I have to admit I’m on the fence about the Canadian mission in Afghanistan. As a very “liberal” person I’m naturally against any kind of military conflict, as I think there are very few cases where it’s morally acceptable to end another persons life.
I also have to admit I’m confused about the position of the Liberal party on this. They were the ones who originally signed us up for the mission and now they’re asking for it to end. I really hope there’s more involved than “oppose anything put forward by the ruling party,” which is the normal operating procedure in the US.
But I’m also a pragmatist. While I think it is very useful to debate the historical reasons (ie: the US supporting the Taliban, then not, etc) leading to the current circumstances, that’s mostly irrelevant to the decision at hand. But, that debate will hopefully ensure we never end up back here again.
Whether Canada should stay involved in Afghanistan comes down to a simple question: Will the people of Afghanistan be better off if we leave or stay? There are other variables like whether we can afford to stay, but this is whether we “should.”
The points in favour of staying I can think of:
- If NATO leaves the Taliban will surely regain control, if the mainstream-media can be believed on this point.
- The recent election there was not won by a hard-line Islamic party so I have to assume Afghanis are not craving what’s offered by the Taliban.
- I also haven’t noticed any reports of the population wanting NATO to leave.
- NATO destroyed a lot of their infrastructure as part of the war, and I think that entitles the Afghanis to some support.
The points against staying I can think of:
- Canada itself had very little interest in seeing the Taliban removed from power, aside from wanting to be a cooperative NATO member. Canada was not attacked directly or indirectly by the Taliban. While most Canadians disagree with the positions of the Taliban, that’s not by itself a good enough reason to overthrow a government.
- Canadians are sacrificing to clean up somebody else’s mess.
Again, looking at the reality of the situation I can’t see how a full pull-out is in anyones best interests. I think debate on what our exact role should be is useful, like if we should eventually pull back to a non-combat role and just support and do peacekeeping.
Please let me know of any points I haven’t considered, as I’d like to achieve a well-informed opinion on the subject.