History lesson


Stephane Dion has some questions about our mission in Afghanistan.

He expressed concern that some trained Afghan army members don’t stay long, some defect to the Taliban and “they don’t want really to fight” the insurgency. “After all, we are speaking about people that have been able to win against the Soviet Union,” he said. “If they were willing to win against the Taliban they would not need so much training … How come those people who won against the Soviet Union need training?”


History lesson

  1. After all, we are speaking about people that have been able to win against the Soviet Union,” he said. “If they were willing to win against the Taliban they would not need so much training … How come those people who won against the Soviet Union need training?”

    Gads. Does he think the same people are doing the fighting 30 years later?

    That's like asking why the Leafs suck so much, since they were winning Stanley Cups in the 60s.

  2. Absolutely agree.

    Afghans have won against everyone from Alexander the Great to the Soviet Union. They don't need any 'training' from us.

    In fact, we should be learning from them. THAT at least might come in handy some day.

  3. Dion – great ideas, terrible packaging.
    Heck, if we could simply transplant Dion's brain and sensibility into Dominic LeBlanc without affecting his Dom's communication skills – we'd have an unbeatable leader.

    calling Dr. Frankenstein!!!!

  4. I really miss Dion. This is yet another example of why I believe Canada missed out on having a great PM.

  5. I don't think you want the whole brain. Dion, like Harper, isn't great at listening to other people (unlike Paul Martin who did too much listening).

  6. Right. Or, we could get over this "packaging" nonsense and embrace knowledgeable individuals who have a clue when it comes to policy-making and what is best for this country.

    I might be the only one who feels this way but I'll go for the nerdy-looking guy with a french accent any day over Harper… Or Ignatieff for that matter.

  7. C'mon Dion, what's next, suggesting NATO will have to strike targets in Pakistan?

  8. That, to me, is yet another example of the arrogance of the West. If I'm an Afghan soldier, why in the world would I want training from the group of people who have clearly shown to all that they are UNABLE to defeat my enemy?

    They don't need training from us. Dion is absolutely right on this.

  9. You mean saying out loud what EVERYONE is thinking? And for the record, Americans HAVE engaged in targetted drone strikes in Pakistan.

  10. Does the situation in Afghanistan remind anyone else of Frank Herbert's Dune?

  11. In the actual specifics of this war, not really. In the long term middle east situation, I'm sure Herbert intended exactly that.

  12. Yeah it's depressing that we go for image instead of brains. Style over substance every time.

    In a country full of accents, we supposedly had trouble understanding his. Unreal.

  13. I agree with Dion.

    However, if one did want to train the Afghan army in modern warfare, the first step would be to teach them to read, what with only about 1 in 10 Afghan army recruits being literate.

    Actually, that might be the second thing. You'd first have to convince them why they need to learn modern warfare at all, what with old fashioned warfare working fine for the enemy forces.

  14. Same here. Having Dion as LOO meant having funny clips of him on a daily basis, and that warm and cozy feeling of knowing that when the election comes, Dion would get trounced. I still have that feeling with Ignatieff, but to a slightly lesser extent.

  15. How come those people who won against the Soviet Union need training?

    Geez Stephane, maybe it is because half the guys who fought the Soviets are fighting the other half.

  16. Since when did Afghans win against Alexander the Great? He conquered the tribes in three years, between 330 BC–327 BC.

  17. I've made my peace with the fact that I live in a country where a man like Dion could be set aside and a Stephen Harper could be elected PM.

  18. I wonder… Does teaching modern warfare means buying them more weapons?

  19. I believe they are approaching 200 such strikes in two years, officially.

  20. I think Dion may be onto something here.
    Here`s how I see it happening. Dion should go over to Afghanistan himself, bring along his dog Cato, and Ms. Krieber of course and he could strap on his trusty backpack for those trips off-road.
    He could be like a one-man training mission—-remind those Afghans about those good old days when they chased out the Russians. He wouldn`t mention anything that`s happened in the country since that time—–yeah, I think the Afghans will be very impressed.

  21. The US won every battle in Vietnam, and lost the war.

  22. Oh so that was sarcasm? My bad…

  23. No, they're all fighting us.

  24. I'd like to see a serious journalist interview Dion about that "Marshall Plan" he had once suggested for Afghanistan. At the time, the press gallery was too busy making fun of his french accent to bother exploring that one.

  25. What method have you used to achieve this inner peace? I've been trying heavy drinking, and it isn't working.

  26. Damn….I was thinking of trying that next.

  27. Our wonderful press….always focussing on the 'important' stuff.

    'rolls eyes'

  28. Stephane Dion's comments have to be one of the most ignorant I have heard about Afghanistan in a long time. Someone might want to tell the former hapless leader — and current hapless military analyst — that it was the Soviets who were trying to establish their version of order in the country, and that it was the Afghans fighting a counterinsurgency to topple that order. Now, those on our side are fighting the other fight. We're trying to maintain the order, and the bad guys are trying to topple it. Or is Dion one of those types who's simply too smart to grasp basic historical and military fact? And this is who the Liberals offered up as their best choice to be our prime minister? Wow. Good things voters know best, eh?

  29. Hey Critter,
    Everyone wins the initial battles…
    and go on to lose the long wars of attrition.
    Afghanistan is called "the graveyard of empires" – google that phrase and you might gain some insight

  30. My point is that Alexander the Great won the war. The tribes were utterly defeated and their warriors put to the sword. The Greeks established a kingdom in Afghanistan (the Greco-Bactrian kingdom) that lasted for one hundred and seventy years.

  31. No they are not.

  32. OK – If I accept your witty comeback full on…… then ….

    if its now 50/50 – what the F*** are we doing in the middle of a civil war????

  33. Hell if I know. Go ask Harper, Rae and Ignatieff.

  34. It depends what day of the week yer talkin about.

  35. Um, because one side of the civil war harboured an organziation which killed 26 innocent Canadians.

  36. I agree with part of your statement… Dion was off in trying to compare Afghan insurgents battling the Soviets and Afghan and Allied soldiers battling the Taliban insurgents. It's apples and oranges. At the same time, Dion did raise a few worthy points, in that we train many Afghans who a) quit, and b) join the insurgency. If we're going to stick around in Afghanistan, I'd like to know how we're going to prevent a) and b) from continuing to happen (not that there's an easy answer, I admit).

  37. Alexander the Great conquered what is now Afghanistan and the Greeks ended up staying for almost two centuries. That's not a "war of attrition". The Greeks were eventually defeated by nomadic invaders from Central Asia.

  38. No he didn't….he was never able to hold the place….and like leaders of today Alexander left a quagmire by declaring victory and leaving.

  39. Yes, they are. You are just unaware of it apparently.

  40. That, or NATO just leaves stuff behind for them to run into disrepair.

    Personally, I believe the "training" thing isn't really a serious mission.

    It's just cover for the fact that Obama's escalation has failed to produce results, he doesn't really know how to exit, and he's now just trying to buy time until after the 2012 election.

  41. Not true either.

  42. You make a legitimate point. However, he's not only going a step further, but he's making some rather ignorant statements to boot. He's saying we don't need to train the Afghans because they beat the Soviets. I'm sorry, but that is a colossally ignorant statement to make. Would you not agree?

  43. like leaders of today Alexander left a quagmire by declaring victory and leaving.

    That's completely wrong. Emily, you know how to use Wikipedia, so look it up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-Islamic_period_o

    You can't just rewrite history to serve whatever point you're trying to make.

  44. It was true until AQ up and left some 8 years ago.

    Now we are there because Obama's surge failed, and he doesn't don't know how to get out.

  45. That's false. They were too busy making fun of his dog's name.

  46. Lots of countries…empires even…have occupied Afghanistan. None have been able to hold it.

    The same is true of us.

  47. No they are not all fighting us. You are just intentionally lying or intentionally ignorant. Thousands of Afghans are bravely supporting ISAF, risking retaliation for themselves and their families. Your obnoxious comment is an insult to thousands of Afghans actively supporting ISAF and the millions of Afghans who hope they prevail.

    Feel free to restrain yourself from replying with your typical trite.

  48. WTF are you talking about? The Taliban harboured Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda committed the 9/11 attacks. 26 Canadians died in those attacks.

    Which of those facts to you beleive to be untrue?

  49. That's possibly the most confusing clarification I've ever read on any war.

    Want to try it again?

  50. LOL ahh you believe the black/white, happy-happy-Harper version

    Sorry, none of it's true.

  51. How are we supposed to train an army in "modern warfare" when we haven't figured it out ourselves?

    We clearly have enough firepower to destroy the enemy 1000 times over. But we can't. 'Modern warfare' hasn't yet figured out how to defeat an enemy that doesn't wear uniforms, doesn't care about their own civilian casualties and infrastructure, and is willing to commit suicide if it means killing several other people at the same time.

    Until we understand that this is what 'modern warfare' is about, and figure out how to stop it, I'm not sure there is much we bring to the table in regard to training.

  52. The 911 plot was hatched in Germany….it required no training…they were simply passengers on a plane who carried ordinary box-cutters.

    'By far the foreign country with the largest loss of life was the United Kingdom, with 67 deaths (including the overseas territory of Bermuda). India had 41, South Korea had 28 and Canada and Japan had 24 each. Colombia had seventeen and Jamaica, Mexico and the Philippines had sixteen each. Australia and Germany had eleven each, while Italy had ten.'

    Only Harper -Cons think we were attacked

  53. What point don't you understand? Or are you simply trying to troll a post you find threatening?

  54. Oh I think it's worse than that.

    Can you imagine what would happen if NATO pulled out w/o a win or at least major concessions from the Taliban? The implications in adding NATO to the list of foreigners who tried to master the region and failed? More importantly, failed against a group defined as terrorists? We will have emboldened our enemies in ways that 9/11 never could.

    We should have stayed out of Afghanistan knowing that is is not a winnable war. The only thing that we can do now is stay until the Taliban agrees to some kind of peace agreement. The Americans made the bed but we all gladly jumped in along.

    We now have to lay in it.

  55. Like talking to a post…….

    Why do you even try Crit?

  56. 'Alexander conquered Sogdiana and Iran. However, in the south, beyond the Oxus, he met strong resistance. After two years of war Bactria became a province of the Macedonian empire, but Alexander never successfully subdued the people. After Alexander's death, the Macedonian empire was eventually divided up between generals in Alexander's army. Bactria became a part of the Seleucid Empire, named after its founder, Seleucus I.'

    And eventually that ended too.

    Only difference today is a speed-up in the rate of change.

  57. I'll agree with that. Generals are still always fighting the last war.

  58. History lesson indeed

    When does Dion start his?

  59. Afghanistan was occupied by a succession of foreign invaders for more than two thousand years before the Islamic Conquest. The Greco-Bactrian kingdom lasted from 330BC – 150BC. That's a long time, and other empires held it for even longer. The Sassanians held it for 350 years.

    This isn't a case of those plucky ancient Afghans overthrowing empires. It's a case of foreign empires holding Afghanistan until they were defeated by a new wave of foreign invaders.

  60. No. If I google "the three pillars," I'm sure I'll come up with a lot more ink poured about Dion's "funny accent" than I would on poor Kyoto.

    The backpack on the other hand…

  61. Blue and Liveblooginjunkie are here to help Dennis understand history
    or is it the other way around?
    perhaps Critter can set you all straight

  62. "Dion was off in trying to compare Afghan insurgents battling the Soviets and Afghan and Allied soldiers battling the Taliban insurgents."

    Please explain that one to me.

  63. Sure. But the concern about the effectiveness of the training — will the Afghans we train use that training, and will the use that training against the bad guys and not us — is legit. I know I'm concerned about that. If we're going to be training them how they can do a better job of blowing our soldiers up… yeah, that's the kind of training they don't need.

  64. Things moved slower in those days, but eventually they were all tossed out.

    Just like us.

  65. Banging my head on my desk.

  66. So that's a lie. I'm not over it. Far from over it.

  67. The problem appears to be that you make an apparent dichotomy between 'The Afghans' fighting the Soviets and 'The Bad guys' now.

    Perhaps they are for all intents and purposes the same (perhaps not the same actual persons, but the same general organization or grouping). IIRC, back then the anti-Soviets were called mujahideen and were heavily financed by the Saudis (i.e. Wahahbi fundamentalists), and many foreign Muslim fighters joined them, included in them was Osama bin Laden. (We had the Mac-Paps in 1930's Spain, the Saudis had these guys in the 80's).

    Now many of those (or their sons) are Taliban, which was a significant faction of Mujahideen. Basically they are fighting foreigners, whatever version of Western political philosophy they espouse.

  68. The difference between Harper and Dion is that the former ignores the advice of "experts" while, on this issue, Dion is married to one…

  69. In fact, every time Dion pipes up on this, it reopens the wound.

  70. It's why we'll never win in Afghanistan….too many westerners prefer propaganda to reality. Dion spoke reality.

  71. Modern warfare = Arrogant terminology used by the West, suggesting that its ways are better than that of the "peasants" they are fighting. Nevermind the fact that they are having their a$$es handed to them by the said peasants.

  72. What isn't true is that we are now fighting AQ — the people behind 9/11– in Afghanistan.

    We aren't, because AQ left years ago and now operates out of Pak, North Africa, Paris, Madrid, etc. etc.

    The AQers don't need Afghanistan, though it is a convenient place for hothead jihadists to go to kill Americans and their allies.

    Who we are fighting there is a matter for debate. My guess is that we are fighting a faction of the Pashtun drug lords, tribal barons, and religious medievilists who have been running the place for the last 200 years.

    When we leave, they'll sort out which groups rule which parts of the country, and resume re-making the country into the impoverished and backward hell-hole it has always been without any further assistance from us.

  73. "back then the anti-Soviets were called mujahideen and were heavily financed by the Saudis (i.e. Wahahbi fundamentalists),"

    And the Americans, thank you very much. AS IF Ronald Reagan would have passed up an opportunity to stick it to the Soviets….

  74. I guess Dion has forgotton that the Afghans only beat back the Russians because "the Americans" armed and trained them. Wasn't that the talking point only a few short years ago?

    How soon they forget.

  75. So you think we have a shot – is that what you're saying Crit?

  76. I sometimes find confusion unsettling, though not generally threatening.

  77. The Mujahadeen (not the Taliban) defeated the Soviet Union with several metric tonnes of help in the form of secret funding and arms from the United States, specifically the CIA.

    Is Stephane Dion suggesting that Canada should send military aid to the government of Afghanistan, with all the inherent issues of accountability and corruption, instead of sending our own troops, which we control directly?

    Stephane Dion is the one that needs the history lesson.

  78. Your premise is faulty because like Diogenes' fruitless search for an honest man http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diogenes_of_Sinope) your request is based on finding a "serious" journalist.

    (Wells would be disqualified by many as being biased in favour of Dion.)

  79. "Alexander's cavalry commander, Seleucus, took nominal control of the eastern lands and founded the Seleucid dynasty. Under the Seleucids, as under Alexander, Greek colonists and soldiers colonized Bactria, roughly corresponding to modern Afghanistan's borders."

    The point is that Alexander conquered Afghanistan, and the Greeks subsequently controlled it for 170 – 180 years. You can't draw analogies between Alexander 2,300 years ago and the British, Soviet or NATO occupations.

  80. We seem to have difficulty identifying the ones that are supporting us.

  81. I'm saying that we shouldn't distort ancient history in an attempt to make a point about current events.

  82. Apparently your sole purpose on here is to create confusion, given that you haven't made a specific point yet. Thanks.

  83. The Mujahadeen…currently operating under several different names including Taliban….took help from wherever they could get it. Americans foolishly offered it, and shot themselves in both feet as they always manage to do.

  84. Let me get this straight—-you are critical of other peoples` views of recent history and if I scroll up a little on this page I will see that you made a statement that Canada missed out on a great PM in Dion.
    And you want us to take you seriously after such a ridiculous statement ?
    If Dion and his promise to find new ways to tax us had been elected PM in 2008, we would be now lining up behind the Irish for a bailout.

  85. Well, if he`s taking the advice of his wife on international affairs, he may want a new advisor.

  86. We're helping the people who want the foreigners there. Right? I know they can change their loyalties, but the distinction seems pretty clear to me.

  87. I can't wait to see you devotees defend Harper when he is forced by the US to adopt a carbon tax.

  88. History….especially one as long and legendary as Afghanistans…told us what to expect ahead of time.

    We just didn't listen….you still aren't.

  89. Crit_Reasoning, you with your pesky facts, NortherPoV has a cliche and apparently cliches trump facts.

    the fact that the phrase 'graveyard of empires' has been repeated ad nauseam by taliban sympathizers and other assorted idiots doesnt make it true.

  90. Yes, we can. None of them were ever able to hold the country.

    We can't either. In fact, we've lost it in less time than any other 'empire'.

  91. That's because they keep blowing us up.

  92. Afghans are good at getting other countries to arm and train them. This time they've suckered the invaders into doing it.

  93. She works for RMC and the DND….you really should read these urls.

  94. She's good enough for the troops. Why do you hate the troops?

  95. Yeah, because the cabon tax has just decimated BC.

  96. You implied that Dion gets his advice on Afghanistan from his wife—-After reading above article, I think he needs a new advisor.
    I`ll stand by that statement.

  97. If Wells has a bias for Dion, it is well hidden. That said, your point is well taken. I will say, however, that there are a few members of our illustrious 4th estate that resisted the urge to engage in "pack" mentality when it came to Dion.

    Just a few. Very few.

  98. And when they beat back the Brits? Was that also with the help of Uncle Sam?

    And how about now? If the Afghans are helpless without "western" assistance, why is it that the same "western" force isn't able to get the better of them?

  99. That would be consistent with the usual Harpocrite rejection of expertise. Carry on…

  100. This is the Bull-in-a-China-Shop Theory of Warfare.

    Race into some place you know nothing about…kill thousands of innocent people who have no idea why you're even there…..get your ass handed to you….and can't figure it out.

  101. I'm not arguing for our presence there… I think we ought to be coming home as scheduled in 2011.

    I'm just pointing out that simple-minded platitudes are no kind of "history lesson." They are an attempt to substitute mythology for reality.

  102. The Muhajideen….

    This is what I love about people defending this engagement.

    So Guest… As far as you are concerned, we won't find former Muhajideen within the Taliban.. Or Al Qaeda for that matter?

    Three words for you:

    Osama bin Laden

  103. Well you kind of have to now, having made such a silly remark in the first place. Cons are never wrong after all.

  104. I understood your point which was that the Afghans "beat back" the Russians because the Yanks "armed and trained" them.

    My question still stands. How is it that the same Yanks are now incapable "beating back" their former students? After all, we are talking about the most sophisticated military force in the world. And this sophisticated force is also being assisted other sophisticated forces.



    Here we are almost 10 years later… no where near a win…

    Over to you, lgarvin…

  105. Ah Emily I see that you've finally dropped all pretense of being sane. Awesome.

  106. "That's like asking why the Leafs suck so much, since they were winning Stanley Cups in the 60s."

    Yeah so that would be a clever analogy were it not for the fact that the Leafs equivalent is NOT the Taliban in this story. It's us.

  107. That's wishful thinking. The US probably won't adopt a carbon tax. Do you really think that the Obama administration would push for one? Or that the Republican-controlled House would pass it?

  108. It is curious…David Mcguinty indicated that the Liberals would be expressing unanimous disapproval of the Bloc motion. Dion's comments would seem to indicate he agrees with the Bloc motion. Wonder how he will vote.

  109. I don't think our enemies are that foolish so as to be "emboldened". They always knew that they would be able to melt away from invading forces.

  110. I'm not the one with the asinine theory of warfare.

  111. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban

    Perhaps we should all do a little more reading before offering opinions? Particularly interesting is Robert Fisk's Taliban reference when the British were last there.
    One thing's definitely clear – Afghanistan has been the victim [ and enthusiastic participant ] of outside forces since the year dot. We seem to be dealing with tribal forces that we likely only have the vaguest of understanding of – although i would hope with the resources NATO and the west have at their disposal we might have learned something about this country by now? One might be to leave them alone – but since no one else is likely to, a new version of the great game goes on – all with the best of intentions on our side of course – don't we always?

  112. And the most famous Mujahideen of them all is Osama bin Laden.

    A piece of trivia: Conan Doyle's Dr. Watson of mid-19th century is a surgeon returning from Afghanistan while Dr. Watson of Sherlock, a tv series set in present-day London, is also a surgeon returning from Afghanistan.

    Generations after generations of Afghans have been trained to fight, by Afghans.

  113. In other words, we're too incompetent to know the risks and how to deal with them? That's what he seems to be suggesting, isn't it?

  114. The short answer is that we (meaning the US primarily) are never going to "win."

    We can't fight the Taliban in Pakistan because of the political situation in that country, and we haven't got the will to keep fighting there in Afghanistan in perpetuity. So we can lose now or we can lose later… but we're going to lose, IMO.

  115. They're really good at hiding, whether it's in caves in remote areas, or in general populations with varying degrees of loyalty/antipathy towards them. The NATO forces could probably hunt and kill every single Afghan in the country in a matter of weeks. But that would be horrific. It's the sorting out that's the problem.

  116. Oh I disagree. Beating the Brits and the Russians is one thing.

    Humiliating America on the battlefield? Priceless.

  117. Add Mullah Omar, former Muhajideen, now head of the Taliban to the list. It's kind of like a soap opera – the same characters keep appearing in different roles.

  118. You've swallowed the propaganda, Crit. The carbon tax is not a 'leftie' idea. It's favoured by that bastion of rightwingedness – the American Enterprise Institute.

  119. Winning was never going to happen. We should have known this based on our the Russian and the Brit experience there.

    It's bad enough that we can't beat them but now, our leaders have the nerve to suggest that the Afghans need training? And we the suckers… I mean… Taxpayers are going to foot the bill too?

    What a farce.

    PolJunkie <—- Back to banging head on desk

  120. Okay, so in your opinion, how long does a country need to be "held" for an occupation to be considered successful? A thousand years? Two thousand years? Ten thousand?

    Ny you're reasoning, Canada could still be considered an occupied land on the brink of failure, which clearly it is not.

  121. The C.I.A. funded and supplied the native Afghan Mujahadeen. Osama bin Laden was not a member of the native Afghan Mujahadeen. During the Afghan war against the Soviet Union, Osama bin Laden was one of many Arabs who travelled to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union. These "Arab Afghans" were not funded by the CIA or the United States. The "Arab Afghans" were funded by oil money from Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Arab world.

    Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's second in command, mocks the idea that Arab fighters were funded by the U.S.

    In 1993, Osama bin Laden told Robert Fisk: "Personally, neither I nor any of my brothers saw evidence of American help."

    In 1996, Robert Fisk asked Osama bin Laden: "Did not the Americans support the mujahadeen's war against the Soviets?" Osama bin Laden's reply was: "We were never at any time friends of the Americans. We knew that the Americans support Jews in Palestine and that they are our enemies."

    I could continue with a multitude of documented examples showing that the US and the CIA did not fund Arab Afghans, including Osama bin Laden, but I doubt it would be of any interest to those who cling to the myth that "the USA trained bin Laden."

    Sources: Robert Fisk, The Independent, Dec 6 1993. Robert Fisk, The Independent, July 10, 1996. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Sharq al-Awat, Dec 3, 2001. Richard Miniter, Disinformation, 2005.

  122. Yes you are! You just invented the "Bull-in-a-China-Shop" Theory of Warfare! That wasn't Alfanerd, or Crit, or anybody else. It was YOU Emily. You have the asinine theory of warfare.

  123. Once again, you miss the point, Jan. I couldn't care less about whether it's a "leftie" idea or not. I'm just saying that the US isn't going to adopt a carbon tax anytime soon. Ask anyone who follows American politics.

  124. I absolutely agree, but would take it further. We shouldn't distort any history in an attempt to make a point.

    Unfortunately, it happens far too often.

  125. I see so if I understand you correctly, ARAB Afghans such as Osama who, following the islamist mujahideen call to arms, came to Afghanistan for the purpose of fighting alongside the NATIVE Afghans, also islamist mujahideens, should not be considered part of the mujahideen?

    So how does one become part of such an exclusive club? Do they give out membership cards or something?

  126. L.A. Times, November 17, 2010: “As NATO leaders meet in Lisbon this weekend, the U.S. is expected to endorse a plan for slow withdrawal and gradually handing over security responsibility by 2014.“:
    “At a summit in Lisbon this weekend, Obama and other NATO leaders will endorse a plan to gradually turn combat responsibility over to the Afghan army and police by 2014.”

    OK – forget Alexander and ancient history – I agree that is likely too distant to count. (Just a coincidence that Alexanders' long march/conquest to the east was abandoned after the tough sledding in Afghanistan, I am sure.)
    And if you don't want to understand the failure of at least 4 or 5 empires to conquer Afghanistan in the last 170 years, then consider the "Vietnamese-ization" strategy pursued by the USA as early as 1964!! (Nixon was still repeating that nonsense as Saigon fell.)
    Chicago Tribune, Feb. 27, 1964: “future military maneuvers in South Vietnam would see government troops increasingly taking the initiative.”

  127. As I was saying…

    Accepting you've gone off the deep end is the first step – now you should do the right thing and check yourself in to a "wellness center" where you will hopefully get better and not be a threat to your fellow citizens.

  128. The US definitely did NOT win every battle in Vietnam. Look up the Battle of Ap Bac, just for starters.

  129. Well at least Nixon didn't stupidly offer to train them before exiting.

  130. As a matter of fact, the native Afghan Mujahadeen and the Arab Afghans rarely fought "side-by-side". They were completely different organizations, with completely different leadership and sources of funding. The Arab Afghans rarely ventured to the front. Many were killed in clashes with rival Islamist factions in Pakistan. The native Afghan Mujahadeen received its funding from the CIA via the Pakistan intelligence service, because the native Afghan Mujahadeen was allied with Pakistan while the Arab Afghans were not.

    Source: Richard Miniter, Disinformation, 2005. Peter Bergen, Holy War Inc, 2001.

  131. "Every thing is what it is and nothing else"

    I'm not sure i trust in that aphorism all the time. But nevertheless this may actually be different. One major difference is [ according to Afghan polling – who actually carries out this polling? Is it reliable?] that Afghans want us to help – there was no similar popular support in Vietnam. On the other hand one similarity is we don't seem able to curb govt corruption, which is greatly undermining the confidence Afghans have in ISAF.
    I don't see any direct evidence that we are following in Nixon's footsteps. Some times we do learn, if only painfully slowly.

  132. PolJunkie &lt;—- Back to banging head on desk

    Can I suggest a thick hardcover book? Place it on the desk where you bang your head and thump your head on the book. The pages will absorb some of the energy, saving some brain cells. The hard covers will still generate that satisfying "THUNK" from each blow. You'll need to substitute a new book every couple of weeks as they tend to soften up over time. Encyclopedias or thick dictionaries are ideal. (Not that I'm an expert or anything.)

    Kidding aside. I think you have to just deconstruct what they mean by training… Afghans don't need training on how to shoot or clean weapons or survive in the mountains. When they say "training" they really mean indoctrination. They want to train the Afghan soldiers to be a modern army that will submit to and obey their political masters. They want to teach them loyalty, discipline & obedience to the government of Karzai.

  133. I have to say Emily, I personally love the way you remain unflappable despite the unending insults that are constantly hurled your way. I also suspect that this stoicism of yours is what has some foaming at the mouth, trying so hard to get a rise out of you.

  134. Yeah but we can always rewrite wikipedia which for a lot of people is the same as rewriting history.

  135. Ever heard he expression – the enemy of my enemy is my enemy. There's money coming in from various countries to help kick us out of there.

  136. Actually lgarvin, my brain cells are surprisingly resilient. I much prefer the numbing that comes from the wood as it does wonders in getting me to accept that Stephen Harper is my Prime Minister and the only hope I have in seeing being replaced lies with Michael Ignatieff.

    Numbness is key.

    As for teaching loyalty, discipline and whatever else, that would be in keeping with insulting and laughable training program, I agree.

  137. Polling is used to manufacture consent in this country so it is not surprising they are employing it in Afghanistan.

    If the western powers that are haphazardly occupying Afghanistan (the Rand study says it would take 500K-1M troops to actually make a difference – and that was back in '02) had popular support – then after 10 years this thing would be over. It is a version of civil war that foreign powers have been torquing for thirty years.

  138. It gets better…

    Both the AFGHAN Mujahideen and ARAB AFHGAN (not to be confused with the NATIVE AFGHAN Mujahideen even though there were in Afghanistan at the expressed request of the Muhajideen) fought against the Russians…. together … but they didn't do it side by side.

    One group was in front and the other…uh… Where were the Non-Mujahideen ARAB AFGHANS again?

  139. Go do the research yourself. I provided several sources.

  140. Yes.

    How come. It's exactly the same.


    (sarc off)

    Cheap demagoguery, piled high with ignorant rhetoric. Gotta love him.

  141. Good point, Mike T.

    I would like to add that the Western will for the most part has never been in favour of bringing Afghanistan society standard levels up a notch (schooling, regular trading practices just to name a few ). Without some form of stability within Afghanistan, there will never be progress to report there. Hence, trying to bring the Afghan military standard up a notch or two is one way of starting somewhere within that process of trying to stabilize the country.

  142. "One might be to leave them alone"

    Agreed, but what if "they" won't leave us alone. And I'm not just referring to terrorist threats.

  143. Do you have any direct evidence that the polling numbers are torqued or skewed? Most of the reliable/ credible journalists [Canadian anyway] that i come across all seem to stress this point – that ordinary Afghans want us there. I'm not saying it couldn't happen – not much shocks me anymore. If that were proved to be a fact i do believe i'd go right out and buy an NDP membership…or join the anarchists or something…

  144. Guest, I have done the research. I've actually read Fisk' work on the subject which is why I know that you are being quite selective with your citations.

    The thing is, one doesn't need to have read Fisk or Bergen to see that what you are saying makes no sense. Osama was part of the Mujahideen and, like many others, switched hats whenever suitable.

    The Taliban is most certainly comprised of former Muhajideen fighters and so is Al Qaeda and so is the Karzai government. You'll likely find some who have been in all of these groupings at one point or another.

    Everyone knows this. I don't know who you are trying to kid here.

  145. I could continue with a multitude of documented examples showing that the US and the CIA did not fund Arab Afghans

    I think you should add at least one item from that list to your comment. After all, the evidence you've provided so far to show that the U.S. didn't fund the Arab part of the Mujahadden is basically "Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden say they didn't". Oh, well, if al-Zawahiri and bin Laden say it's not true, then I guess it's not true!

    I'm sorry, but I'm going to need at least one more piece of evidence beyond an interview given by the world's most wanted terrorist. The quote from Osama almost has me convinced, but I'm going to need the word of at least one more homicidal maniac to be totally convinced!

  146. Well played. Is it not time for someone to free Canada from occupation?
    I joke because I very strongly agree with CR that you can't dip into the well of history to try and justify/nullify something that is much more complex. It sounds good – but doesn't really pass the sniff test, unless you believe in superstition.

  147. There's really no call for this kind of trolling.

  148. I disagree with your romanticized interpretation. I will agree, some people are over the top with Emily, but I will also concede that she brings that out in people. Some people come here to debate things, and are at least somewhat willing to change their stance. I do not get that feeling from Emily at all. She is also unflappable when unending facts and vantage points are thrown her way. Why bother having any discussion when someone keeps insisting that they are right, without actually proving it in any rational manner?

  149. "She is also unflappable when unending facts and vantage points are thrown her way. Why bother having any discussion when someone keeps insisting that they are right, without actually proving it in any rational manner?"

    Exactly. Why bother? Why is it so important that Emily admits to being wrong? Why do you give a sh!t?

  150. I don't really need her to admit that she is wrong. I'm just sick of her insisting she is right, without having anything substantial to back up that claim. It gets both old and redundant…

  151. Still waiting for that 'trounce' to occur — heck, had it not been for the senator-in-waiting's assist, Harper would probably suffered some mighty losses and ended up with one of the smallest minority caucuses since Meighan… Of course, since it only reflects badly on that ethic and truthiness-challenged CON leader, I can understand your insistence to mock Dion's accent. That technique must have worked for you in the gym locker, too…

  152. That's the Cheney doctrine. Invade country, install puppet government, force them to buy your military hardware and expertise. Shoot so-called lawyer friend in the face. Laugh your way to the bank.

  153. ok i'll bite…what are you referring to?

  154. Do you ever, EVER!! get tired of whining? It must be really hard to keep it up? Aren't you worried it'll make you all cynical or something?

  155. So do half the people here yet she's the one you focus on. Bizarre.

  156. Well – there is context beyond this thread – specifically the one pertaining to the Iggy "privates" joke thingy. I found her take on it very prudish, and was baffled by her belief that her perspective was shared by the "majority of voters". It's like answering a question with "God is on my side".

  157. The funny thing about history is often how people are incapable of understanding it. Alexander the Great did conquer Afghanistan and the Greek influence in that region lasted well beyond his death. The Mongols flattened the place in their famed campaigns, putting whole cities to the sword. Ancient Afghanistan was about being controlled by flavor of the day with regards to empires.

    The view held of Afghanistan being a graveyard was born out of the failure of the British East India Company (which ran India at the time) to put in a regime that was favorable to British interests. The decimation of the BEIC force was part of the great Victorian tradition to idolize great acts of defeat of futility. Other example of this include:

    'Chinese' Gordon at Khartoum
    Charge of the Light Brigade
    Last Stand at Isandlwana
    Massacre at Cawnpore

    The flip side of the coin was that all of these 'failures' had to be avenged. The British did that in Afghanistan in the 1880's that put a compliant government in place that lasted until after the First World War.

    The problems in Afghanistan were created by a Marxist regime that had no support outside of Kabul. They sought to reform society through the gun, killing those that resisted. The result was a regime that, when compared even to the Taliban. was excessively brutal. The Soviets intervened on the fear that an Islamic regime in Afghanistan might cause unrest in its Central Asian republics. That regime survived both the Soviet withdrawal and the eventual collapse of the Soviet state. It was internal treachery that brought down the Marxist regime in Kabul.

    Sadly, we have people like Dion who follow the more fictional version of history rather than actually paying attention. Too bad there are far too many people that would believe him.