Thursday, May 24, 2007

PM Stephen Harper Displays Leadership

Are we fighting for our enemy? Recent high-level meetings are an attempt to convince Afghan President Hamid Karzai to oppose the Taliban our way and only our way. This is not surprising. When you fight a war for some other country you should be able to decide the eventual outcome. That is the US and Canadian position.

Prime Minister Harper’s recent visit with President Karzai can be praised as a morale boost for our troops, but I don’t believe he made a risky visit for that purpose alone. President Karzai has been keeping so-called back channel communications open with the Taliban. It is reported that the Afghan parliament's upper house voted to end offensive military operations and enter into direct talks with the hard-line Islamists. And it is reported that in March the lower house passed another controversial bill promoting national reconciliation that would grant all warring factions, including the Taliban, immunity from prosecution. So, are we fighting for the enemy? We are certainly fighting for the government of Afghanistan that has a different view of how peace shall be determined than that of the western world.

Prime Minister Harper didn’t go to Afghanistan to deliver hockey sticks to our troops and pencils to Afghan children. He went to tell Karzai to get on side with our troops and stop offering olive branches to the Taliban and Islamic extremists who are killing our troops while they are fighting Afghan’s war. Harper went to tell Karzai to show some leadership that will support the Canadian troops effort in Afghanistan. Harper even went to the front lines and no other serving Prime Minister of Canada has been closer to the danger zone. Is there a better example of leadership? Prime Minister Harper wants to be sure we are not fighting for our enemy and so do Canadians. Prime Minister Harper deserves a lot of credit on these counts.

The west has had a military presence in Afghanistan for over five years. How are we to end the war? Is an end possible? Harper stated on his visit to Afghanistan in a speech to our troops that we couldn’t simply lay down our arms and hope for peace. I agree, but the larger question is how do we obtain peace that is only on our terms? This is an Al Qaeda driven war and we can never kill all our enemies or negotiate with them. This is an endless war, and as in all wars, takes the lives of thousands of innocent civilians.

Finally, democracy has nothing to do with this war. A vote in the Afghan parliament or in our parliament or in the US congress will not end this war. It will end the way the west wants it to end and on our terms or not at all. If not, then have we been fighting for our enemy?