Sunday, March 01, 2009

Canadian PM: We Are Not Going to Win Afghan War

This is what Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told CNN’s Farid Zakaria on Farid Zakaria GPS this afternoon:

"We are not going to win this war just by staying. My own judgment is, quite frankly, that we are not going to ever defeat the insurgency. We have to have an Afghan government that is capable of managing that insurgency and improving its own governance.”

I’ve been wondering about that myself.

Historically, no one has ever had much success getting Afghans to knuckle under to foreign rule.

Most recently, we had the Soviet Union armies see defeat in Afghanistan. Some argue that they lost their will in their defeat by Afghan Mujahideen fighters, and this contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union.

Sure the Soviets were ultimately defeated by the US and Middle East nations helping and arming the Afghan Mujahideen.

But it took 10 years.

And the Mujahideen never let up.

Before that we had the English. The English fought three wars in Afghanistan between 1839 and 1919 and in the end, in 1919, they left, ceding back all of the territories that they had controlled.

As a matter of fact, war is part and parcel of Afghan history. As the PM observed, Afghan insurgency is historically a way of life there.

So in the end, I find myself in agreement with PM Harper. Afghans have time and the terrain on their side. All we can really hope for is to have a stable government in Kabul. A government whose legitimacy will be constantly questioned as long as we have a single pair of boots on the ground there.

In other words, the best thing we can do for the government in Afghanistan is to get out and stay out.

Yes, President Obama is dead wrong to increase our presence there. He has listened to the wrong people, and has accepted their ill-advised opinions.

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