Friday, September 01, 2006

Give Pizza Chants

Whatever you think of Jack Layton's political opinions, at heart, he is a reasonable man who believes that everyone else acts as reasonable men.

He shares the common myopia of Western man that has troubled him since the Enlightenment: an almost superstitious belief in the rationality of man and the desire of all men to achieve and act on same.

Which is why he can sincerely believe that the Taliban will come to the negotiating table, if given the opportunity, and see that their reasonable objectives can be achieved there, while setting aside their unreasonable ones:

Canadian troops should withdraw from Afghanistan as soon as possible, NDP leader Jack Layton demanded yesterday.

"This is not the right mission for Canada," Mr. Layton told reporters at a news conference.

Mr. Layton said the mission is not making the world a safer place and with no end in sight, he wants troops home by February, 2007, at the latest.

That's when the mission was originally supposed to end, but in May, Parliament narrowly voted to extend Canada's military presence in Afghanistan until 2009. The NDP voted against the motion.

The NDP leader wants a "comprehensive peace process" to be implemented in Afghanistan -- one that could even include sitting down for talks with the Taliban.

"We believe that a comprehensive peace process has to bring all combatants to the table," Mr. Layton said.

"You don't accomplish peace if those who are fighting are not involved in a peace-based discussion, that's fundamental."

When further asked about negotiating with the Taliban, Mr. Layton said that a cessation of violence would have to be the first step.

The NDP leader said the current mission has no clear mandate or objectives, no criteria to measure its success, no timeline and no exit strategy.

Wars must be fought according to a plan, but no war ever follows one. Set piece battles and advances along well-defined fronts do not apply in a battle against an enemy that fights neither, and does not define its success or failure in such terms.

Robert McNamara's brilliant analysts tried to fight Vietnam as if they were running Ford. The results are known to us all.

Nonetheless, there is a clear objective: destroy the Taliban, drive their allies out of Afghanistan and make way for some sort of functioning civil government that can maintain a semblance of order and keep down militant Islam. Democratic, preferably, but a military regime, if necessary.

Achieving that objective isn't going to be done according to Six Sigma or seminar.

Source: National Post

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