Recent Statement of Jack Layton on Afghan Mission

Layton does not mention at all the new leader of NATO forces in Afghanistan the American nicknamed "Bomber" McNeill because of his bombing policy.
Layton does not mention either why the mission is wrong in the first place. He does not question the legality of the invasion. He just claims that the mission is not working and that it is costing too many casualties both among Canadians and Afghanis.


Statement by NDP leader Jack Layton on the combat mission in Afghanistan
Wed 4 Jul 2007 |
The growing civilian death toll in Afghanistan at the hands of NATO forces is more disturbing evidence that the counter-insurgency mission is not working.

These deaths mark an escalation in the conflict. We have lost more Canadians in this - our heaviest combat, since Korea.

We support our troops and their families and it is out of the deep respect for each and everyone of them that we seek a de-escalation of this conflict.

We learned with great sadness from Afghan officials, that 45 civilians were killed this weekend by a NATO air strike.

According to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission - the organization which Prime Minister Harper and his government have entrusted to monitor detainees - over 270 civilians have been killed in military operations by international forces, so far this year.

Two-hundred and seventy.

This is unacceptable.

It is unacceptable to Canadians, and to the Afghan people.

On Monday, the Afghan ambassador to the United States asked foreign forces to limit the use of high altitude bombing in their campaigns.

Yesterday, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, responding to the surge in civilian deaths including the deaths of 7 children in a single attack, called on NATO to minimize civilian casualities.

Today I am calling on the Prime Minister to take a leadership role and add Canada’s voice in telling both the Bush administration and the North Atlantic Council of NATO that the level of Afghan civilian deaths is unacceptable and that indiscriminate and deadly airstrikes be stopped. Airstrikes which are only adding to the escalation to a war that shows no signs of ending.

The ratio of combatants versus Afghan civilians killed by NATO forces is quickly reaching the 50-50 mark. Clearly, the current strategy is not working.

Mr. Harper isn’t building the conditions for a lasting peace.

He’s fuelling the conditions for an escalating war.

That’s not what Canadians want.

And never before has the need for leadership on this issue been greater.

As Parliament rose for its summer recess, the Standing Committee on Defence, tabled its report on the current mission in Afghanistan.

Amazingly the Liberals tabled what it called a “complementary” report – simply accepting most of the government’s recommendations on the mission.

That’s not leadership.

Stephane Dion and the Bloc Quebecois seek to have Canada’s involvement in this mission continue for two more years.

We believe that two-more years is two years too long.

I call on Stephane Dion and Gilles Duceppe to answer the question – to their fellow Quebeckers and fellow Canadians - “if the mission is wrong in 2009 – why isn’t it also wrong in 2007?”

In the upcoming by-elections, voters will finally have an opportunity to have their say on Canada’s involvement in this mission.

The choice is clear.

They can vote for parties that got us into this mission, extended this mission, or who want it to go on another two years – or they can vote for the NDP.

Canadians want us to go in a different direction in Afghanistan – it’s time the Prime Minister started listening to them.

Thank you.

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