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What happens after 2011, for Canada and Afghanistan

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Sorry mine is working just fine....

Pulling Canadian soldiers from Afghanistan in 2011 will leave a gaping hole in security efforts and won't necessarily ensure the end of combat operations, former chief of defence staff General Rick Hillier says.

As MPs prepare to debate the future of the country's military mission in Afghanistan, Hillier delivered some plain-spoken advice in an interview with the Toronto Star: don't trust the twisted rhetoric and outright lies that will surely be delivered by the Conservative government or opposition parties.

There will still be a need for security and counter-insurgency operations when Canada's mandate expires in 2011, he said. If seasoned Canadian troops leave Kandahar, some other nation, likely less familiar with the terrain and power brokers, will have to do the job.

He said there's no need for Canadian troops, except in Kandahar or the northeast, and there's no way for Canada to carry out a goodwill mission without encountering violence.

"If you stay in the south and try to do something like training, you will still be in combat. I don't care what (political) staffers say in the media about how they can find a way to do it. You simply will not. You will be in combat," Hillier said during a promotional interview for his new book, A Soldier First: Bullets, Bureaucrats and the Politics of War.

Living behind blast walls and trying to carry out aid and reconstruction projects is futile and dangerous in a country where NATO and insurgent forces are battling for the trust of the locals.

"It would be like going to shore at Normandy on the sixth of June (1944) and driving around ... sightseeing and leaving the enemy the opportunity, flexibility and initiative to attack you when they want," Hillier said.

The advice from the most politically savvy soldier to lead the Canadian Forces in memory won't be welcomed by MPs of any stripe: all are driving for a reduced presence in Afghanistan eight years after it was invaded by the United States.

But Hillier's intent, both as chief of defence staff and now as a former general, was never to be "politically palatable."

He rarely was. His three-year term will be remembered for dubbing the years of mostly Liberal rule in the 1990s the "Decade of Darkness," branding the Taliban "scumbags and murderers" and for musing about a 10-year fight for the future of Afghanistan when the government had committed Canadian troops to only two years down the line.

"I always tried to speak frankly and clearly and to say whatever I believed was right," Hillier said.

"The military knew what it was doing on the ground there and what was needed, and to have people and staffers coming out and saying that we can do this job in two years or five years, or we can train without being in combat ... it's just baloney."

The most prominent theme in Hillier's autobiography is a distaste for politicians who cast aside responsible, realistic and professional assessments to impose their own torqued political imperatives and for bureaucrats who would rather protect their turf in Ottawa than Canadian soldiers in a war zone.

Those were the defining characteristics of the capital during the Liberal and Conservative minority parliaments from 2005 to 2008.

"It's a terrible, terrible environment in which to work," he said. "Very vitriolic. We've been in that now for five years and it doesn't appear that we're going to break out of it."

What's lost are the courageous long-term commitments necessary to fight a tough war or rebuild the Canadian military, in favour of short-term government gambles or unfair opposition criticisms that sell well with the electorate.

An analysis he conducted of the daily question period in the House of Commons found about 150 questions in one session of Parliament on military and defence issues. The vast majority focused on the treatment of suspected insurgents by Canadian soldiers, and whether they were abused in local Afghan-run jails -- a matter Hillier views as a tempest in an Afghan teapot.

"I'm not sure our parliamentary system right now is delivering really what Canadians would like to have," he said.

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I think Canadians to try to wrap thier minds around the possibility of stay in Afghan much longer than 2011...

An estimated 104,000 U.S. and NATO troops will be in Afghanistan by the end of the year, two-thirds of whom are American, and 3,000 of whom are from Canada.


How many troops do you think should be there in 2011?

Stephen Harper says that the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan can never be defeated. Never.

What do you know that Stephen Harper doesn't know?

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How many troops do you think should be there in 2011?

More than 104 K, there are some countries expanding thier troop levels....Italy, germany, france, Canada minor increases but they count as well....

Stephen Harper says that the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan can never be defeated. Never.

What do you know that Stephen Harper doesn't know?

I'm sure he has access to alot more intel than i do, but is he using it to base his remarks on.....he has a record of not listening to advisors or advice, he also has a record of not standing up for his mistakes....

And while he may have access to more intel, i'm sure the PM has not spent many hours hunting down these scumbags and distributing are foreign policy either....I've spent a year and half doing it, although it does not make me an expert, but i'm sure it does give me some credibilty in say these guys can be defeated....on and off the battlefield....anything is achieveable if you are willing to put enough resources and funding behind it....

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as a taxpayer, I would support an indefinite Canadian role in Afghanistan.

Civilian or military roles will be determined by the situation there and then

As a taxpayer I dont support ANY indefinate military obligations. So can you pay for my share since you like this policy so much?

You could just re-imburse me directly through my paypal account or something like that.

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Why should i care what a General says about what we should be doing in Afghanistan. The entire strategy there is fundamentally flawed so bad its a joke. They are trying to fight an entirely different kind of war using military strategies that are 60+ years old.

Didn`t work in Vietnam, didn`t work in Iraq, didn`t work for the Soviet`s in Afghanistan, won`t work for us either.

The West`s hair-trigger response to any huge security problem is to find the country or people responsible and bomb the hell out of them. Sorry that doesn`t work in every situation.

We should be be trying to address the root causes of the entire problem of transnational terrorism, and not just fighting the symptoms.

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Guest TrueMetis
We are still waiting for your dissertation, Mr. Ambassador...

He does say

"Frankly, we are not going to ever defeat the insurgency," but then goes on to say "What has to happen in Afghanistan is we have to have an Afghan government, that is capable of manageing that insurgency and improving it's own governence."

So basically the only way to win is get an Afghan government and Army going to take on the Taliban themselves. A far cry from

Stephen Harper says that the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan can never be defeated. Never.
Edited by TrueMetis
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The entire quote...

"Quite frankly, we are not going to ever defeat the insurgency. Afghanistan has probably had - my reading of Afghanistan history (is) it's probably had an insurgency forever of some kind.

"What has to happen in Afghanistan is we have to have an Afghan government that is capable of managing that insurgency."

The fact is we cannot win by bullets aone nor can we win without bullets.

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Both Morris and I agree we can't win, so what's the fuss?

Not quite. I think winning is inevitable provided we are brave enough and don't pay attention to the idiotic blatherskite you are so found of pushing. It doesn't matter whether victory, brought forward by guns is finalized by pens...

I know that winning will make you sad, you prefer being a loser....trust me, you will be, you will be.

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The fact is we can't win, period.

We cannot kill every terrorist and dismantle every terror group. It's impossible. You cannot destroy an idea, or an ideology in this case. There are neo-nazi's and KKK members still walking around out there. Terrorism as a tool will also certainly never ever go away.

The best we can do is to contain terrorism that seeks to harm us as best as we possibly can.

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