A rather edgy title. I'm in an edgy mood however. Warning: Some Canadian content is included in this rant. Viewer discretion is advised. This is a Canadian POV on Bush's "surge".
I've wrote about the quagmire that Bush is looking to make worse by proclaiming a final 'surge' of troops is needed to 'win' the war in Iraq. The problem is he is short on available reserves to send, and he isn't going to institute a draft, and the citizenry of America aren't going to rush to the Army's recruiting halls to volunteer, so he'll need to borrow troops from other theaters, and one of those theaters happens to be Afghanistan.
According to this report, he will be taking a battalion out of Eastern Afghanistan in the next couple of weeks, and this will be happening as the Taliban begin a major offensive and while commanders there are requesting more troops to counter this:
According to Army Brig. Gen. Anthony J. Tata and other senior U.S. commanders here, that will happen just as the Taliban is expected to unleash a major campaign to cut the vital road between Kabul and Kandahar. The official said the Taliban intend to seize Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-largest city and the place where the group was organized in the 1990s....."It is bleak," said Col. Chris Haas, commander of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan. "The gains we have made over the past few years are mostly gone, said a bearded Special Operations officer..
The most infuriating part of the whole report is this quote:
Conway said US commanders understand that the Afghan war is an "economy of force" operation, a military term for a mission that is given minimal resources because it is a secondary priority, in this case behind Iraq
Where are a lot of Canada's soldiers as part of this NATO operation? Why, we're in Kandahar - the city that the aforementioned Taliban are aiming to capture and/or cut communications between it and Kabul. It appears while the US 'surge' in Iraq is taking place, we'll be left with what other NATO forces remain there trying to defend the city and keeping the communication and travel routes to Kabul open - in this "secondary priority" mission.
So, I ask this question: besides Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay proclaiming how everything is nice and rosy and progressing quite fine in Afghanistan, and promising a stern "talking-to" of Pakistan, has he and Prime Minister Harper been doing anything to persuade the US that Afghanistan - and our soldier's lives and the lives of others - should be more then just "secondary priority", and that if troops are being taken out of there, other troops from the US or NATO should be brought in to replace them to help Canadian soldiers defend Kandahar from this predicted Taliban offensive?
Here's what some of our blogging friends south of the border had to say about this "strategy". First, from Firedoglake:
To sum up, we're about to have three surges simultaneously. We will surge US troops into Iraq; to allow that, we will surge US troops out of Afghanistan; to take advantage of that, the Taliban will surge <all over Afghanistan. Symmetry.</p>
Where are the grownups?
And from Washington Monthly:
More troops in Iraq will almost certainly not make any noticeable difference there. More troops in Afghanistan might, but they aren't available because of Iraq. It's worth keeping in mind that Bush's resistance to withdrawal in Iraq is likely to lead to the United States losing not just one war, but two. I'm not sure if any American president has done that before.
We may all think Bush's 'surge' is an American matter nothing to do with Canadians. However, his efforts will not only extend the quagmire in Iraq, but I am afraid we're going to see more Canadian caskets coming home, and all because Afghanistan from the American's POV is a "secondary mission" to only be given minimal resources. Our soldier's LIVES are a secondary priority, apparently as well.
Again, I ask what Prime Minister Harper and Foreign Minister Peter MacKay are trying to do to implore the US (or other NATO countries, but it's the US's primary responsibility since they're the ones doing the troop withdrawal) to at least give some replacements in the Kandahar area to help defend against an apparently reinvigorated Taliban force, so we can minimize the number of dead Canadian soldiers coming home in caskets (besides I mean mouthing platitudes about Afghanistan, tut-tutting Pakistan, and proclaiming that "they support the troops")