Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Senator And Body Bags

To be honest, I am tired of the Windsor Star giving up so much space to Senator Colin Kenny.

He is the Chair of the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence.

We in Windsor should know him well because he has mouthed off on the border file. I have written about him and his Senate Reports before. Here are a few instances
  • March 29, 2007 "The Real News About Senator Kenny's Report,"
  • "September 11, 2006, Journalism 101: The Windsor Star And The Border" and
  • "March 10, 2006 "A Redundant Border."

He is the fellow who supports building a second bridge away from the existing bridge remember for redundancy purposes yet he also favours reverse customs which solves the redundancy problem! I guess this concept is too hard for him to grasp.

As I wrote recently about the Senator:

  • "Senator Kenny should be ashamed of himself. He was no different than Orson Welles telling us that the Martians were coming.

    Remember what the Senator's Report said:

    "The type of cautious, step-by-step, approach currently underway is clearly the most intelligent approach for non-urgent projects. This is not one of them. Windsor-Detroit is of such strategic importance to both Canada and the United States that fixing it requires war-time urgency.

    What the process fails to take into account is the possibility that the Partnership’s timelines are unrealistic and likely to slip and that a crossing could be permanently disrupted between now and the completion of a new crossing."

    Well several years later and the DRIC project has just slipped to 2015, at the least. He should be shocked and be demanding armed guards at the border shouldn't he. Instead, all he can say is:

    "I'm very concerned that it's been delayed past 2013 but if it's coming it's very good news for people in southern Ontario and Windsor in particular."

Well the Star has given him more space so he can pontificate about the war in Afghanistan.

  • "Success in Afghanistan 'pipe dream'"

Oh Senator, do you really think we are that naive? Do you really believe that we thought our soldiers were being sent there for the noble reason you set out:

  • "The rationale behind Canada's military foray into Afghanistan under the Martin Liberals and then the Harper Conservatives was simple: Canadian troops would help contain the Taliban until the Government of Afghanistan could mature to the point that it would stabilize this nation after endless decades of war.

    Unfortunately, the initial assumption of Canadian political and military leaders that the Taliban was a spent force proved to be a pipe dream...

    The western world's one hope in Afghanistan in the 21st century was that the ruthless Taliban government -- ousted in 2001 by the Americans and their warlord allies -- had not been popular with many Afghans. So if most Afghans were to quickly fall in love with democracy, as well as the democratically-elected government of Hamid Karzai, and a reasonable level of stability could be maintained while this love affair took root ... Canada at least had a chance of helping to create a less threatening, less terrible Afghanistan.

    The payoff for a winning roll of the dice would be enormous: the weakening of radical Islam; improved chances of achieving stability in nuclear-armed Pakistan; at least some disruption of the international drug trade; a staunching of the perception that the authority of the western world is on the wane; and lastly, improved lives for millions of Afghans, most notably women."

Perhaps that was true at first but it is not now and the Senator knows it! The purpose for the mission has morphed into an economic one. Realpolitik at its finest.

He states:

  • "In Canada, there is a strange hush in the land. Many Canadians identify strongly with families who have lost loved ones in the cause, and one senses that most of them don't want to confront the fact that these lives may have been wasted.

    Perhaps that is why Prime Minister Stephen Harper avoids the subject of Afghanistan like Superman avoids kryptonite -- he wants the quiet to continue. While President Obama argues publicly for his "necessary war," and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown makes speeches defending Britain's presence in Afghanistan, Harper avoids talking to Canadians about what he is hoping to accomplish there and what would constitute success."

Of course the PM is silent. The public would be outraged if they knew what I suspect is the real reason we are still fighting in Afghanistan. Heck, if the Brits can release a bomber for economic reasons, why can't we follow in the path of the Mother Country:

  • "New statements by both a top U.K. official and one of the country's largest oil companies fed speculation by opposition politicians and victims' families that the recent release of the convicted Lockerbie bomber is entangled with the country's pursuit of oil interests in Libya."

Oh please the Senator, knows why we are still fighting the Taliban and it has nothing to do with building a democracy there but with building the DRIC Bridge here! Go and reread my BLOG January 20, 2009, "Political Decisions: Do Dollars And Bodies Equal A DRIC Bridge."

  • How about dead bodies? Would that concern you?

    Take a look at this story and wonder how anyone could think what is being proposed or say it publicly:

    "Blueprint for getting Obama's ear: Keep our troops in Afghanistan

    Supporting U.S. in spreading global democracy will be a key to a better relationship, a policy paper says

    Mike Blanchfield, Canwest News Service

    Canada's laundry list for Barack Obama's arrival in the White House next month is ambitious: boosting trade across a dysfunctional border, a continental energy and climate-change accord, and halting the economic meltdown.

    But if Ottawa has any hope of getting the ear of the world's most popular politician, it will have to think big and act even bigger. And that means dumping plans for the large-scale withdrawal of Canadian Forces from Afghanistan in 2011.

    That was the underlying message this past week when dozens of senior bureaucrats, diplomats and analysts from Canada and the U.S. met in Ottawa to discuss a "blueprint" for getting the Canadian government on the radar of the incoming Obama administration."

As can be seen by the Obama snubs of Harper, that tactic has failed miserably. There is no DRIC bridge and there may never be one. Protectionism is still around. And so are the bodybags as we THOUGHT BIG!

So now Senator Kenny can say:

  • "I have long been wary of our military mission to Afghanistan and, along with my colleagues on the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, have in two reports expressed doubts about its sustainability after three visits to the field."

He can now take credit for this:

  • "Our troops have performed magnificently under conditions much more odious than any of us would have predicted. They persevered as a tiny band against huge odds, and the lack of success of far greater numbers of U.S. troops demonstrates what an impossible mission they were faced with.

    But we are not achieving anything close to our objectives in Afghanistan, and there is no sign that we will. Why would we continue to risk lives under the pretense that there is good news around the corner.

    If Prime Minister Harper has good news, he should share it. Otherwise, he should do the right thing, and start moving toward a word that no soldier likes to hear, but that is sometimes the only intelligent thing to do. That word is retreat."

Oh well, perhaps the Senator's comments will help prepare the public for Harper pulling out troops before the next election. You know, being tough against the Americans, listening to public opinion especially in Quebec which has been against sending the troops overseas

  • "This past week in Quebec, the news was dominated by the departure for Afghanistan of the first group of soldiers from the Quebec-based Royal 22nd Regiment.

    Their departure followed a month-long public relations blitz by the federal government and the Canadian Forces to regain the hearts and minds of Quebecers, as their own sons and daughters prepared to go into battle.

    They are leaving at a critical juncture in Canada's involvement in that distant conflict. While the situation on the ground is growing increasingly perilous for the troops, the home front also is growing hazardous for the Conservative government as opposition seems to be gathering steam.

    Moreover, the inevitable casualties of the conflict will soon begin to return in coffins to their hometowns in Quebec, where opposition to the mission is highest.

    So much has been made of this opposition, in fact, that the Taliban are expected to target the Van Doos intentionally in the hope of driving Canadians out of their country."

Think I am being cynical. You better believe it!