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Thursday, October 19, 2006 

Peter McKay Is Playing Politics With Afghanistan

Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter McKay, is playing political games with Canadians over the mission to Afghanistan.

MacKay is accusing the New Democrats of demoralizing Canadian troops in Afghanistan with talk of withdrawing them from combat.

NONSENSE! Doesn't McKay read the news? Doesn't McKay have staff that keep him abreast of world affairs?

Is McKay NOT AWARE that US Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist, stood on the floor of the United States Senate and said THAT THE UNITED STATES SHOULD START TALKING WITH THE TALIBAN!

To gain petty political points, McKay is indirectly accusing Jack Layton and the NDP of advocating what Harper's big Republican buddies are also saying!

Shame on Peter McKay for playing such dishonest political games. Having NEVER been a Reform Member of the Tory Caucus, we expected better from him!

CTV News
US Senator Says Talk to Taliban

Here is the full text of the Globe and Mail story on Senator Frist's proposal that the USA commence talks with the Taliban:
Republicans in Laytonland: Talk to the Taliban
Lawrence Martin

Bill Frist, the Bush Republican who is the Senate majority leader, has come out -- à la Jack Layton -- in favour of undertaking negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Mr. Frist is no maverick. He has his right-wing spurs. He has backed his President's calamitous attempt at a Babylonian conquest since day one. But now he is in Laytonland.

"You need to bring them [the Taliban] into a more transparent type of government," Mr. Frist said during a visit to Afghanistan this week. "And if that's accomplished, we'll be successful."

The strategy of pitting the "military versus insurgency one-to-one doesn't sound like it can be won," he said. "It sounds to me . . . that the Taliban is everywhere."

He was accompanied by a Florida Republican, Senator Mel Martinez. "A political solution is how it's all going to be solved," Mr. Martinez said.

Mr. Layton, the NDP Leader, must be bemused to see support coming from some upper regions of the Republican Party. When he put forward his pitch for diplomacy in his own country, the elites tore him to shreds. He was ridiculed by many of the same people who called him an idiot for his positions on Iraq -- but who turned out to be not so bright themselves.

Negotiate with the Taliban? Talk to the enemy, to terrorists? Unconscionable, they said, knees jerking like football players in warm-up routines. How can we even think of it?

In fact, negotiations of that sort have been thought of and done on numerous occasions. We negotiated with the FLQ during the 1970 October Crisis. Tony Blair negotiated with the Irish Republican Army. Washington negotiated with Libya's Moammar Gadhafi and, of course, the Evil Empire. In Uganda, the government has been talking to the fanatical Lord's Resistance Army. Anyone with the slightest acquaintance with history can find dozens of other examples.

Political solutions are tried because that's how wars are ended. Sometimes, the talks are fruitful, sometimes not. But when the alternative is killing one another till hell freezes over, how can the bargaining-table option be dismissed out of hand?

In Afghanistan, there's been five years of fighting and the enemy only seems to grow. The Taliban are supported by many ordinary Afghans, and by many outside the country. They are opposed, experts say, by numbers too small to have any realistic hope of eliminating them.

In such circumstances, even if the chances of diplomatic progress are small, what is the downside in trying? If you end up making progress, good. If you don't, it's back to square one -- and back to the battlefield. But at least you've given the peace option a chance and, in so doing, you have won more public support for an enduring military campaign.

The Harper government needs that support -- badly. The latest poll showed that a majority of respondents believe that our soldiers are dying for a hopeless cause. But these Canadians are outshouted by the establishment and the Harper government.

Their vision of the new Canada is as the hard-headed warrior nation. Forget the Pearsonian legacy. We fight and we kill to the brutal end, even if the odds are dismal and we have a grisly precedent staring us down. Last week, a classified report of the entire U.S. intelligence community on how the bull-headed warrior approach has been working in Iraq came to light. Its verdict? Beyond the endless death toll of civilians, the Iraqi occupation is creating more terrorists than it is eliminating.

In Afghanistan, as President Hamid Karzai has observed, negotiations are difficult because the enemy is unstructured, with no hierarchy. But as Bill Frist noted, there are many who come under the Taliban label who are, in fact, moderates. An attempt must be made to bring these elements on board while isolating the fanatics.

Jack Layton is wrong to suggest that Canada should withdraw from Afghanistan, but he is right to suggest that we should look to possible diplomatic solutions. A growing number of Bill Frists are likely to join him. They may even come to include Stephen Harper. When asked in the House of Commons about the Tennessee senator's remarks, his reply was noteworthy: "We will not win this simply militarily."



Have you EVER visited my site? I'm sorry to say it, but basically every argument you've made here is crap, premised upon crap.

First of all, Bill Frist clarified his comments in saying that "America will never negotiate with terrorists or support their entry into Afghanistan’s government." I know you know this, you read my post and responded to it. So why do you pretend that L Martin's blatant ignorance of the facts is somehow the actual facts?

Secondly, as I've said many many times, while "talking with the taliban" in a macro way may be futile, allowing the Taliban to recognize the soveriengty of the Afghan government and peacefully run for office is ALREADY AN OPTION. This was not Layton's nor Frists idea. It's been an open door since 2003, and does not amount to Laytons "negotiations as an alternative to physical security" naivete.

Thirdly, Peter MacKay nor Stephen Harper take their orders from the Republican party, and should be more concerned with what's being said in Canadian parliament. Even if your characterization of Frists position was in any way factual, it wouldn't mean that MacKay's criticism of Layton is unfounded.

Furthermore, I'm not sure if it amounts to demoralizing, but the soldiers emphatically don't like Jack Layton, and considering some of the statements which he has made, you can't quite blame them. I honestly doubt it's much demoralizing, as they could probably not give a shit less what Layton thinks, but I don't think MacKay was that far off.

Could you please stop pretending that Bill Frists position on Afghanistan is the same as Jack Layton's; other than one soundbite, he has made his position more than clear, and it doesn't have anything to do with pulling troops out in 2007, with having negotiations as an alternative to military security, etc.

Also, as much as Jack Layton is a straight shooter who would never dare play politics, please don't pretend this is some sort of Reform only tactic. That's just absolutely fucking absurd. Every single politician plays politics to gain petty little political points. Get off your high horse.

Seriously, not to get self-righteous on you, but this is one of your worst posts ever, for it's dishonesty if anything.

This sentiment is a reaction, a desperate reaction to the fact that Conservatives are trying to flog a militiary mission that the vast majority of Canadians do not want to be involved in.

But instead of attacking the vast majority of Canadians, right wingers are singling out ONE person, Jack Layton to be the scapegoat and target for all of their collective frustration - your war is not what Canadians want.

But, rather than deal with that reality, conservatives need someone to beat up. Ergo Jack. Very sad.

The blosphere is just bursting with blogsites praising Harper and his band of wingnuts - this site of mine happens to be one of the few that goes hard on Harper (and his ideological endeavours to remake the nation). I am sorry it bothers you.

And you did get pretty self righteous without one word concerning the reason for my post - which is Peter McKay attacking Layton and the NDP - I guess what you are telling me is that Jack and I should stand back, let McKay slap us around, and we should just shut up and take it. Of course there is going to be push back.

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