Canadian Defense Minister Peter Mackay [Dec 26] accused Pakistan and Iran of supplying weapons to insurgents…
What about the weapons supplied to the occupying armies of NATO? The Canadian government’s policy – what good does it do for Canadians?
Is this policy really leading to greater security for Afghanistan – or escalation? Do we really have any business propping up the government of Afghanistan?
Especially in light of the assassination today [Dec 27] of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, let’s cut our losses and make peace with all sides.
Here are some articles from 2006 on the contradictory Canadian approach towards Afghan opium production:
Is the whole point for the UN and NATO just to spout concern about the opium trade while the opium trade thrives? I think it would be counter-productive and brutal to launch a full-out assault on opium farmers, but:
In distancing themselves from poppy eradication, could Canada’s military be accused of duplicity in the matter?
“Hey, duplicity is a reality,” said the British officer in Kandahar. “We’re not arguing about some libertarian, lovely, sort of thing here. This isn’t Ottawa. This is Afghanistan, and this is realpolitik.”
It’s interesting that the opium/heroin trade seems to be doing so well in Afghanistan after these years of Western occupation. Who benefits? According to Canadian researcher Michel Chossudovsky,
Implemented in 2000-2001, the Taliban’s drug eradication program led to a 94 percent decline in opium cultivation. In 2001, according to UN figures, opium production had fallen to 185 tons. Immediately following the October 2001 US led invasion, production increased dramatically, regaining its historical levels.
In regards to the question of why Canada is still there after all these years, rather than taking responsibility for their own policy and properly justifying it to the Canadian people, pro-war spokesmen have immature excuses like this:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday [May 7, 2006] Canada will not backtrack from its commitment to Afghanistan because doing so “would be a betrayal” of the soldiers there.
I think that Canadian taxpayers, as well as Canada’s soldiers, are being betrayed by the current government policy. I think that Canadians would be surprised if they understood that Afghanistan was being “stabilized” by NATO in such a way that it seemed to benefit the drug trade. I think this is really quite amazing.
It looks like NATO forces aren’t really in control of Afghanistan at all and that it is impossible to be in control. They know the limits of their power – for one reason or another, they can’t interfere too much with the drug trade – but the people pushing this occupation don’t want to bring the troops home either.
Libertarians argue that legalizing drugs would reduce the profits for the drug trade. So let’s end the war on drugs and stop criminal groups from profiting!
At the same time, let’s bring the troops home and reduce the risks of having to deal with terrorism.
And we should also condemn the U.S. policy of propping up dictatorships around the world, a policy which creates resentment among their populations. The Canadian government should disassociate itself from that kind of policy.
I think Canadians have to wake up and deal with this situation before it gets worse. Are the accusations against Iran and Pakistan going to escalate and turn into war? Only the Canadian public in large numbers will be able to make their government listen to reason.
More on opium:
December 28th, 2007