Afghan Reasons

The real reasons we're in Afghanistan

As published in Ottawa Citizen & Montreal Gazette: Dec. 4, 2010

Sadly, but predictably, the Harper government has gradually lowered the profile of the formerly very public repatriation ceremonies for dead Canadian soldiers. I'm sure the government will continue to distance itself from the ugliness, as popular sentiment continues to turn against Canadian involvement. The Conservative party and the Canadian Forces have pursued the Afghanistan war, not the Canadian people. As an aside, there are no MPs or senators with children serving in Afghanistan -- the same holds true for U.S. Congress members and senators.
I will suggest a few reasons for Canada's presence in Afghanistan, all related to Canadian appeasement of the U.S. government and transnational business interests. Canada is in Afghanistan rather than Iraq to appease our U.S. allies. The Afghanistan counter-insurgency, with its lower casualty rate and NATO approval, is more politically viable than the Iraq quagmire would have been.
Afghanistan is, unfortunately, located at the centre of a group of oil and natural gas producers such as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Iran. The U.S. government and the transnational corporations they serve must control access to these resources. Afghanistan itself has considerable natural resources it must not be allowed to control. Hence, the Afghan people are saddled with the corrupt puppet government of Karzai who was elected after being "selected" by the U.S. government.
Afghanistan is located at the centre of three nuclear powers: China, Pakistan and India. There is no love between India and Pakistan and the economies of China and India are expanding at a phenomenal pace. The U.S. government must maintain a military presence in this vital and volatile region. As well, they need a launch pad for attacks on al-Qaeda forces in Pakistan.
To justify and hide the main reasons for our presence in that unfortunate country, the Canadian government continues pretending that the Taliban are a genuine threat to the West. The excellent humanitarian work of Canadian soldiers and aid workers is being used as an emotional smoke-screen to discourage dissent and mute critics.
Morgan Duchesney, Ottawa