Monday, October 06, 2008

"It is important to be clear on what Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said."

Finally: After several days of anti-journalism, defeatist sensationalism and vulgar political opportunism, the Globe and Mail gets it right.

1. NDP leader Jack Layton can go ahead and feel "heartened" by the prospect of defeat at the hands of the Taliban, but: "Mr. Layton is wrong, however, that the Brigadier's realism is in line with his own defeatism."

2. Carleton-Smith did not say the Afghan mission is doomed: "He did not say Britain, Canada, the United States and the rest of the NATO and non-NATO countries fighting in Afghanistan should withdraw, or that a secure Afghanistan is no longer vitally important to the West."

3. What Carleton-Smith said wasn't even particularly newsworthy: "It echoes what a panel headed by John Manley, the former Liberal MP, told the Canadian government in a report commissioned by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. 'In the end,' the Manley panel wrote in January, 'the counterinsurgency war will have to won by Afghans.' "

4. Carleton-Smith did not say we should just chuck it in and get kissy-face with the Taliban: "Brig. Carleton-Smith also spoke of negotiations, saying, 'If the Taliban were prepared to sit on the other side of the table and talk about a political settlement, then that's precisely the sort of progress that concludes insurgencies like this.' It's a big if, as long as the Taliban demand that all foreign armies leave as a precondition for talks. It's also a big if, as long as the Taliban remain committed to a form of Islamic law incompatible with civilized norms, which include the right of girls to go to school."

(It's actually a rather bigger "if" than all that, because the Taliban aren't even interested in negotiations in the first place.)

Still, thank you, Globe editorial writers, whoever you are.

UPDATE: The excellent Nushin Arbabzadah provides some helpful insight into the way Afghans greet the west's enthusiasm for selling them out.


Blogger Alec Macpherson said...

I skimmed over the the responses to Nushin Arbabzadeh's article. Looks reasonable but one struck me, "just another Iranian woman".

Still, examples such as it and the G&M (which is timing out on me, will try again later) should always be kept in the wings as I've already seen Layton's words cited by a supposedly Canadian deontological pacifist elsewhere.

In other news, another Afghan woman called Malalai:

12:58 PM  
Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

OK, I know the Arbabzadah article was serious, and that this is a very serious topic...

...but EscapeVelo's comment from 7:28 PM was hilarious:

"Nuke em from orbit, its the only way to be sure."

For those who don't get the reference: click.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Alec Macpherson said...

Maybe he mistook it for the Pitch Black script.

5:15 PM  

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