Now They Tell Us
Somehow I think I’ve heard all this before. But when and where? And who said all this back when? And why should it sound so familiar?
First, some senators called him a “stooge,” of and for American interests. Foreign Minister Peter MacKay disagreed, vehemently. Actually, what MacKay said about Afghan leader Hamid Karzai was that “first of all, I don't believe President Karzai is a stooge” [cited in Mike Blanchfield’s ‘Senators Grill MacKay over Afghanistan Policy,’ National Post
, 30 May 2006. Story posted at http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=e0b1cfcb-e20b-4b68-9e81-bf7a2b4a0d41&k=22656
]. All the name-calling came about when some senators held hearings about our policy in Central Asia. According to at least one report, the scene, at one point, looked something like this:
‘Insults, both deliberate and unintended, along with partisan sniping and skepticism marred Senate hearings on Afghanistan on Monday, as one senator called President Hamid Karzai a “'stooge”' and Canada's foreign affairs minister suggested Afghans live in houses unfit for cattle.’ [Cited in http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=e0b1cfcb-e20b-4b68-9e81-bf7a2b4a0d41&k=22656].
MacKay kept insisting that great progress, much rebuilding, was and is taking place across Afghanistan. Supposedly the membership of the Senate National Security and Defence Committee remained at least somewhat skeptical, perhaps after hearing testimony from one general who argued Canadian troops would be needed for at least twenty years. And one diplomatic source estimated it might just be “five generations” before the country would resemble anything fixed [http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=e0b1cfcb-e20b-4b68-9e81-bf7a2b4a0d41&k=22656&p=2].
Meanwhile, on 30 May 2006, Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor spoke before a Commons Committee, dropping the bombshell that Canada was in fact not at war in Afghanistan. So what are Canadians doing in the Central Asian country? According to O’Connor, “The military has to conduct a range of activities. I don't consider this war…We're engaged in helping people move products around, we're helping them build houses, we're helping advise the police. And when we're attacked, we attack back [cited in Jim Bronskill’s ‘O’Connor Defends Role in Afghanistan,” The London Free Press
, 31 May 2006. Story posted at http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/News/National/2006/05/31/1607410-sun.html
And in the very latest on the Afghanistan front, there’s news that our Commander-in-Chief, Governor-General Michaelle Jean has asked not once, but twice, to visit the Kandahar region. Both times she has been turned down. It seems “Jean was told conditions on the ground were too dangerous to permit a trip to the region” [cited in Alexander Panneta’s ‘Jean Told Not to Visit Troops in Afghanistan,’ CP, 30 May 2006. Story republished by The Toronto Star
, 31 May 2006, and posted at http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&pubid=968163964505&cid=1149027010275&col=968705899037&call_page=TS_World&call_pageid=968332188854&call_pagepath=News/World
Again, just what are Canadians doing in Afghanistan?
Posted by Stan Markotich
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