Canada in Afghanistan: Canadians urged to see success
As our Afghanistan casualties grow – 131 war dead – many of Canada’s opinion leaders this month caught up to our questions on Afghanistan (a good read on Grant Kippen). Christie Blatchford in the Globe featured an Empire Club speech by Canada’s former Ambassador to Afghanistan, Chris Alexander, who seeks a Conservative nomination in a Toronto riding. Alexander, lauded by Michael Valpy, spent six years in Afghanistan and appears a believer in nation-building and participation in NATO led, US dominated, counter-insurgency efforts. Our Governor General weighed in, “Afghan mission far from lost cause,” and even Michael Chertoff, former Bush appointee, infamous for his mismanagement of Katrina aid efforts, got limelight at the CBC.
Outside Canada, Robert Fisk commended the Toronto Star for its investigation into a key Canadian civil society project, the eradication of polio in Afghanistan, which CIDA has now down-graded to the “prevention of transmission of polio,” and also praised the National Post for pointing out that Canadian politicians appear to be sleep-walking toward 2011. His gloss differs from the highlights presented by the Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Afghanistan, Hon. Stockwell Day.
But back to Blatchford, a prominent writer in Canada. Her familiar refrain, that those who “aren’t there” should mind their manners and for heaven’s sake be informed, seems acceptable. Let’s see. How about this: Ann Jones, author of Kabul in Winter, with her detailed review of the film Fixer: “everything that happens in Afghanistan is based on lies or illusion.” There’s also, Afghanistan by the Numbers, from Tomdispatch.com Or Juan Cole’s Informed Comment.
Today’s questions: How many military contractors hired by the Pentagon in Afghanistan (74,000 by end of June 2009) work with, support, interact, go on mission with our Canadian troops?
Is there any linkage, association, on the ground connection between any of those private military contractors and Canada’s SNC Lavalin at say, the, Dahla Dam? What are the “real life” links between SNC Lavalin and our military maintenance and supply infrastructures in Afghanistan, if any? Are these covered in Canada’s Fifth Quarterly report on Afghanistan?
Maybe Canada’s opinion leaders will follow this site and search for answers?
I honour Pte. Jonathan Couturier, killed last Thursday in Afghanistan. A credit to our nation : his family’s comments about what he thought about our A/Stan efforts appeared on page A6 of the Globe. Ms. Blatchford did not cite them.