by Mentarch | 7/09/2008 02:27:00 PM
As the world turns and seasons come and go, the Afghanistan adventure remains a disastrous quagmire.

Except, of course, in the feverish minds of those (neocon) cheerleading supporters of this FUBAR and dedicated Bush supporters/emulators/followers, such as Canada's very own Defense Minister Peter McKay (emphasis mine):

Defence Minister Peter MacKay dismissed the idea that the Taliban is launching a new offensive in Afghanistan, saying Tuesday the mounting death toll and surge in violence are linked to the end of the annual poppy harvest.

MacKay said suicide attacks that have seen more than 40 people killed in recent days and the death Sunday of another Canadian soldier are likely tied to the conclusion of the lucrative trade that funds Taliban activities.

"The so-called spring offensive very often does lead to an uptick in insurgency attacks,'' he said Tuesday after a funding announcement in Halifax.

"This effort by the Taliban coincides with the end of the poppy harvest so there are more young individuals subject to being bought and paid for by the Taliban to involve themselves in the insurgency."
In other words, the Afghan upswing of violence of late is nothing more than a seasonal phenomenon.

Well, la-dee-da.

(Oh, and if such blatant denial of reality sounds somewhat familiar, then you are right: according to President G.W. Bush, this only has been a "tough month", is all ...)

Let's see:

  • Suicide bombings, once an unknown concept in Afghanistan, have increased exponentially: from zero in 2002, to two in 2003, three in 2004, 17 in 2005, 123 in 2006, and 160 last year.

  • Coalition deaths have increased steadily since 2004 with 58 soldiers killed that year. The total more than doubled to 130 killed in 2005, 191 in 2006, and 232 in 2007. One hundred twenty-seven have died so far this year.

  • Last year was the deadliest one in Afghanistan and this year looks to at least match it in scope.

Nothing seasonal here.

But incompetents like Defense Minister McKay just keep on viewing the grim reality through political and ideological rosy spectacles:
MacKay said the grim statistics don't tell the whole story of Afghanistan, which has seen its per capita income double across the country since 2002, while more than 80 per cent of Afghans now have access to basic health care, compared with only nine per cent in 2004.
That's right - but here is my question: any hard data to actually support such grand claims?

Especially in light of the rank corruption of the Afghan government, the still inefficient and embattled police force, and the simple fact that Afghanis were among the poorest of the planet before the launch of the Afghanistan war in 2001?

Hell, living allowances supposedly being dished out by the Afghan government are in fact being put in the pockets of corrupted officials - consequently pushing more destitute and frustrated young men to join the continuing and amplifying, flourishing Taliban insurgency - while one in five Afghan soldier drops out of their fledging, poorly trained and paid army - care to guess what these deserters will become?

And that is not taking into account the recent revelation that the civilian death toll resulting from the fighting between insurgents and security forces has soared by 60% in the first half of this year alone (one recent example of why and how this is happening - h/t).

In the meantime, both U.S. (h/t) and Canadian (h/t) military remain silent of such civilian deaths.

Anyone care to guess what is likely to become of surviving family members, friends and neighbors?

For indeed, Afghans have been facing a grim choice for quite a long time now: who is the bigger nightmare - the Taliban or the N.A.T.O. forces?

But all of this is apparently poppycock, if one would hang onto the words of the shining brand new Canadian "Top Soldier" - Lt.-Gen. Walter Natynczyk - like one hangs onto the Gospels as an article of faith: according to him, there is no sign that the Taliban is regaining its strength and Canadian troops will definitely leave Kandahar in 2011.

Such blatant "toeing the talking point" of the good general's own boss (Defense Minister McKay) flies in the face on not only the facts and numbers mentioned above, but likewise contradicts the truth of the situation to which the Americans, even the incompetent Bush administration, are finally becoming aware of - a few headlines as cases in point:
Taliban flourishing, Pentagon reports (h/t);

Is This the Year of the Taliban?

Taliban attacks up 40 percent in east Afghanistan: US general;

Losing On The Forgotten Front;

NATO's Lost Cause;

Remember the other war?

Gates voices worry over Afghanistan (h/t);

Turmoil puts Afghanistan at epicenter of White House campaign;

US warns Taliban to step up fight in new Afghan areas;

Hunkering Down in Afghanistan;

Get Ready For The Surge 2.0 - This Time In Afghanistan;

Pentagon extends tour of Marines in Afghanistan;

Bush considers sending more troops to Afghanistan.
Yes, yes, yes indeedy - there is progress in Afghanistan, or so we keep on hearing again and again and again and again and again.

And hey - Canada is now helping to build walls (h/t) around university campuses and rebuilding prisons broken into by the Taliban, and may even help protect a brand new oil pipeline over there!

(Which in turn makes me wonder how much money will be wasted to fill the greedy pockets of those corrupted corporations who keep fleecing government monies tagged for Afghan reconstruction - like these others keep doing in Iraq?)

Ah, yes ... Afghanistan has been a big success so far and the Taliban is losing (yet again).

Welcome to Magical Ponies Land - where people and soldiers have died, still die and will continue to die, for nothing more than what in the end has amounted to a needless and ludicrous political exercize on the part of incompetent "deciders" as their response to 9/11.

Or to put it another way: Afghanistan has always been nothing more than a 9/11 vengeance operation, and once the Bush administration had control of the place, they did not have much clue as to what to do - and obviously, they still don't.

But no matter what the cost, apparently, Canada's single most important endeavor will go on even if its disavowed mission in Afghanistan keeps on changing - perhaps helping in the process of defining those oh-so-elusive signposts of success as they go along.

And should all else fail - then the Afghanis will be blamed for it.

As the world turns and seasons come and go, Afghanistan proves there's a whole lot more abject incompetence and sheer stupidity for our "Deciders" to show.

(Cross-posted from APOV)

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