Canada in Afghanistan

September 29, 2007

I am always pleased to find pamphlets in my mailbox from my MP David Anderson. Perhaps it is because he confirms my belief that he has no problem being careless with the facts.

In his last pamphlet (fall 2007) one page is titled “Canadian Forces in Afghanistan.”  Here Anderson wastes no time getting down to misleading his constituents. His first sentence is “Canada is in Afghanistan at the request of their democratically elected government.”  This is not true.  A few Canadian troops were deployed in Afghanistan as early as Oct. 2001 but most of them were deployed in early 2002. Afghanistan is currently led by President Hamid Karzai, who was elected in Oct. 2004. So, Mr. Anderson, what were the Canadian forces doing in Afghanistan for three years, while they were waiting for the invitation from this “democratically elected “ government?

His very next paragraph is another whopper.  Here he says, “Canada has joined the United Nations-sanctioned mission in Afghanistan …..”  This is not true either.  There are no UN resolutions authorizing the United States to invade Afghanistan.  There are several UN resolutions related to Afghanistan that were passed after the invasion, but this is just another example of the UN trying to deal with the mess caused by the illegal  invasion.

In his next paragraph Anderson says, “Helping Afghanistan continues the Canadian tradition of taking an active role to bring lasting peace in a part of the world that has seen turmoil and upheaval.”  Does Anderson not know that a big part of the turmoil and upheaval in that part of the world was (is) caused by our friend and ally the United States of America?   Has Anderson forgotten that his party supported the US illegal invasion of Iraq? Does he not know that the US is now threatening to attack Iran?  Has he not figured out that our having troops in Afghanistan has freed up more US troops to do their dirty work in the very part of the world Anderson is concerned about?  Does Anderson know that in the past the United States has allied itself with Osama bin Laden and the Taliban—the very forces we are fighting in Afghanistan?

The pamphlet also lists the good things Canadians are accomplishing in Afghanistan in areas such as health, education and clean water etc. This should be put in perspective. These things have come at the cost of over 70 Canadian lives and many more seriously wounded. It has also come at the cost of tens of thousands of Afghani civilians killed or wounded.

There are financial costs too. In August 2006, the Polaris Institute estimated that the counter‑insurgency mission would cost Canadian taxpayers around $4 billion over two years. That is $2 billion per year. This compares to the $1 billion, over ten years that Canada is providing for reconstruction and development in Afghanistan.  This works out to $100 million per year ‑‑ or five per cent of what we’re spending on the military mission. So for every $5 we are spending on reconstruction in Afghanistan we are spending $95 fighting.  There are many countries where we could reverse this and spend $5 to put $95 towards aid and development and we could do it without having some one trying to kill us for our troubles.

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