It's been quite the day for news, so I'll get right to it, and try to cram an hour or two worth of writing into 30 minutes. CAN IT BE DONE? (answer: apparently not, as there was only a fraction of this posted yesternight)
A “former Afghan Warlord” has offered to drum up some 10,000 “seasoned” soldiers to fight the Taliban, taking the war across the Pakistani border if need be. Perhaps my opinion will change with more careful deliberation, but for the moment I think it would be in the country's best interest to accept this offer, for several reasons. If this warlord/general is interested in conquest, then there will be no way to avoid conflict. It is better to reap the tactical, financial, and morale gains now than to face him later and gain nothing.
Afghan fighters will know the terrain, and they will know their enemy. We know both, maybe even well...just not nearly AS well. The Taliban have leveraged this “home turf advantage” to deadly effect time and again to kill, maim, or wound Canadian soldiers. With these 10 000 soldiers on the ground, our forces can focus on doing what we do best: dishing out the (ranged, high-tech) HURT. Better still, if these new forces could be somehow integrated or partnered with coalition forces, we could mix our firepower with their knowledge (ideally). There would most likely be a language barrier, but those can be overcome far more easily than can the “loss of leg because you stepped on a landmine” barrier. Also, it would do well to know our (potential) enemy before we are forced to confront it. If we are forced to confront it.
I saw no mention of payment in the Citizen article, which would indicate to me that we have been offered 10 000 troops...for free. Granted, the possibility that their leader may have certain ambitions makes this a gift of dubious value, but as long as those troops fight the Taliban, and we aren't paying, that's our gain. More importantly, it is Afghanistan's gain, because the sooner the Taliban is weakened, crippled, or defeated, the sooner all the effort spent fighting them could be employed to rebuild. It wont be (we humans are always more apt to destroy than to create), but if even a fraction of it is, then there is a gain. This is about what Afghanistan gains, after all. Again, even if this general turns on the present government, he wouldn't be the Taliban. And secular despots are easier to pummel into submission, I should think.
Finally, there is the boost to morale, both here and overseas. We may just need more time to get over the myth that we're an exclusively peaceful country, but Canadians seem to be ok with having an army, but not when they do their job. In any case, 10 000 troops on the ground who know the terrain seems a better shot than putting Canadians on that line, some of whom will die. Politically, I'm saying “better them than us”, because public support is necessary to continue the campaign. I'm not a big fan of killing, but if we allow the Taliban tumour to re-grow, it will cripple Afghanistan again, and breed a whole new generation of terrorists, mysogenists, and illiterates. This may seem to fly in the face of my self-professed “left-wing stance”. A leftist who condemns this war, and would allow the Taliban to re-group, and destroy millions of lives is no better than a short-sighted rightist who refuses to act against global warming! Short-term thinking is lovely for selfish political jockeying, isn't it?
And speaking of political jockeying, I heard a funny interview on the radio the other day...
Speak Up, Dion!
CBC radio's “The Current” was interviewing Mr. Dion about his policies on climate change, specifically, why he hadn't implemented stronger measures during his stint as Environment Minister. His response was something to the effect of “because we understand the issue better now”, which is utter bullshit. What he SAID is, of course, entirely true; every year brings more studies, more reports. What's BS is that it wasn't the reason nothing was done when the Liberals were in power. A significant portion of the population didn't care enough then, and have only begun to do so now. Call it “politics”, and shake your head if you like, but is it not the duty of Parliament to reflect the will of the people? On this note, it occurs to me that I should not be angry at Dion for doing his job...I should be upset because he passed up an opportunity to deliver a wake-up call to the population of Canada: “If you do not wish to face the next Great Threat to our survival when it may even be too late”, he should have said “then speak out and demand that it be addressed earlier!”. Granted, no one likes to hear that they have been remiss in their duties, but it's what Canadians have to be told.
I hope they didn't fancy it clever...
A (now former) public servant, who may or may not have been the informant ever-so-originally dubbed “Green Throat” was apprehended and questioned by the R.C.M.P, leading this man to allege that the Conservative government aims to intimidate public servants into staying silent about government activities. It seems that no one involved was all that clever; the info was only 10 days' time from publication, and it would have been just as bad then as it is now that our Government does not plan to meet our Kyoto targets. The government's conduct is what one calls “another kettle of fish”, as it does support the hypothesis that their aim is to supress informants such as this one...In a liberal democracy. It is undoubtedly possible, but with a minority government already well-known for such strokes of brilliance as “putting a pretty face in the environment portfolio and hoping that Global Warming would just go away”, “recycling the Liberal plans to fight it when the public started to care”, and “revisiting an issue that didn't need revisiting (ie. Same-sex marriage)”... well, it just doesn't make much sense to take a gamble such as this. It's possible that the PR fallout will be nonexistent, but I should hope that this case will sway some “swing” voters that a democratic government which attempts to cloak itself, defend itself with “secrecy” is no friend to the people.
Summatives encroach! Panic time is NOW
'Drive' was a fucking good show. Fucking Fox network fucking over another show, adding to the fuckload of quality programs they have fucked up/over/left/right +A + B (= COMBO ATTACK +6 hit!!!). What yokel fucks in their infinite fuckicity are in charge of this fuckup of a TV station. Nathan Fillion needs jobs too!
REACH PROVINCIALS THIS WEEKEND. TIME FOR SLEEP. I'M OUT!
When I return, I will look at the recent criticism of our city, and why we shouldn't just sit here and whine about it.
Until then, you're on your own. Bonne chance, mes amis!