Thursday, February 22, 2007


Blair Announces Troop Withdrawal In Iraq

“The announcement…comes as the U.S. is implementing an increase of 21,000 more troops for Iraq — putting Washington on an opposite track as its main coalition allies.

South Korea plans to halve its 2,300-member contingent in the northern city of Irbil by April, and is under pressure from parliament to devise a plan for a complete withdrawal by year's end. Polish President Lech Kaczynski has said his country's troops would stay no longer than December.”

Denmark Pulling Out, Lithuania Considers Leaving

“Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday that his country will withdraw its 460-member contingent from southern Iraq by August and transfer security responsibilities to Iraqi forces.

And in Lithuania, a government spokeswoman said the government there is strongly considering a withdrawal.”

Italian Leader Quits Over Afghan Mission

“A parliamentary vote on sending troops to Afghanistan and expanding a U.S. military base led to the collapse of Italy's government yesterday, a sign of the political schisms the U.S.-led war against Islamist terrorism is creating in Europe.”

Whether a partner of the United States in Iraq or a NATO partner in Afghanistan, there seems to be a trend here. Cut your losses. Listen to your constituents. These “wars” are not winnable.

And then there’s Canada:

Documents Show Troops Will Be in Afghanistan in 2011, NDP MP says

"The NDP accused the government yesterday of harbouring a hidden agenda in Afghanistan, pointing to internal documents showing planned rotations for the Canadian Forces in Kandahar into 2011.

Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor said the Canadian Forces are not committed to those internal plans.

"The government has said that we are committed to the end of February, 2009. No further decision has been made. The government, when it finds it appropriate, will make the decision on what happens if and when the events occur after 2009," he said."

Wake up, Canada…


Anonymous said...

"Cut your losses. Listen to your constituents. These “wars” are not winnable. "


I can't believe how long this has lasted already. These countries, for whatever reason, are not ready or prepared for western style government and no amount of troops will change that.

Beth said...

trish: Reminiscent of Viet Nam, right? So many lives lost...and for what?

patricia said... long as Harper is in power I can't see things changing any time soon, either...

I really feel for all the troops over there. But I don't support the continuation of this nonsense.

Beth said...

patricia: I was going to add in a mini-rant re: Harper but then figured it would never be "mini."
And, you're right - one can support the troops without supporting the "nonsense."

Jackie said...

I guess I am alone in believing that all countries have a duty to ensure that the Taliban do not continue their oppression of women and that females in Afghanistan have a right to education etc. etc. The Afghanistan mission is probably not winnable and I am not sure what the answer is but I don't think that walking away from it will do the Afghan people any good. The mission is after all a NATO mission and either member states fulfill their obligations to NATO or we come clean and say that NATO is not a workable institution. Sad state of affairs.

As for Harper, I am also certain, that at the moment, I would rather have him at the helm than any of the other so-called leaders. Let's get real - Dion and Layton are not exactly stellar examples of leaders - inexperienced, bumbling idiots - both of them.
As for Layton - oh forget it - there is so much wrong with his view of the world that it would take too long. Dion is making the same mistake as Martin did - he thinks he has a divine right to rule just because he is a Liberal. There is a complete lack of logic to his recent views on certain issues and legislation.

Beth said...

I'm not totally opposed to helping in Afghanistan - but only with the right equipment (as in, up-to-date and functional), the required number of troops to get the job done and the participation of all NATO countries. If you don't have all that behind you, you shouldn't be there. It's a no-win situation.
And, still, despite Dion's flaws, I'd rather have him as leader. I don't agree with so many of Harper's policies and beliefs.

Nomad said...


I can't see out of my bubble!!!

Got any croissants!?

oreneta said...

Iraq and Afganistan are two totally different issues, and we have to deal with them seperately...Canada didn't go to Iraq, thank god, and whatever you could say about Cretien, and there is lots, at least he didn't take us there.

I think that the UN as a whole should have stepped into Afganistan YEARS ago when the Taliban took over and began to abuse every single woman and girl in that country. Literally. THAT is when the world as a community should have stepped up and said no, and made it stick. We wouldn't have had the world trade center and all the related crap. Most likely Iraq may have been avoided as well. Most of all though we would have know that the rights or women EVERYWHERE are respected and enforced. The well being of their families going along tightly with that.

The Taliban, well, I need not go there. It will be too long a post. I know Beth, that you have personal connections with the Afganistan issue, which makes this trickier to write, because if it was my boy....but can we really leave those women to starve and suffer? I know it is questionable that we are even helping, but can we ethically just walk away?

I see a really big difference here between Vietnam and Afganistan. Although that may be a function of my age, I think that the ethical issues are clearer. This is not an ideological battle but I hope an attempt to maintain basic rights for half the people of that country.

Unfortunately I don't think the politicians are seeing it that way. I think they are more interested in keeping it from being a haven for terrorist, but the two need not be mutually exclusive.

Sorry for the very long comment. I am muzzling myself now so I don't go on and on.

Anonymous said...

"Inexperienced bumbling idiot" is a poor argument, particularly as Mr. Dion has more experience in government than Mr. Harper. Further, I would be wary of championing Mr. Harper was a protector of women considering what he thought of the "status of women" in his own nation.

Beth said...

nomad: Hey, "bubble girl" - some days I wish I was in that bubble with you!

oreneta: I "lumped" Iraq and Afghanistan together because, to me, both are unwinnable battles as they are being waged now. (Ditto re: the reference to Viet Nam.)
And, yes, it might have helped had NATO and the UN stepped in years ago. But realistically, how can these two entities step in every time and place in the world where injustice and inequality exist?
It's a moral dilemma.

Beth said...

I can see you're actually responding to Jackie's comment. (I've certainly made my stance re: Harper known.)

Holy shit - I think I'll step back from this issue for now. But I certainly appreciate all the response.