

NDPP

New Afghan War Plan Could Cost Taxpayers Extra $125 Billion

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2010/1119/New-Afghan-w...

"As leaders at the NATO summit in Lisbon meet this weekend to discuss strategy in Afghanistan, US war planners have been suggesting that troop withdrawals set to begin in 2011 will be mostly symbolic and that the hand over to Afghan forces in 2014 is 'aspirational.'"

 

KenS

NoDifferencePartyPooper wrote:

Thanks a lot Jack, Bob. As long as the Canadian anti-war movement continues to trust such people, there won't be any movement worthy of the name or calling. Out of NATO! Out of Afghanistan! Out of Canada's bought and sold, bait and switch, run with hare hunt with hounds, pro-Imperialist political parties!

I appreciate all the links you have been posting in the various threads, and the quick little bits from each.

But... For this thread, I think it is the comment I quoted that belongs, and maybe leave out the repetitons of links that are in closely related threads.

I had not seen the immediately above link/story before. But how does that relate to the discussion here in this thread?

Could you also reduce the clutter by deleting that duplicate post. And maybe expand on your comment. Like, linking it to the comments of others.

Frmrsldr

KenS wrote:

You are right that post-Tet the US adjusted. But the public by and large bought the line that "yes, we did not expect this, but the Communists have been beaten back." ['Beaten back' is echoed today.]

Actually, that is a significant difference between the Vietnam and Afghan wars.

With Vietnam, the U.S. media and majority of the public saw Tet as a victory for the Viet Cong. The U.S. military saw Tet as a major military defeat for the Viet Cong. The military was right, Tet saw the destruction of the Viet Cong as a military force.

With Afghanistan, General David Petraeus and NATO officials are intentionally lying to the President and to the world publics about "progress" because the Pentagon, the Defense Department and the arms industry want the war to continue in perpetuity. For NATO (unless it succeeds in morphing into SuperNato as it has alluded), its continued survival hangs in the balance.

Unlike Vietnam, uninformed people believe what the military and NATO (duly reported by the FCM) are saying. We have not reached that point where the FCM are on our side as opposed to the establishment's side.

 

KenS

I dont think this is a central point as far as historical lessons and implications for what we do now.

Agreed that war weariness played a major role in the US, and that we in Canada are in the time before there is that widespread public war weariness. Whether the truning point in the US was the Tet Offensive, or it still did not happen for a while longer as I say, does not really matter.

And I mentioned that the hand we are dealt here is that we may never get to work with that degree of war weariness that existed in the US.

[But for what its worth- I was there and organizing when Tet happened. And I remember most people at that point still being willing to beleive "we" had the upper hand. 'Just a temporary reversal of fortunes'. It was a turning point, and some of the journalists began to realize this was going nowhere. But the hopelessness didnt really set in for a nother year. That sounds like splitting hairs. But a year was a big difference then. And only another year after that was the beginning of the steeper rise in mobilization.]

Fidel

Unionist wrote:
A point Ken misses - never once addresses, in fact - is that the Afghan people will win their own war. It will not be won by well-meaning Canadians "allowing" them their "freedom". Their fate will not be decided by votes in the House of Commons or decisions of NATO or Obama's war room. Our job is to hasten the day of their victory (no matter how much it galls some around here to think in terms of the Afghan people winning) and minimize the slaughter and torture along the road.

I think that as long as we are warmongering here we should consider that Afghans have been kept in chaos and conflict and war for the last 31 years in a row.

When will real lefties join the NDP and demand an end to the phony-baloney god damned war in the Stan, man?

How many more generations of Afghans will have to be sacrificed because of veiled warmongering pap the likes of which you've posted above?

How's about thinkin' of someone else for a change, huh?

 

I don’t need your war machines
I don’t need your ghetto scenes
Colored lights can hypnotize
Sparkle someone else’s eyes
Now woman, get away from me
American woman, mama let me be

Unionist

Fidel wrote:

When will real lefties join the NDP and demand an end to the phony-baloney god damned war in the Stan, man?

I've demanded that Canada, the U.S., and NATO get out. You've demanded that Jack Layton do a Lester Pearson imitation and broker a "peace" there.

Quote:
How many more generations of Afghans will have to be sacrificed because of veiled warmongering pap the likes of which you've posted above?

How's about thinkin' of someone else for a change, huh?

Babble has recently decided to become an anti-imperialist board. To me, that always meant championing the cause of the victims of imperialism and colonialism - whether against Brits or Soviets or U.S. or Canada. One merit of that position is that it's always easy to remember which side you're on. Try it out.

Fidel

Unionist wrote:

Fidel wrote:

When will real lefties join the NDP and demand an end to the phony-baloney god damned war in the Stan, man?

I've demanded that Canada, the U.S., and NATO get out. You've demanded that Jack Layton do a Lester Pearson imitation and broker a "peace" there.

I'm having a difficult time figuring out what where you do stand on this issue. You say you're as left as the NDP is with their position for troop withdrawal. But then the NDP is just showboating according to you when they suggest using international diplomacy to bring Uncle Sam and his former proxies, the Taliban to the negotiating table. And legit peace talks not the clandestine meetings they've been doing over the last several years in swanky hotel rooms of Lahore and Karachi and with Saudi royals "mediating" until now apparently.

 

Unionist wrote:
Babble has recently decided to become an anti-imperialist board. To me, that always meant championing the cause of the victims of imperialism and colonialism - whether against Brits or Soviets or U.S. or Canada. One merit of that position is that it's always easy to remember which side you're on. Try it out.

I don't think babble can decide for anything other than what Afghans want. And before your precious CIA and Brits and Saudi pals began funding right wing Islamist parties in Afghanistan in the 1960s and 70s, left wing parties in that country were in the vast majority. The religious fundamentalist parties were nil next to non-existent. Today they have corrupt stooges on the right and former Mujahideen now in Karzai's colonial administrative government. These scumbags in power in Kabul are the same "freedom fighters" and drug trafficking murders propped up by the CIA and Brits in the 1980s. And they were all part of the same anticommunist jihadis who were trained in the arts of car bombing, and yes, hijacking planes. Political hawks here in the west never severed any ties with these opportunistic scumbags and fundamentalists.

[url=Afghans">http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2010/04/17/afghans-blame-troops-and-tali... blame troops and Taliban[/url]

[url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/15/afghanistan]Afghans want a peace deal, and force cannot provide it[/url] Talk of winning the war is fantasy land. It will take dialogue with the Taliban to pave the way for a political solution 2008

[url=http://asiafoundation.org/in-asia/2010/11/10/survey-reveals-how-much-afg... Reveals How Much Afghans Want Peace and Stability[/url]

[url=http://centralasiaonline.com/cocoon/caii/xhtml/enGB/features/caii/featur... Afghans want peace at any cost[/url]

[url=http://newleftreview.org/A2237]Taliban not offering anyone peace or bread[/url] says Tariq Ali.

[url=Afghans">http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-11-10/news/24824043_1_afghans-haroun-mir... found to want peace with Taliban[/url]

[url=">http://archive.ndp.ca/page/5023][u]Jack Layton calling for UN mediated peace talks with Taliban in 2007[/url]

But Unionist says that babble and the US Military and their own creations, the Taliban, and the Harpers and Liberal Party of Canada as well as himself are all demanding more phony war?

I had no idea that babble was advocating a continuation and extension of phony war in Afghanistan. I think babble should support peace in Afghanistan, and that means legitimate peace talks to end the 31 year-long war and chaos in that country with the US Military and CIA smack dab in the middle of things still.

KenS

From another thread:

Quote:

Prof. Saurette and Ms. Nuamah both advocated variations of progressive populism or economic populism as a narrative antidote. "We need a strong progressive retooling of the value of choice," Prof. Saurette argued. "People are upset with the conditions of their lives."

What does populism have to do with building an anti-war movement?

Certainly there is nothing to be directly applied. Even at its best, populism channels peoples' frustration with the conditions of their own lives into progressive aspirations.

Aside from the fact that this is economics and 'pocketbook' driven- which is not what the anti-war impetus is fundamentally about....

...there is that emphais on existing awareness of and dissatisfactions with what drives their lives.

Is there, or might there be, a populism for the antiwar movement? Or something with equivalent 'hook'?

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

The fact that you see a clear distinction between the NDP and the anti-war movement is revealing. Are you saying the NDP is a pro-war party?

Seems to me that the complaint is that the NDP does not seem to have any clear principles on this issue, nor any kind of clear analysis that would be tools for establishing a clear anti-war stand.

KenS

I deal with facts on the ground. No matter how related the two are or are not, they are different animals.

The NDP doesnt have "any kind of clear analysis that would be tools for establishing a clear anti-war stand."

Do you have any tools to offer for getting somewhere?

Something besides "articulating a clear stand"? ...which is not really an issue for the anti-war movement.

And are you saying that you cannot express yourself without schoolyard taunts?

Cueball Cueball's picture

What taunt?

Is the NDP an antiwar party or not. It does not seem so. If it were, it would be part of the peace movement, and as such their would be no distinction between the two of them. So, talking about the failure of the antiwar movement, as you have been doing would reflect also on the NDP as part of that movement. You seem to want to make a distinction that asserts that the NDP bears no responsibility to share in the criticisms you have made of the subsiding antiwar movement.

KenS

What a big pile of assumptions and attributions. Except for this: "So, talking about the failure of the antiwar movement, as you have been doing would reflect also on the NDP as part of that movement." Correct. And I explicitly said that they have both failed.

Cueball wrote:

What taunt?

Damn, you're right Cueball. How could I not notice that "You are saying that the NDP is a pro-war party?" is posing as a question?

Cueball Cueball's picture

Yes. It is a question. Do you have an answer?

KenS

Its not a question. Its a taunt.

If you want to re-phrase it as "Do you think the NDP is a pro-war party?"... then at least it is unambiguously technicaly in the form of a question.  But there is no reason for anyone to take seriously a deliberate provocation.

Cueball Cueball's picture

In other words. I guess you have decided to argue ad hominem and try and rule the question out of bounds by claiming that I am persecuting you as opposed to coming up with some kind of answer.

jrootham

OK, I will let Ken be the nice guy.

Cueball, fuck off and die, you are being an asshole.

 

KenS

"Persecuting me" sounds a bit overblown.

jrootham

To the extent that political parties are part of movements.  Yes.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

No answer yet to the question. Is the NDP part of the antiwar movement or not?

Cueball Cueball's picture

So, is it an antiwar party or not?

jrootham

What part of yes don't you understand?

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Ok, so if you think the NDP is an antiwar party, then by rights, it is also part of the antiwar movement. Therefore, KenS's assertion that the antiwar movement is to blame for the subsidence of the antiwar movement applies to the NDP, as much as any part of the antiwar movement. The idea that the antiwar movement is some sort of extraneous thing, separate from the NDP and that the NDP has no responsibility for keeping the movement going forward is false.

That is, if you truly believe the NDP is an antiwar party, which I don't. People from the NPD arguing that the lack of attention that the NDP is paying to the issue, is a result of slacking of efforts of the antiwar movement, and talking about it as if it something outside of the NDP that influences the NDP, and not an integral part of NDP make me think otherwise.

If the NDP had a stance that was truly one held by the antiwar movement, the NDP would be driving forward on the issues, regardless of external influences on the NDP.

Pogo Pogo's picture

Do you mean anti-Afghan war or anti war in general (pacifist)?

Fidel

I don't think one can be both an effective peace monger and completely under Uncle Sam's spell that says the 9/11 pretext for war on democracy is legit.

How can we defend over a billion mostly moderate and peaceful Muslims while, and at the same time, we run around like mealy mouthed Liberals agreeing with political conservatives at every turn concerning the alleged legitimacy of this illegal and immoral war?

jrootham

Political parties are not parts of movements.  KenS is very explicit about both the party and the movement having failed.

Fidel, please quote me or anybody else saying that the Afghan war is legitimate.  If you are referring (as I suspect you are) to the fact that the airplane collisions led to the collapse of the WTC, such a fact has no bearing on the legitimacy of the Afghan war.

 

Maysie Maysie's picture

jrootham, don't tell any babbler to fuck off and die.

And Cueball, you were being a bit baiting and you know it.

 

Unionist

jrootham wrote:

 

Fidel, please quote me or anybody else saying that the Afghan war is legitimate.

Let me facilitate your request and Fidel's job.

The Afghan war is legitimate.

The struggle of the Afghan people to destroy and expel the invaders is legitimate.

Furthermore, I support it, without reservation.

As I did 40 years ago when the people of South-East Asia were fighting (successfully) to destroy the U.S. invaders, their allies, and their puppets.

Now, go crazy.

 

NDPP

omit double

NDPP

KenS wrote:

NoDifferencePartyPooper wrote:

Thanks a lot Jack, Bob. As long as the Canadian anti-war movement continues to trust such people, there won't be any movement worthy of the name or calling. Out of NATO! Out of Afghanistan! Out of Canada's bought and sold, bait and switch, run with hare hunt with hounds, pro-Imperialist political parties!

I appreciate all the links you have been posting in the various threads, and the quick little bits from each.

But... For this thread, I think it is the comment I quoted that belongs, and maybe leave out the repetitons of links that are in closely related threads.

I had not seen the immediately above link/story before. But how does that relate to the discussion here in this thread?

NDPP

stop believing the lies of such people for a start...

Frmrsldr

Cueball wrote:

So, is it an antiwar party or not?

You could ask the reverse: "Is the NDP part of the War Party?"

Frmrsldr

Cueball wrote:

Ok, so if you think the NDP is an antiwar party, then by rights, it is also part of the antiwar movement.

Although I agree, at a general level, with the other premises and the conclusion of the argument, I disagree with this premise.

Being an "antiwar party" is not (of necessity) identical to being part of the "antiwar movement." One does not necessarily follow from the other.

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