A reply to Paul Dewar...
My friend Terry Glavin writes and blogs frequently on Afghanistan - and few journalists know as much about what is going on there then Glavin. Last week the National Post printed a Glavin opinion piece that urged Canada and others to firm in their support for Afghanistan.
The problem isn't the resolve of the Afghan people. For Afghans, the big fear isn't the spectre of Taliban militias rolling across the landscape and recapturing Kabul. It's the stink of a looming betrayal that emanates from the language of defeatism abroad in rich countries like Canada. It paralyzes the bravest Afghans --if it's all coming to an end, there's no point in sticking one's neck out. It also fuels the "corruption" that plagues the country -- if this isn't going to last, then you might as well get it while the getting's good.Well, Paul Dewar, the Foreign Affairs critic of the NDP, sent a reply to Terry about how the NDP is working for peace, etc. You can see all of this here.And, here's Terry's terrific reply to Dewar...
The language we speak is at least as important to the Afghan cause as bread or roses, or guns or butter. More than all else, what the Afghan people need to hear from us is plain words spoken in clear language:We will not betray you. We will not abandon you. We will not surrender. We will not retreat.
Until Canada's politicians can find it in themselves to speak that kind of language, perhaps they should do us all a favour and just keep their mouths shut.
Dear Kiavash[Dewar's assistant]:
Thank you for taking the time to send me this note, and thanks as well for the references.
I am well aware of these initiatives, and I wish the NDP all the best as it tries to articulate a sensible position on the question of Canada's role in Afghanistan. As you must be aware, however, the NDP's position -- withdraw troops, then send a diplomatic mission back to Afghanistan in the hope of drumming up interest in some kind of "peace process" -- is precisely the reason why the NDP has been dealt out of any serious discussions about the way forward. Augmenting the proposition with the innovation of an "eminent persons" group is unlikely to improve the NDP's prospects.
Neither the Haqqani Taliban, nor the Islamic Emirate (Mullah Omar's Taliban), nor Hezb-e-Islami (Gulbaddin Kekmatyar's forces) want to talk peace with you. They want to kill you.
All the best,