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We are going to go pave Afghanistan with the blood and bones of Canadian soldiers; will the nebulous goal of “stability” be sufficient to pacify their families as they grieve?   Will the inevitable deaths of innocent Afghanis be justified by bringing stability to the region?  Consider the very nature of the war in Afghanistan where there are  only a few “front lines” and the enemy has the capacity to strike anywhere at almost anytime.  Is this what we bring and justify our presence in Afghanistan for?

“Coalition forces in Afghanistan will go on the offensive this fall, says Lt.-Gen. Marc Lessard, the commander of Canadian troops overseas.

His comments to reporters in Kandahar on Saturday echoed those made by British Maj.-Gen. Nick Carter, commander of coalition troops in southern Afghanistan, who said up to 32,000 Afghan and coalition soldiers will try to clear 500 to 800 insurgents from around Kandahar city before December.

Lessard described the coalition push as “massive activities.” The attacks will be followed by development projects and efforts to strengthen the local governments.”

We have heard this so many times over the tenure of our stay in Afghanistan.  But better to have nebulous strategy to match our nebulous goals, one would suppose.

“He [Lessard] said the Taliban had taken the initiative over the summer and it had been “a tough go” for the coalition. “There was a lot more enemy presence and a lot more activity.”

The coalition consolidated its position, Lessard said. “There was no more expansion. We didn’t have the troops.”

But now the Taliban initiative has been stopped. “That’s good, but that’s not good enough,” he said, so the coalition is taking the offensive.”

And re-win the hearts and minds of the people?  Who do you side with if you are an Afghani citizen?  The corrupt Kharzi regime backed by imperial powers that will be leaving the country soon or with the Taliban who will be there with certainty (being that it is their country after all)?

“With the 150-plus killed, the hundreds of seriously injured, from our Canadian point of view, that’s our legacy.”

Poignant and prescient words from Lieutenant-General Marc Lessard.  I’m usually happy when blog posts write themselves, but in this instance, there is nothing to cheer about.

Moe over at Whatever Works has a great post about Afghanistan and the morass that passes as the status quo.

Our formal fighting presence is over as of 2011, despite the braying of the addled Liberal party of Canada.  I’m glad that Harper runs his government like an uncaring majority, at least on this one issue.  The radicalization of dissent in Canada has taken yet another turn as police have arrested a fourth suspect in the Ottawa bomb plot.

“But a police source told CBC News the individual arrested, who was identified as a man, is not likely to be charged. The source told CBC News there does not appear to be enough evidence for a charge and police are unlikely to hold the individual under anti-terrorism legislation.”

It sounds like the forth individual might have only been lightly colluding with the three other suspects in custody.  The other three men have been formally charged:

“Authorities have arrested and charged three Ontario men in what the RCMP is calling a conspiracy to commit “a violent terrorism attack.”  Earlier Friday, Khurram Sher, 28, of London, Ont., was remanded in custody until Sept. 1 after a brief court appearance. He was charged Thursday with conspiracy to knowingly facilitate a terrorist activity.      Two Ottawa men, Misbahuddin Ahmed, 26, and Hiva Alizadeh, 30, were arrested on Wednesday. They appeared in an Ottawa courtroom on Thursday facing the same charge.”

Like the 9/11 bombers, these people are mostly all upper middle class well educated citizens.  Educated does not necessarily mean smart though.

“During their investigation, Therriault said, police seized more than 50 electronic circuit boards they say were designed specifically to remotely detonate improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

CBC News has learned that the RCMP’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team knew about the circuit boards some time ago — for perhaps months or at least many weeks.

The team obtained a warrant to enter Alizadeh’s apartment and surreptitiously removed the boards, replacing them with look-alikes that were duds. Therefore any attack would likely have failed.

Therriault said they also seized a vast quantity of terrorist literature, videos and manuals.”

Full marks for the RCMP and CSIS for actually getting a job done right for once.  I’m pretty sure this was because there was no tasering involved with the situation.

“Their profiles are likely to raise concerns about homegrown radicalism, said security expert Eric Margolis, who said the roots of the radicalism are likely triggered by anger over the involvement of Western governments in countries such as Afghanistan.”
Sad, but unsurprising.
The damage we wrought in Afghanistan is coming back to bite us.  The families we destroyed, intentionally or not, are crying for revenge and retribution by any means necessary.  Unfortunately, that usually means when the gun is pointed at us, instead of comfortably at someone else, a terrorist attack.   Canada got lucky with these individuals, they were stupid and relied on unencrypted email to plot their actions.
It is a lesson for Canada and the RCMP, but also a lesson for others who will learn from this groups mistakes.

Speaking of how not to win a war, this in from Afghanistan.

Hundreds of villagers have blocked a highway in eastern Afghanistan to protest a night raid by Nato and Afghan soldiers that left two people dead.  A statement from the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said two “Taliban insurgents” were killed in the raid in a district near Jalalabad.  But villagers said the men were civilians; their protest temporarily closed the highway connecting Jalalabad to Pakistan on Wednesday.”

Two possible insurgents dead, an entire village up in arms protesting to the murder, according to them, of two innocent people.  If this is what the people of Afghanistan associate with the US/NATO effort there, then indeed this war, just like Iraq, is lost.

“The protest mirrored a similar demonstration last week, when Nato and Afghan forces raided a house in Wardak province. Neighbours claimed the night raid killed three civilians, and hundreds of them took to the streets to protest the following afternoon.

Afghans have staged a number of similar protests in recent months: Villagers near Jalalabad burned tyres in May after a night raid killed at least nine people, and hundreds protested after Nato troops opened fire on a bus in Kandahar in April.”

The legacy being written, as with every other occupation of Afghanistan, is in the blood of innocents.   They will rise once again and push out the occupying armies from their land.

“A United Nations report released last week found that raids by Nato troops killed 41 civilians in the first half of 2010.

Night raids have been a particular point of friction between Nato and Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president. Karzai demanded an end to all night raids in February.”

The puppet Karzai can demand all he wants.  His protests fall on mostly deaf ears, after all it is only his country and people that are being destroyed.

No accountability, No Problem!

Iraq is a free for all.  Although a glimpse of accountability has been reported.

“The private security contractor previously known as Blackwater, has agreed to pay $42m in fines for hundreds of violations of US export rules, according to the New York Times.”

Not particularly surprising given the ethical free fall that has characterized the mercenary forces hired by the US government in Iraq.

“The violations included illegal weapons exports to Afghanistan, making unauthorized proposals to train troops in southern Sudan, and providing sniper training for police in Taiwan, the newspaper said on Friday”

Whoops!  But is anyone going to jail for this?  Or course not.  The status quo will be maintained after a fine is payed.

“The New York Times reported that by reaching the agreement with the US state department to pay the fines, the company avoids criminal charges over the violations of US export control regulations.”

Export control violations.  I suppose this is a limping stride toward justice.

‘Paying the fines will allow Xe to continue to compete for government contracts, the New York Times said.  US export rules mandate government approval for the export of certain types of US military technology or knowledge.  But Xe “began to seek training contracts from foreign governments and other foreign organisations without adhering closely to American regulations”, the newspaper reported.

War is a profitable business.

It “also shipped automatic weapons and other military equipment for use by its personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan in violation of export controls, and in some cases sought to hide its actions”, the New York Times said.

Again, rather unsurprising given the lack of oversight and murky chain of command that mercenaries follow.  I mean, they are not bound by military regulations or even the Geneva Conventions.  They are there to ‘get’er done’.  And usually by any means necessary.

Wrist thoroughly slapped, Blackwater Ex, can continue on its merry way, making the world safe for democracy and freedom.

Update:    I’m not sure about RT, but they do get more voices on the air that represent dissident opinion.   Their piece on the US ‘Withdrawal” in Iraq.

Mission Accomplished.

Shattered lives, ruined families, revenge bombings. The regular SNAFU in Iraq, thanks to the benevolent Western powers.

The phrase mentioned above will, for many people, always have a slightly ironic connotation.  The Iraqi people are still without an effective governing body.  What makes the news now though is many people are killed when sectarian violence escalates and innocents die.

“The death toll from explosions at a market in Iraq’s second-largest city has risen to 43, Iraqi officials said Sunday.

They added that as many as 185 people were also wounded in Saturday’s blasts.”

The swampy sectarian stew that is Iraq continues to churn and froth, claiming more victims with every explosion and gun battle.  The gormless words from the US about Afghanistan ring hollow for much of the world looks to the US’s first project;  ‘Nation Building’ in Iraq looks a lot like anarchy.

“In other violence Sunday, a car bomb exploded near a school and a cluster of stores in the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah west of Baghdad, killing two people and injuring four.”

Mission Accomplished indeed.

The latest in the Afghan war of futility.  The US is sending drones to dispatch no-goodniks in the disputed tribal lands of Pakistan.

“Suspected US drones have fired missiles into a compound used by anti-government fighters in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt, killing at least 16 people, officials said.

The missile strike on Saturday morning occurred in the Angoor Ada area of South Waziristan, official sources told Al Jazeera.”

Funny, the Pakistani government is irked with little planes flying all over its territory vapourizing people wily-nilly.

“US drone strikes are unpopular in Pakistan and the government in Islamabad has repeatedly urged Washington to end them.Pakistan says the attacks kill civilians, stoking resentment among the local population and thus prove to be counter-productive in the battle against armed groups. The attacks also undermine Pakistani sovereignty, Islamabad says.”

A big shiny gold star of fail as far as winning hearts and minds is concerned.  Full marks for indiscriminate slaughter though as well as bolstering anti-American sentiment across a nuclear armed quasi-religious state.  However, do not fear:

“But the US has persisted with the drone attacks, saying they were effective means to deal with Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters operating in Pakistan’s border areas with Afghanistan.”

But it is an effective way to get the bad guys… so we kill some innocents in the process.  War is hell, it takes a few eggs to break an omelette et cetera.  If this is not winning the war on terror, what is?

Chalmers Johnsten wrote a prescient book entitled “Blowback“.  I fear that we have more ‘blowback’ coming our way very soon.

I’m always impressed when goodwill and feces flow freely between neighbours.

“Israeli settlements have been dumping untreated waste directly into a sewage canal that runs through the occupied West Bank, affecting Palestinian villages along its banks.” – See the video here.

It is almost like they are not considering the welfare of people who share the land with them.   In any case, it is surely going to advance the peace process and make for a brighter tomorrow in the Middle East.

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