Expect Canadian Troops to Stay in Afghanistan After 2011

-- Download Expect Canadian Troops to Stay in Afghanistan After 2011 as PDF --

The National Post appears to have begun supporting Canada’s military presence in Afghanistan beyond the end 2011. Don’t expect us to leave. At all.

Do you remember when we were absolutely, positively going to leave by 2009? So naive. And do you remember that we went there to catch that Osama bin Laden fellow?

This week we see the jingoistic tone emerging in the National Post which can create cover for a decision by an imperialist Harper and a likely nod of support from his Con-Lib coalition co-leader, imperialist Ignatieff:

  • On Tuesday we read on the front page, above the fold, that a mother of a dead Canadian soldier wants us to keep fighting. [see below]
  • In the same article we read the word “adamant” to describe Harper’s commitment for our troops to withdraw before the end of 2011. Adamant makes Harper look like he doth protest too much.

And today we have a war correspondent style review of our engagement there.

Also, a couple months ago in McLean’s we read about some key cracks in our commitment to leave next year, and their resulting developments:

  • The March 2008 motion is for Canadian troops to leave Kandahar, not Afghanistan.
  • Ignatieff is suggesting we leave some troops behind to train Afghans, and I suppose quietly “advise” them as well.
  • Peter McKay called that idea interesting, but in an attempt to appear to disagree with those Liberals, he says the government will respect the “letter of the motion” which, again, only requires us to leave our mission in Kandahar.

Ultimately, expect NATO or Karzai to request that when we leave Kandahar we step up to some new mission elsewhere in the country. And please be disabused of the notion that we’re actually committed to leaving. It just means you’ll be dizzy from the spin.

Consider the excerpts from those two stories below [emphasis is mine, unless noted]

The mother of a soldier who died in Afghanistan made a poignant appeal yesterday to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to keep Canadian troops here beyond next summer.

“I think the military is doing a fine job and he should reconsider pulling out next year.”…

The mission in Kandahar is scheduled to end in 2011. The deadline was set in a March 2008 vote in the House of Commons. Nothing in the House motion would prevent Canada from assuming a different military mission elsewhere in Afghanistan, but until now the Prime Minister has been adamant that all Canadian troops will be out of the country by the end of next year.


And some more insightful and subtle analysis of the vibrant loopholes in this whole issue from John Geddes at Maclean’s:

The Liberals propose ending the Kandahar combat mission as scheduled, but leaving some of our troops to train Afghan forces elsewhere in the country.

MacKay allows that the Liberal idea is “all very interesting.” However, he stresses that the government remains bound by the March 13, 2008, House of Commons motion that set that 2011 exit date in the first place. “We’ll respect the letter of the motion,” MacKay says.

But the letter of the motion, it seems to me, is often lost in this discussion. Prime Minister Stephen Harper suggests the House demanded a complete end to the Canadian military mission in Afghanistan. Harper reiterated that by now familiar interpretation as recently as June 4.

That’s not what the motion says. Its key clause dictates that the government must “notify NATO that Canada will end its presence in Kandahar as of July 2011, and, as of that date, the redeployment of Canadian Forces troops out of Kandahar and their replacement by Afghan forces start as soon as possible, so that it will have been completed by December 2011.” (My emphasis.)

As far as I can see, there’s nothing in the motion that says Canadian troops must clear out of Afghanistan altogether, just Kandahar. If the government plans to “respect the letter of the motion,” then, that would seem to me to allow a fair bit of flexibility.

The following two tabs change content below.

Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website, dgiVista.org.

Latest posts by Stephen Elliott-Buckley (see all)

7 thoughts on “Expect Canadian Troops to Stay in Afghanistan After 2011”

  1. Violence solves nothing. It masks or postpones the social ills which violence itself, more often than not, creates.

    My sympathies lay with the deluded young soldiers who have been lied to, mis-informed and filled with propaganda by the state, our schools, the media and often their equally mind-numbed parents.

    My contempt lays with the ill-informed, immoral and unethical robber-baron hoods in government who bend over on command for the moneymen.

    The empire has over 700 international military bases in over 130 nations: http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0115-08.htm Canada is up to its pathetic neck as an accomplice to these barbaric crimes against humanity being perpetrated relentlessly since 1913.

    The Canadian government, full of sociopathic misfits and 3rd rate thinkers, lickspittle to the Empire, a nation that fails to protect its own citizens (hardly surprising since it does not give a shit about people), is a disgrace to any clear-thinking individual with any human compassion at all.

    Wasn’t there 1.1 billion dollars stolen from the people to finance security for a weekend, G20 political bender? And still 75 rabble-rousers shut the state’s mouth for 24 hrs by breaking a few windows and burning a prop-car. Then the state bared its teeth and began busting heads, essentially for nothing more than a hangnail in terms of misadventure and social unrest.

    Meanwhile, our jackass government claims it is fighting terrorism. But it never wonders why the people — having their infrastructure, schools, hospitals, families, friends and communities all destroyed by us so their resources can be looted for our gain, dare fight back?

    Rather than extending a hand to lift these people out of the medieval age which their adherence to an old book has them trapped under, we rob them and F-up their world. This is just sick, demented, selfish, terroristic behaviour. THAT is your Canadian government, folks.

    I am so tired of these thugs parading behind the shield of government, operating like mafia gangsters, extorting the efforts of not only our citizens and our communal property but having the sanctimonious gall to do it elsewhere, and all in our name.

    This is our fault, Canadians. Wake up and learn what is happening.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.