Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"Taliban Jack": How The NDP Got Left Behind On The Long March To Kandahar

1. It starts with the counterculture narcissism that has steadily eroded "left-wing" politics in Canada in recent years. It has exchanged solidarity for identity politics, and replaced internationalism with cultural relativism. When you replace critical analysis with a crude anti-Americanism, all that's left is the fashionable radicalism of the liberal elites and the pseudo-leftism of the radical chic.

2. There's this huge sucking sound, and the vacuum gets filled by "anti-war" activists of the kind who lead the Toronto Stop the War Coalition and the Canadian Peace Alliance, and even the kind that runs the cult behind the Mobilization Against War and Occupation. This causes the conversation in the NDP 's activist base to go all pear-shaped.

3. To find some highbrow basis for the empty "anti-war" gesture-making that results, you've got to rely on certain academics and policy wonks to dress it all up in the fancy language of dead diplomacy, and it all ends up sounding just like the same bureaucratic racketeering that was behind the UN Special Mission to Afghanistan, which came crashing down around our heads on September 11, 2001.

Jack's got to somehow triangulate a "progressive" position on Afghanistan through these badlands, and come out the other side with something that makes sense to ordinary Canadians.

It can't be done. And if the latest poll results mean anything, it's even worse than I thought.


Blogger dirk buchholz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

The latest poll shows something like one in 1,000 Canadians say they support the NDP because of its position on Afghanistan, and that last internet graffiti artist, whose last two (three?) "comments" I've deleted, shows up here again, with another graffito.

Again, the new policy here:

Tossers deleted on sight.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Terry: What about wankers?


4:05 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Wankers too.

And ponces.

4:29 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Well, the problem with that one in thousand, like every poll, is with the question. Some of us would actually like to see Jack go over and negotiate with the Taliban; it would be illuminating for everyone; it's just that we don't want to give him the government at the same time.

It's really amazing that the NDP would treat with MAWO, defenders of the Sudanese regime, among other things. How on earth did they get into that?

Good stuff, Terry. The left really need to learn again what makes inter-nationalism possible... MAWO-Taliban "treaties" just won't work to keep the world peace.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

Good piece, although you paint him as naive rather than malign. I wonder.
Can he really believe that a troop withdrawal would lead to anything but
the slaughter of the very Afghans he pretends to care about?

6:04 PM  
Blogger kursk said...

The day terrorism comes to Canada in a big way, (with substantive loss of life and property damage)..

Is this the day we throw the Jeff Clarks's of the world in Jail and disband the leadership of the NDP?

I believe the charge of sedition is still in the criminal code?

10:40 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...


There's nothing seditious about subverting a once-proud party of democratic socialists by turning its foreign policies into a melange of hippie outrage.

Wrong word.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NDP lost it when they bought into the hippy-dippy, feel good mantra of "Peace at Any Price" . . . as long as someone else pays.

Lack of moral fiber, lack of internationalist vision, lack of socialist courage.

Layton and his ilk revel in their childlike jealousy of American vitality and success and turn it into a pathetic, narrow minded hatred of all things Yankee.

I don't think he realizes that when he talks about "George Bush's war in Afghanistan" he proves to anyone with a brain that he is a dufus, a moron, a twit ?

Nahhh I doubt it. He loves his own opinion too much to accept reality.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Graeme said...

Speaking of delusional maniacs in Canadian politics, who remembers David Orchard? I'd nearly forgotten about him. Then I saw this: http://www.counterpunch.org/orchard02262008.html

3:54 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

It's all there, Graeme:

Vietnam, the "white" west waging imperialist wars upon the Third world, the overthrow of Aristide, depleted uranium, and mysteriously unreported death tolls.

And we are admonished to "speak for the voiceless" - when these people have perfectly good voices of their own, especially in Afghanistan - and if only he would listen, what he would hear from those very voices is:

Shut your big yapper, Mr. Orchard. You do not know what is best for us. We do.

5:54 PM  
Blogger dirk buchholz said...

You might find the interview with Dr Saddiq Weera-[senior adviser to the Minister of Education Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and senior policy adviser to the Independent National Commission of Strengthening Peace]
quite interesting,and totally non-partisan.
Scroll to the bottom he even talks about the "taliban Jack" remark.
Indeed the guy basically repeats what critics of the Afghan mission have been saying (including the NDP)
...." -I have a very strong message for the Cnd public and the families of the men and women in the Armed Forces,that without a political track,without a political process,the military intervention in Afghanistan will not meet its objectives

-the war is not going on because we have 1000 fewer soldiers

-the war is not going on because we have less coordination among donors and military forces

-the war will not end with the recommendations of the Manley report.Its a wonderful work I commend Mr Manley but is missing one major component it has a major inadequacy

-in that it has not recommended a political process to address the unresolved civil war in Afghanistan and also to address the regional dimension of the war….

- Ladies and gentleman development can not happen if you still have war going on,good governance is impeded by the remnants and the ???? of the unresolved civil war and also the regional dimensions…..

-you can only bring peace and stability and good governance and development if you address all major determinants of the Afghan conflict….

-fighting alone will not succeed because there are Afghan elements involved who are not are not terrorists….

-not all who fight against the government are sharing the ideology of Al Quida and it’s vision

-they do have national grievances in that not only affect the continuation of war but also affects the government stability inside and around the government…..

-we need do have diplomatic processes I was happy to see in Manley’s report that there is emphasis on diplomacy but we need to go further than diplomacy to create coordination among the donors and the military forces

-we need to break up the Taliban and isolate Al Quda & the terrorists

-and that can only be done through peace processes

-and those peace processes do not have a medium in Afghanistan there is no mechanism for it there is no international support for it there is not enough dialog talk or discussion about it

-without a peace track where the issues can be negotiated openly

-there is fear if you talk about negotiation,you will be labeled pro-taliban,as Jack Layton was in Canada

watch interview (2 part)

3:41 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Thanks for attempting to make a contribution instead of your usual incoherent insults.

The attempt fails, though, for the same reason that the Rideau Institute's prescriptions are not taken seriously, which Weera himself immediately acknowledges when he says there is no international support, nor in-country mechanism, nor any serious "dialogue" anywhere around the approach he favours.

Almost everything he says is actually uncontroversial, and is what everybody already knows, and what credibility he does have lies in his concurrence with what the UN and ISAF and the Afghan government and the Manley panel report already recognize: No one is against diplomatic and negotiated solutions; No one is saying this fight can be won by military means alone.

The only thing different about Weera's contribution and this particular Rideau Institute exercise is that it is an attempt to provide a blanket of "peace making" legitimacy to just one particular expression of the kind of antidemocratic brokerage politics long favoured by the most reactionary elements of the warlord class in Afghanistan.

This exercise wasn't about finding some "alternative" that would actually work in Afghanistan. It was an exercise in trying to make the Rideau Institute's "troops out" politics look good.

11:08 AM  
Blogger dirk buchholz said...

Terry said..."Thanks for attempting to make a contribution instead of your usual incoherent insults"....

Anyway I am not here to fight.Its not about if I am right and your wrong,or visa versus,thats just not me. So please stop with the incoherent etc etc...
I brought up many of the same points as I just posted above.
I posted Dr Weera because it was a source you would not be able to ridicule.Again I raised many of the same points in the comments you deleted.

Terry Said..."The attempt fails, though, for the same reason that the Rideau Institute's prescriptions are not taken seriously"...

excuse me...?,its not the R.I's prescription.

Its an attempt to point out the various factors behind the troubles.Its an attempt to articulate to Cnds what factors and combination there of, are driving the troubles.Its about understanding that at some point a political solution will have to be found.
The Dr is pointing out the factors that cause my self and many others to doubt NATO's over reliance on military solutions.Its why I feel the mission will in all liklihood fail.Not because I want it to fail but because the powers that be are over simplifying the situation on the ground in Afghanistan.They are overlooking many factors,such as the Dr articulates and itemizes

5:14 AM  
Blogger HammertimeGP said...


9:04 AM  

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