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Afghanistan debate (Hillier, new troops)

jade_lee

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Will Nato win the peace in Afghanistan? It appears to me that it all goes well in the minds of Nato as long as the ruling government in Afghanistan is amiable towards all Nato strategies. Afghanistan has a history of doing just that, doing what invaders want them to do, but does this really serve the people of Afghanistan well? Now Nato, specifically Canada, believes that 1000 more soldiers will make a big difference in achieving their goals of reconstruction and fighting off terrorists. Personally I don't even think Nato knows exactly who their enemy is and as far as reconstruction goes.....I heard yesterday on the news about how the Canadians were supervising the construction of a road, the commentator for Nato suggested that the work is being done mostly by hard labour instead of using the technology and machinery developed to build roads quickly as we use here in north America. How foolish is that? Why spend all that hard work and time building a road when it could be done in less than half the time and other projects could be initiated? Does Nato really think this hard labour will benifit people who have lived lives so difficult that we here could never imagine? What lesson are they teaching? What goals are they achieving by not putting forth a wiser plan?
I just picture a 1000 troops in scarborough to deal with unrest and in that perspective I don't see this number accomplishing much.
 

Brandon716

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1,000 new NATO troops will have its tactical advantages in select areas, but it won't passify and democratize a nation. This is the biggest mistake of western nations since the dawn of the age of terrorism (or whatever you want to call it). Middle Eastern nations were tribal until the 20th century more or less, with some nations more developed than others. Afghanistan isn't one of those nations, its been fairly tribal throughout its history. Most of these people have no concept of nation-states and live a society we cannot "fight" or "teach" with a few thousand troops for a few years.

Like I need to tell any of you this, but its good to be repeated.
 

jade_lee

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Rick Hillier walks away: strike three and you're out!

Upon hearing the news that Gen. Hilliier has resigned as the commander of our armed forces , a day early, according to the person who had dinner with him Monday night, one has to wonder what the hell is he thinking.
Perhaps I don't think like the average talking head I see on the television or read on the net because Hillier struck me as rather simple with his initial comments on the war started in Afghanistan. The counter productive comments like calling the enemy "scumbags" was a bushish way to provoke support from some but surely not many.
As news has streamed out about the Afghan war, it's apparent that the enemy comes from various directions in their society, it is illusively dynamic, and in fact in some cases are considered our back up forces. The enemy of my enemy is my friend does not clearly tell us about who the scumbags Hillier refers to are nor did I think he knew who he was talking about given what his sources of information were at that time. That was strike one.

Strike two for Hillier is the fact that he advocated for more war expenditure. War is a racket, he of all people should know this.

Strike three will occur in future if he runs as a political leader. He walked away from a war in progress. Any person taking over his position will have to deal with this new role which is a learning curve. Bad timing to walk away. I don't care how the media spins this. In some ways I often thought Bush was re elected in the states because people decided that in war changing leaders is very risky on a political level. Generals who quite midway through wars they are involved in is risky and it leads me to think there is something bigger about to happen. Call me paranoid but this war game Canada is playing with Nato appears to be stacked against not only the Afgans but our young soldiers risking life and limb.
 

Hydrogen

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Actually, Hillier is retiring in July.

As a military commander, it would not be at all unusual for him to advocate for more military spending. This country actually had, for a very long time, a very poor record of military spending and preparedness. What this actually meant was that our troops had poor equipment that would result in their lives being put at risk, regardless of the mission.

As for calling an enemy "scumbag," I presume he meant, among other things, the enemy that beat and killed the civilian population of Afghanistan, denied girls education and blocked women from medical care - not to mention the introduction of a justice system that at best dated back to the 12th century.

Afghanistan is a mess and will be so for a long time. Hillier is hardly a central figure in how that nightmare came to be.
 

jade_lee

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Our military history suggests that we have always spent less than the norm on war and have done well in our missions despite the fact that our nation wishes not to glorify war with the new trinkets offered up by the war industry.
Scumbags are everywhere and not just in Afghanistan. The oppression and torture of people you describe as the reason for fighting scumbags in Afghanistan could be said the same for the scumbags all over the planet. I expect more out of the mouth of a leader into a war that has no end and no clear focus.
I forget now what else you typed as you responded to my thread. But the fact is, Hillier did not accomplish much and now he leaves early, that does not qualify heroic in my books. He was paid to do a job and that job has not been exceptional on his part so let the talking head and his supporters cheer him on, I see him as a someone who promoted prolonging a battle that can't continue without extreme forms of diplomacy which have yet to be planned for.
 

Admiral Beez

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I have no issue with calling the enemy scumbags. I'm sure he actually uses more colourful language. If they're trying to kill Canadians or allies, then we should kill the scumbags first.

Fancy that, our military commander advocating for increased military spending. Our lads have been using old kit for years. If we're going to send them to these awful places to clean up other peoples' (be it Afghan, American, whatever...) messes, then let's give them the kit to do it well, and come home alive and well. I have no problem with the government buying new tanks, armour, combat systems, ships and planes, etc.

Hillier will never want to be in politics. After you're the leader of an army, running and then working as a lowly MP would seem like a complete waste of time. He's going to return to the rock and play golf, along with consult for RMC and other military organizations.
 

Hydrogen

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Our military history suggests that we have always spent less than the norm on war and have done well in our missions despite the fact that our nation wishes not to glorify war with the new trinkets offered up by the war industry.
Talk to some of the soldiers who have been sent to various locations around the world - for peace-keeping and other missions - and ask them what it was like to drive around in vehicles that broke down constantly and were not bullet-proof.

I have a friend who just retired after 23 years in the service. He was a maintenance technician for Sea King helicopters. They were in operation before he joined the Forces, and they are still in operation after his retirement. That's a little too long. It is putting people's lives at risk.

And Canadian troops are getting flown around in helicopters used by other countries - some of which were sold to those nations when it was deemed that these machines were no longer necessary for the Forces.

Yeah, scumbags are in many places around the world, but I don't see your point. Are you suggesting nothing be done anywhere? It is any easy stance to take, but a rather cold one. Taking action of any kind is always difficult, and always fraught with risk that something will go wrong. But if one chooses never to do anything about any risk or threat, then one cannot ever complain.
 

Ummagumma66

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I am all for more money for the armed forces after all one needs equipment to fight (and to come home alive), and really thought that Hillier was the perfect man for the job of leading our army, I may not agree with the reasons for this war, but our troops are there now, and deserve my support, and they shall have it. and the scumbag comment; anyone who rapes and murders is a scumbag, plain and simple.
 

jade_lee

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Call me naive but can any of us really deny that our military has been wasting money like other ministries but multiple that amount by 10,000 because the Military has guns!!?

The facts coming out now suggest that as early as 2006 our military knew that more troops were priority one but that was not communicated in any significant way, nor did the troops arrive. That is real danger we have witnessed, there is no technology better than human, that's the way it is. Playing politics with the counting of soldiers is somehow insulting.

I would suggest that there are few Canadians who have not shed tears for the loss of life due to this war. I am talking about weeping! As far as answers or new viable solutions. To suggest that attacking Afghanistan like a wild LAPD drug bust but with bombs that did indeed blow their socks off and more would be too 20/20 of the hindsight kind but hopefully by now the entire thinking world knows that these people involved have to sit down and talk. And more importantly Afghans will have to control their own nation as they see fit with the help and guidance of people who are able to access resources.

I didn't start this thread to completely condemn Hillier, I suppose I don't think this conflict has produced any real heros other than the people who are still in Afghanistan trying to react to the damage.
 

Hydrogen

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Concerning your first point, rather than anyone denying the military is wasting money, how about you proving the military is wasting money? I'm not saying that it isn't, but just tossing an accusation out there is a little lame.

The military does not determine its funding. As to the rest of your second point, what is it that you are trying to say?

Third point, many people here (in Canada) don't understand what is happening in Afghanistan. Your characterization of what is going on appears to be more emotional than factual. Of course there have been forms of outreach between different factions, but it might surprise you that some people there actually don't want to talk.
 

jade_lee

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War is emotional because death is emotional.
As far as my claim that our military has wasted a great deal of money...the facts are out there. And I would go even further to suggest that police waste a great deal of money as well....the military and paramilitary are famous for waste. If you are suggesting I provide evidence I would recommend that one only has to look at their current spending habits and compare to those over the past 3 decades and then look what they have to show for it......that information is out there. The reason I bring up the police budget is because I am familiar with that fiasco. Most government agencies are real good at keeping the numbers high so that the trough never gets too little added.
As for most people don't know what's going on in Agfhanistan, I disagree, there have been several informed people producing good information for our consumption and upon review I think what's going on in Afghanistan is a proxy war and the people who really know what's going on are using foreign soldiers ie NATO for their own devious ends. The people of Afghanistan don't know any better as they have been subjected to far worse over time and I would not doubt that this and previous generations of Afghans are in shock and have no idea how to adapt to a modern dynamic world.
Money and education is what these people need along with some intelligent leaders to help them achieve a sense of normalcy......pushing our culture on them as well as piecemeal reconstruction only confuses the hell out of them I would think.
 

Hydrogen

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Concerning the issue of the military wasting a great deal of money, you have evaded the issue. What are you making reference to specifically?

Current spending on the military is high because of the events taking place in Afghanistan. However, at the same time, there has been considerable spending on upgrades and the purchases of new equipment in order to replace unserviceable or out of date technology. This is essential for any functioning military.

If Afghanistan is a proxy war, who - or what - is it a proxy for?

As for whether people in this country (Canada) fully understand what is going on in Afghanistan, I'll stand by what I said. You've responded by making a vague reference to people producing information. What information?

Your other assertions appear to be quite muddled. What "devious" ends are being pursued by NATO (and you are aware that Canada is a member of NATO)? Also, you portray the Afghans as being somehow backward and incapable of adapting in terms of thinking. The issue is not their ability to live in a "modern dynamic world," but that they have been living in a war-torn country since the 1970's. The Afghans I know have adapted quite well to our modern and dynamic world, regardless of how incapable you might think they are in doing so. I highly doubt anyone is "pushing our culture" upon them. Maybe you want to explain what you mean by such an accusation.

Believe it or not, rebuilding this country will take a very long time. Overcoming tensions between local leaders, building up confidence and respect in a central government, the large-scale reconstructing of public and civil institutions and the like will take time. This is a country that has had its most basic infrastructure destroyed. Before any of this can be a success, there is a need for security and a sense of safety for the population, hence the presence of military troops from NATO.
 

Brian69

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Hillier was one of the best things to happen to the military in awhile. I remember going the RCMI in the 80's and 90's a few times where the mood was one of frustration at the lack of respect for the armed forces both in Ottawa and in the mindset of the public. The military was almost treated like an embarrassment, and the low morale and "us or them" mentality from the military towards the politicians (and the fickle public at times) was a byproduct. Not that the military didn't make mistakes themselves, the biggest being the Somalia affair. But an entire unit was disbanded over that one, something that you don't see every day.

I'm not for starting wars where they are not needed, nor am I for rah-rah grandstanding or excessive flag-waving. Even if you take the more recent publicity efforts of the Canadian military into account they don't compare with the military parades, flag-waving, spending or lobbying that many other nations possess, and I'm not just talking about our neighbours to the south, though they are a good example.

Calling for greater expenditure is necessary when the Canadian military is involved half way around the world for an extended period and is still saddled with a lot of outdated equipment. Spending on unmanned reconnaissance planes that will take pilots out of harm's way is also a good thing. I see more of my tax dollars being wasted on other things that matter less so I'm not about to call the military out over that one. Now, if the military budget was in the hundreds of billions I might have a different opinion.

As far as the "scumbags" comment goes, the Taliban and it's supporters might come from varied backgrounds (including Pashtuns and a number of foreign fighters) but they are still going after civilians as much as they are going after our military, so by my reckoning that constitutes a group of scumbags.
 

afransen

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"Now, if the military budget was in the hundreds of billions I might have a different opinion."

I hope before then. For Canada to spend $100 billion per year on the military would challenge the USA's status as one of the highest military spending countries in the world.

Anyway, I strongly support the war in Afghanistan. I think Canada has a vital role to play. The problem was that along the way, this war became a straight shooting war with little happening in the way of assistance or development. It seems that they have realised the error of this strategy and have refocused on development. Harper's pitch to Canadians fell completely flat. Canadians aren't stupid, and we know this war will do nothing to improve our national security--quite the contrary. Canadians want to be in Afghanistan so girls can go to school, fewer women will die in childbirth thanks to Canadian-sponsored midwives, and men have jobs so they won't have to take up arms (or perpetrate suicide bombings) so their families can eat. Afghanistan needs our help in building institutions, and building a sustainable economy. They don't need us standing on streetcorners with rifles--that's just a means to an end.
 

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