Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tories urged to define Afghanistan commitment

Why ask the Tories for more rhetorical garbage. The main point is to force them to withdraw as soon as possible. There is more and more nauseating patriotic stuff. Just as our TV programs often imitate the Americans so does our support the troops apparatus with ribbons etc., although we seem to delight in covering funerals whereas the US discourages this on the national scene it would seem --although I do not watch US TV much. The idea that our entire intervention was against international law and that we through NATO are just furthering the neo-conservative US agenda seems to escape most Canadians. Of course it is forgotten that even the present Afghan govt. has a department of Virtue and VIce. It is also forgotten that not long ago a Muslim converted to Christianity was sentenced to death and only escaped his demise by being allowed refuge in Italy. It is also forgotten that the allied invasion finished off the work of the worst warlords associated with the Northern Alliance. Well we must be happy with new "democratic" Afghan government with the US puppet Karzai defended by a US private security firm.

Tories urged to define Afghanistan commitment
Last Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2007 | 5:48 AM ET
CBC News
The federal government is facing more pressure to make a decision on the future of the Afghan mission as Canada mourns the loss of three more soldiers.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer will meet Thursday with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor and Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay in Ottawa to discuss the mission.

"I think what we're going to have is a very frank discussion about the mission itself," MacKay said outside the House of Commons Wednesday.

De Hoop Scheffer's visit comes after three Canadian Forces soldiers were killed in Afghanistan Wednesday when their unarmoured supply vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device.

The deaths of Cpl. Stephen Frederick Bouzane, Pte. Joel Vincent Wiebe and Sgt. Christos Karigiannis bring the total number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan since the mission started in 2002 to 60.

Harper's government has been under pressure in the House of Commons to define the length of Canada's commitment to the mission and make its intentions in Afghanistan clear.

Canada has committed troops to the war-torn country until February 2009. But its allies in southern Afghanistan are starting to ask questions about Canada's combat commitment, and whether it will last beyond that deadline.

"Will he now clearly say to the House how long this combat mission will last?" Liberal Deputy Leader Michael Ignatieff demanded during question period Wednesday. "Canadians deserve to know. Isn't it time for the truth?"

Canada has sustained the bulk of its casualties in and around Kandahar, where it is looking for some help from its allies, MacKay said. Some NATO countries have insisted on caveats that limit their how their troops can be deployed in the mission.

NATO chief's Quebec visit questioned
De Hoop Scheffer is also wading into the the unfavourable political climate in Quebec. He is scheduled to meet soldiers from the province's famed Royal 22nd Regiment — better known as the Van Doos — who are slated to take over operations in Afghanistan in August.

Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe said the Harper government has it wrong on Afghanistan and expressed his displeasure with the military organizing a rally and parade on Friday through Quebec City, which de Hoop Scheffer is scheduled to attend.

"We're supporting men and women for whom we've got of admiration — those in the Canadian Forces," Duceppe said. "But we are not supporting the policy of the government and we think that they're using the soldiers for their own purposes."

Quebecers' support for Canada's mission in Afghanistan is the lowest in the country, but MacKay said people in the province have a strong interest in hearing directly from de Hoop Scheffer about the mission.

"Let's not forget the Van Doos regiment — some are already deployed, more will be going. So they will want to hear about the mission and how it impacts on their sons and daughters," he said.

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