Tell Us Your Afghanistan Agenda

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Last week, Stephen Harper and other NATO leaders met to consider a new agenda for the war in Afghanistan. These leaders discussed plans that will mean the difference between success or failure in Afghanistan, and will cost billions of dollars and untold lives.

I would like to know what is Your Agenda for Afghanistan. Please take our 2-minute survey.

As a gift to you, the Straight Goods family of news web sites is offering you a free trial with a guest subscription.

Tell us Your Agenda for Afghanistan. Then leave an additional comment below.

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74 Responses to “Tell Us Your Afghanistan Agenda”

  1. Terri RobsonApril 26, 2009 at 2:20 pm #

    The only people who win in war are those who make the bullets. This is nothing more than economic interests of so called Democratic countries vying for the natural resource riches and geopolitical landscape. The sooner citizens realize this the better off we will be in determining how we feel our Great Country of Canada should move forward in this debacle. And lets all remember

    The First Thing to go in War is Truth

  2. MarthaApril 17, 2009 at 11:06 pm #

    Focussing on the UN and peacekeeping AND on disarmament AND on stopping the trade and transfer of light arms would all be good.
    STOPPING the killing of all Afghanis not indiscutably proven to be insurgents would be better.
    Helping tha Afghan people with food, housing, medical assistance, education, roads, security services that really keep people safe in their daily activities would be the best Canada could do. It is obvious (but we forget) that money not spent on arms and military personnel will make a tidy sum to spend on HELPING PEOPLE.

  3. AnonymousApril 15, 2009 at 10:49 pm #

    An immediate withdrawal of troops would leave a vacuum and although it has some desirability I think it would leave problems. However the emhasis should change from military to helping in very basic ways with education and medicine/health, building simple homes, helpigng with infrastructure needs. Look closely at the reality of the poverty and disruption that the country, the people continually face and give human support. Find ways for small projects in which there can be some Afghani engagement to help foster skills etc.Do we do much to show that we are really concerned about the Afghan people which should be our agenda, but, what is our agenda?

  4. JohannaApril 14, 2009 at 10:04 pm #

    I do not believe in this war because I do not believe the premise. Helping women? I know that the oil needs to flow from the Caspian see to Pakistan and that the mulitary industrial complex is making the money.
    There is not much that we can do other than collectively withhold our taxes.
    I for one will divert my “war” taxes to http://www.consciencecanada.ca

  5. BrendaApril 14, 2009 at 11:31 am #

    As a woman who supported the removal of the Taliban as a first step to restore full human rights for the women of Afghanistan, I have recently been horrified by the assassination of a prominent female Afghan, as well as the proposed law legalizing forced sexual activity in marriage. Canadian women and men are fighting in Afghanistan for values that are anathema to many of the locals. Do we have the right to ask our young people to continue fighting for something that they can never accomplish?

  6. s m taylorApril 14, 2009 at 10:54 am #

    Afghanistan has an over 200 year historyof invasions and repelling them. The people are hardened warriors who have survived by being tough, skilled fighters who can defeat any invading group. My great uncle Macnagten led a British army of over 15,000 into Afghanistan in the 1800s His entire army was wiped out by Afghan fighters using low tech weapons. Its absolultly useless to try to conqure these xenophobic people who have survived foreign invasion. Its their country – why mess with it ?

  7. Peg KeenleysideApril 14, 2009 at 10:28 am #

    The recent comments by Harper that the Taliban cannot be militarily defeated is welcome news. I think it reflects a truth a lot of people know about religious extremism and tribal based cultures: war just feeds the violence and power struggles. I’m also hoping that the change in the political mindset on what constitutes “winning” in Afghanistan will mean changes in the overall objectives – Afghans want security and the chance to make a living above all it would seem. The Taliban are a nightmare, but they thrive where people are desperate and where they think there’s no alternative. There is an alternative to extremism – a civil society where the incitement to violence is dealt with by an uncorrupt justice system.

  8. JimApril 14, 2009 at 12:39 am #

    Suggest in the long term:
    1. Provide generous financing to gather top Moslem and Christiam clerics to clarify the religious base for treatment of each other. (Reference: A Deadly Misunderstanding by Mark D. Siljander).
    2. Establish dialogue between both (or is it all) sides to clarify minds about the long term futility of violence in all its forms.
    3. Seek ways to enable all to recognize the humanity in others. All of the big religions recognize various versions of the “Golden Rule”.
    (Google it and see).
    In the short term proriy should be given to sparing the lives of civilians and improving their lot even though they may seem to be helping the “enemy”. The importance of winning over the civilian population is paramount for long term stability. There seems to be no alternative to operating from a position of power in the light of the vast diffference between the stands of the opposing sides.

  9. Eileen WttewaallApril 14, 2009 at 12:30 am #

    I wanted to check all the responses in the third question of the survey. War only works for the military industrial complex. People and the environment are the losers.

    All of us, as “civil society” need to get together; support and direct what we want the UN to do in our name, so that all societies can work to develop their sovereignty within the family of nations, as we address all our “problems” with the opportunities to make the changes, so crucially required.

    Otherwise the military industrial complex wins and eventually destroys
    nations, societies and all that sustains human life.

  10. JoanApril 13, 2009 at 10:43 pm #

    The Taliban are going to continue to be a real challenge, Women are being further harassed and fear for their lives if they speak out in any way. Women and children are my main priority to support. The Taliban will not respect any interference and meet it with more violence. They will take over once again when our soldiers pull out. Keeping the fight going is getting no where except in lost lives.

    How do we get the Afganistan people to take charge when they are pushed down at every turn with the Taliban threat. There has to be some answers and somewhere to begin rebuilding this country. How do we work with the Taliban for change? Is this possible? Should the poppy trade be legalized for medical purposes and the Talban receive monetary compensation. How do we infiltrate the Tailban for positve change?

    Start somewhere with a new strategy or the Afganistan people will suffer further. Help the people, build more schools, be there in some capacity to help re- build the country that was destroyed by the Taliban and the recent war.

  11. Angus CunninghamApril 13, 2009 at 9:03 pm #

    War is an appalling last resort. We got into this in solidarity with the United States’ after the 9/11 suicide flight attacks. These we have been led to understand were orchestrated by a wealthy former Saudi business partner of the United States’ Commander in Chief of the day. We have since learned that this shadowy figure was in a US hospital for treatment a few months’ before the 9/11 attack.

    How is it that the combined NATO governmental resources cannot find that former business partner who apparently owes his life to American military hospital personnel? Non-availability of a believable official answer to this question leaves the ordinary intelligent citizen to imagine either massive incompetence at ordinary official levels or a deliberate program of massive disinformation arranged by holders of high official office, and probably both.

    Quarrels, fights, battles, and wars are all caused by breakdowns of communication. Furthermore, bungled communication is born of fear and automatic resort to harsh or inaccurate language. That is why research into communication, education in it, and PRACTICE in principles of productively peaceful communication, such as the principle of empathic authenticity embodied in Rational Emoto-Linguistics, is so critical for the taxes and surplus of society to support. I therefore request that Ceasefire editors take steps to explore the principle of empathic authenticity and the economics of its application in stressful circumstances — by reviewing the following URL:

    http://www.authentixcoaches.com/IHXENPayOff.com

    The economics of the application briefly narrated there are spectacularly good. They tell us at Authentix Coaches that in inventing, testing, and proving our Rational Emoto-Linguistics – a set of language articulation and interpretation approaches deliberately avoiding of presumption that we are calling Eye-Zen English — we have begun to make a new and promising improvement on the hard and courageous work begun by Gandhi and now continued in various centres for non-violent communication around the world.

    Angus Cunningham
    President, Authentix Coaches
    http://www.authentixcoaches.com/aboutus.html

  12. SusanApril 13, 2009 at 8:47 pm #

    I hope that we can return to our roll as peacekeepers. I would like for Canada to support the UN and peace keeping. However I do have concerns as to how the UN is being run and how decisions are being made.

  13. Robert F NelsonApril 13, 2009 at 8:36 pm #

    The situation in Afghanistan is complex and a twenty-first century one but the Armed Forces fighting there are using the same tactics that have been used in war for centuries. They are not fighting AGAINST Afghanistan, nor really FOR the people of Afghanistan and it is not really a traditional Civil War. It is not clear whether Canada is sending troops there to support one side against many opposing forces, is there to show some sort of solidarity with American forces and other NATO countries, is there to oppose the marcotic trade, to supposedly be heading off fears that terrorist attacks against our country may be brewing there, or is there to foster humanitarian causes, or perhaps for some obscure economic reason. While we may be deeply offended and incensed, as we ought to be, at the treatment of women and non-believers we must realize that these traditions are deeply engrained and are not likely to be changed over night by force. It is deeply offensive to me that my tax dollars are being invested in killing others regardless of their beliefs and many who are kliied are neutral non-combattants. I suspect that there are many Taliban who are relatively moderate and we should be talking to them and persuading them that we are not there to take over their country (which I trust is true)but are interested in providing humanitarian aid (which I hope is true)but at the same time are concerned about the way they are treating their women. Lastly it is in vigue to say that one supports our troops which I do to some extent but not whether they are right or wrong any more than I adhere to the jingoistic doctrine of “my country right or wrong”.

  14. mariaApril 13, 2009 at 7:26 pm #

    Canada’s aid carrying a gun, its search and destroy missions, have cost it all credibility. We have not been a force for peace and few Afghanis apparently see us as such. Let’s advocate and support an international mission to help Afghanistan recover from our intervention. Let’s do the honorable thing and get our guns, our soldiers out of where they simply do not belong.

  15. Kimberly SmithApril 13, 2009 at 7:22 pm #

    Our trouble stems from the dominance of economics over all other social and environmental considerations. The only way to renew healthy society and build peace and prosperity all over our world is for all governments to value and enforce equal human rights for all people everywhere. So clearly we have our work cut out for ourselves. Earth itself finally calls the shots. We can either wake up and learn how to get along or perish. Read “Toward Social Renewal” by Rudolf Steiner. Google it!

  16. KeithApril 13, 2009 at 6:53 pm #

    The best course for Canada in Afghanistan is to make major investments in peacekeeping, development and support of civil society. These are our strengths and our strengths exactly match the Afghan needs. The West has agreed that no military solution to Afghanistan’s problems exist. Therefore Canada can play a leading role in contributing to the non-military solutions.

  17. mmaggie thomasApril 13, 2009 at 6:46 pm #

    i totally agree with G. Janssen. Whenever we decide to leave Afghanistan and I believe the sooner the better, the Taliban will return. We must let the people of Afghanistan determine their own future and not put the lives of young Canadian men and women at risk. Each time the body of one of our troops is returned to Canada I feel an impotent fury that politicians in Ottawa are making decisions with horrendous long term consequences for Canadian families. It is not the role of Canadian troops to fight and lose their lives in a hopeless war on the other side of the world. They must be brought home.

    I share Theresa’s concern for the women and children of Afghanistan but, as we have had to do in the West, women there will struggle to maintain their hard won independence in the future. Our presence indefinitely will not make the situation any easier because as long as The Americans and Canadian troops remain, the war will go on and that will bring solace and peace to no one.

    Afghanistan must as a nation determine its own long term future.

  18. LarryApril 13, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

    If the Canadians don’t soon leave Afghanistan to the Afghani people they will decide not to leave Canada to the Canadians, much has been done with the USA on 9/11 and in England, Spain, etc. I think we should get our butts out of there while Toronto is still intact, not that I really care for Toronto much.

  19. G. JanssenApril 11, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    It is obvious that this war cannot be won. We have invaded another country, and every time a body is returned to Canada, we hear the old hackneyed phrases about serving our country, about some young boy dying for the honour of our country. It’s such a shameful and hypocritical excercise. The heroin trade has multiplied since the Americans invaded, and the destruction of the country is appalling. Let’s spend the money on the Afghanis and not the warlords. If the Russians couldn’t do it with over 180000 troops and massive support, and even built roads, hospitals etc. why does the West have the arrogance to think we can. And how many roadside bombs are left over from the Americans dropping their bombs which dispersed into hundreds of bomblets that plowed under the soil?

  20. TheresaApril 10, 2009 at 9:29 am #

    My concern is for the Afghan people. Before we went in the women and children were suffering such agony and oppression. I know we cannot win this war and I don’t believe war solves anything, but I don’t know the answer to this problem. Does anyone? I think we should be trying dialogue and doing as much work as possible to support the Afghan people with food, shelter and water. This is where I would like to put our resources.

  21. Ron MacDougallApril 10, 2009 at 7:55 am #

    Our resources are not for arms but to remove human misery.

  22. Ed LehmanApril 9, 2009 at 1:54 pm #

    It is pathetic that so many Canadian political “leaders” are taking a more backward stance on issues of war and peace than the President of the United States. Both Harper and Ignatieff must get the message that Canada needs to spend less on war and more on infrastructure of our cities and rural areas and on social programs which would create jobs for our jobless. It is about time that Canada rededicated itself to creating a nuclear weapons free world.

  23. Brydon gombayApril 9, 2009 at 11:34 am #

    My view of our participation in the Afghan war has not been changed by Obama’s arrival in power in the US, since I have always been against our participation there.

  24. Nancy LauderApril 9, 2009 at 8:41 am #

    There is nothing like a really good war to perk up an economy. Cynical, but true, this is what the west had planned to do. Why? A war takes the mind of the populace off of their ‘trivial troubles’. It sends bodies off to be paid to wage the war, and in doing so, this engenders paying jobs to those who would be otherwise unemployed. Inevitably, it follows that this, while boosting the home economy, it reduces that population, leaving more jobs for fewer seekers. But most importantly, it magnifies the incomes and the statures of those who have investments in armaments and in the military. Basically, it’s all about ‘caring for those at home’.

    Thank you for this opportunity to express my thoughts on war in general.

  25. margaretApril 8, 2009 at 11:31 pm #

    I think that Canada should put its efforts into development and diplomcy. I know defence is often needed to allow diplomacy and development to happen but there are other NATO members who could provide that.
    We may have to negotiate with moderates within the Taliban to gain support for the long term peace making work.
    I don’t think we can in full conscience withdraw immediately; otherwise the 116 soldiers who have been killed there died in vain and the women and girls of Afghanistan deserve better.
    The media need to have an opportunity to go outside the military areas to report on the situation from the perspective of the Afghans.

  26. RickApril 8, 2009 at 12:37 pm #

    The wealthy of Canada — and of other nations — have figured out a very clever way to manipulate ordinary citizens’ sympathies: get us into a conflict that we do not like, but which appears to be necessary, while also short-lived; then allow events to evolve to an intractable condition, where getting out appears to be inhumane and unethical, while staying engaged also appears inhumane and unethical. Thus, we have Afghanistan (and many many other so-called small wars).

    If we leave, we betray our troops (especially those who have already died) and our apparent commitment to humanitarian change in Afghanistan (hey, I said ‘apparent’ . . . I’m not fooled at all), and we abandon that country to religious fanatics, bloody reprisals, and a relapse into the dark ages.

    If we stay, more Canadians die, more of our tax dollars (which could be spent on education and social programs) are wasted on things that go ‘bang’ and on making the arms dealers rich, more of our international reputation as humane peacekeepers is lost, and we end up supporting unequivocally the imperialist resource, oil, and pipeline-driven agenda of the U.S.

    There are ways out of this apparently irresolvable dilemma, but they are very complicated; the best solution is never again to allow Canada to get sucked in to the clever, military traps set by the rich and powerful.

  27. Dan LafrenièreApril 8, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

    THERE CAN BE NO PEACE WITHOUT DEVELOPMENT.

    Has anyone ever considered what the Afghani people need to survive and build THEIR country? They don’t need an occupying military that regularly kills more of their citizens and can act with impunity. Let’s ask them how we can try to undo the damage we have inflicted already by helping them create a peaceful and liveable society.

    Let’s leave the task of ‘nation-building’ to the experts like Development and Peace and other like-minded NGOs who can provide the funding needed to rebuild. The Afghanis must tell us how we can help them create a just society for everyone who lives there.

    Will they trust us enough to make amends? I certainly hope so. It’s the least that Canada can do to make amends. Let’s pray that they are a forgiving people and that Canada is not indicted for war crimes.

  28. ScottApril 8, 2009 at 10:59 am #

    Great Survey Steve. The questions hit the nail on the head. Great Job!

  29. Elspeth DowellApril 8, 2009 at 9:49 am #

    Canada should never have sent troops to Afghanistan. But we did.

    I would be devastated if my two young men signed up for the military.

    I participate in an e-mail list where the recent subject was ‘collaborators’ in Afghanistan. If the West pulls out, people who are Karzai’s police or his army, will be in great danger.

    So I don’t know what Canada should do.

  30. Elspeth DowellApril 8, 2009 at 9:41 am #

    The questions in the survey are complex questions which can’t be answered in 4 words. For one of the questions my answer was ‘Support the UN.’

    I think it’s terrible that the UN is considering this defamation of religion thing. The UN should be about HUMAN RIGHTS, individual rights, and not the rights of religions. The UN should be an organization of polytheists, monotheists and atheists.

    I think Ceasefire should support the UN, as Ceasefire is not a religious organization, but an organization to protect all people, so Ceasefire can perhaps help the UN see the correct path.

  31. RobApril 8, 2009 at 9:05 am #

    Good work people vote in the poster boy for “butt-kisser”and this is what you get.
    Its all about OIL and Power, China, and Russia.Not the Taliban Not the People Not the Woman Not Democracy.I’m so tired of hearing this B.S.
    Thank You Mr Staples for your time and effort to try and stop the Lemmings.

  32. David ThomsonApril 8, 2009 at 2:48 am #

    A peace rally staged on Saturday, April 4th, along the 6-lane main drag of Kelowna B.C., was well-attended and solicited substantial honks of support from passing motorists. I’m sure if asked, those motorists would agree that Stephen Harper has led Canadians into an illegitimate military conflict that we’re all ashamed to be associated with, however remotely.

    Like the headlines read several years ago: “Taliban out — opium in.

    Pipelines and poppies are what underscore this war the even Harper now admits is “unwinnable”. Not that I think that should ever be the basis for deciding to wage any war, “winnable” or not.

    I would suggest that negotiations with the Taliban begin, except for the fact that our governments’ have been behaving like criminal organizations in too many ways to be comprehensively listed in the context of this forum — suffice it to say that…
    (www.)OurCourtsSuck(.com)

  33. KApril 8, 2009 at 1:36 am #

    yikes, I’m not happy with my survy choices! I found the questions/answers in the survey too limiting….(granted I know we all have limited time + space for the complexity of the Afghanistan situation)

    I feel that we shouldn’t be there, and it breaks my heart that we are there adding to the violence and instability. But since we are there, I think we should be helping to rebuild the damage we brought on, and focus on supporting sustainable peace and development efforts –Renee, who wrote a bit earlier provides great points + details.
    I think micro-credit, supporting grassroots community projects, as well as support and safety for the women… are essential steps. War is not.
    Keep up the important work, Ceasefire!
    in peace,
    k

  34. mary sheppApril 7, 2009 at 11:11 pm #

    Any agenda for Afganastan from this point depends on the situation in

    Pakistan. The latter is in a critical state and obviously needs international

    focus just now. Without some safe resolution of the growing threat posed

    by Taliban strength in Pakistan, Afghanistan will continue as a narco state.

  35. Penny OyamaApril 7, 2009 at 11:03 pm #

    As I get older (seems to be getting faster!), I find it easier to see directly to simply stopping fights all over the world. Countless different human groups have co-existed quite happily for centuries, mindful and accepting of their differences. I just read an article in the May issue of the Walrus magazine about an interview with two Rwandans, both involved in the genocide. Historically both groups – Tutsis and Hutus – had negligible problems living together until the blasted Belgians arrived in 1916.
    I think focusing on banning colonialism in all its forms is what we must aim for.
    Thank you.

  36. GaryApril 7, 2009 at 10:22 pm #

    I don’t think we or any body else will get any where in Afganastan until Pakistan controls the movement of the Taliban across the border.We could stay there for years and as soon as we leave the Talaban will be back.

  37. John RyderApril 7, 2009 at 10:04 pm #

    Canada, along with other NATO countries should never have allowed themselves to be sucked into the Afghan fiasco, by the self-serving, American hysterical response to 9/11. Any other country over-reacting with such a self-righteous, paranoid, outcry to a single attack–only the second in modern times– would have been treated with sympathy, but would never have been allowed to drag its allies into any war, never mind an unwinnable one. However, this was the USA, and they do always expect special treatment. So, eventually we all went to Afghanistan.

    As a matter of fact, Canada took a while to make up its mind, so, as late-comers we got one of what turned out to be the hot-spots. many other aountries have easily more soldiers there than we do–the Germans, the Italians etc. and, of course, the Brits who have more than 4 times as many as we do, and are in the same tricky sort of place as we are even though they got in early. They have already suffered far more casualties than even we have.

    It is easy to say that all the allies should never have gone there. However, they all went, and were part of a war which set out to destroy the Taliban government which was said to be harbouring the evil genius, Bin Laden and his El Quaida gang.

    The government was easily dislodged through the use of massive firepower, but BL was never found, and may still be alive, sunning himself in Florida, for goodness sake– after all, his family were, and slill are best friends with the Bushes and their oily friends.

    So the question arises; having caused havoc in a land which was already in chaos, having been the location for wars, large and small, for as long as we care to remember, is it OK to simply leave and let them sort something out–the most likely outcome being the return of the Taliban, arm in arm with BL and El Quaida? Here, at home. if we broke into and smashed up the house of someone we feared, would the Law not require that we make restitution as best we could? So where’s the difference between that and what’s gone on in poor old Afghanistan?

    We have a duty, while regretting what we have all done, to stay and make restitution, regardless of the cost.

  38. sylviaApril 7, 2009 at 9:13 pm #

    In his book”three cups of tea”Greg Mortenson has shown the way to bring help to this region.Help them achieve what they want for their communities ,not what we want them to have.The whole of the area is not inhabited by militant, repressive, yahoos.People in Pakistan and
    Afghanistan want what every one wants,a chance to educate and improve the lot of their families.To class all Muslims as Taliban,is like saying all christians are alike,they have different denominations too.We would not want anyone telling us how to run our country .Canada is remarkable in that we have never had colonial ambitions,lets keep it that way.Sylvia

  39. IanApril 7, 2009 at 9:12 pm #

    As long as international bankers and the military industrial complex profit from war and genocide there will be no end to WAR, its big business and keeps people in a fearful state so the are easily led like sheep! Check out the documentary Century Of the Self by the BBC. Only through understanding and compassion may we seek peace.
    Ian

    It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.
    Albert Einstein

    Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.
    Mohandas Gandhi

    Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  40. erik andersenApril 7, 2009 at 8:35 pm #

    I have read the NATO Charter and have not determined what clause gives support for NATO in Afganistan. I have asked both our Federal Government and NATO Headquarters for help with answering my question. So far no one has given me the answer which convinces me that the Charter does in fact provide for this venture. Can anyone reading this posting give me the exact refernce from the Charter that gives legality to NATO being in Afganistan?

    Secondly, can anyone direct me to a period in history when others were successful in maintaining dominion over Afganistan?

    If no one can answer these two questions to my satisfaction then try explaining to all of us why we should support this endevour?

  41. Alfred MumaApril 7, 2009 at 8:05 pm #

    Canada should never have gone to Afghanistan in the first place. Our troops should be withdrawn imediately. Particapating in a war does not lead to peaceful solutions and gives the particapating armies no lawfull authority in determining a peaceful aftermath but only particapate in tearing up an already torn country and peoples.

    Canada had a reputation as peace keepers but now we are warriors. We have no right now to go into a country with this current war reccord to “help”. It will take some time and great positive action on our part to be taken seriously by the world at large as a peaceful self directed country.

  42. TomApril 7, 2009 at 8:04 pm #

    I would prefer a survey which permitted choosing more than one response to questions.

    Thanks to all for their thoughtful comments. Many of the comments above have expressed my views
    -get our armed forces out asap
    -get back to peacekeeping

    I realize that this organization needs to focus it’s resources and can’t take on too many initiatives.

    I passed on the subscription to straigtgoods as I am already a subscriber.

  43. marleneApril 7, 2009 at 7:53 pm #

    It was former Liberal Prime Minister MArtin who signed the agreement with former President Bush March 23/05 to send our Canadian troops into battle in Kandar. Previously our troops worked as peace keepers in Afghanistan. We need to bring our troops home quickly and, there is much work here in Canada that can be done.

  44. marleneApril 7, 2009 at 7:49 pm #

    Wars in Afghanistan have never been won due to the terrain, if nothing else. Western culture cannot impose their culture on a 2,000 year old eastern culture. Each culture is so opposite in their thought processes. History has proven these statements.
    Therefore, we need to pull our troops out – end of story.
    IMHO all these wars are headed primarily by octogenarians who are about power and money. The young men and women are just fodder for the grist. The Iraq war bankrupted the US and generations ahead will be paying for it. The US needed to put their house in order and not be concerned with warring on other nations; no matter the justification. We hope Canadian Conservative Prime Minister Harper will decide to pull out earlier then what had been planned. We don’t need to lose more lives on a cause you cannot win.

  45. JanetApril 7, 2009 at 7:38 pm #

    It’s difficult to say the Ceasefire should concentrate on one thing in the next year as everything in the list is equally important. What with the government we are saddled with that is turning us on our heads, it is left to us to keep … our heads while all around us … .

  46. Munroe ScottApril 7, 2009 at 6:49 pm #

    Can’t fill out your survey because it omits the option of adhering to our current promise of staying there until 2011. This may have been a wrong decision but a deal is a deal.

  47. Edward P. WilsonApril 7, 2009 at 6:45 pm #

    I believe that trying to force the Western Idea of democracy on This group of tribal warriors is doomed to failure. Instead of spending vast sums (and lives) on military action, we should spend it on education, medical, welfare, whatever they need. I’m sure the Afghan people would welcome a benign source of aid over air raids, house-to-house searches for insurgents, and an occupation force of foreigners. The media focus on how women are treated under Islamic law is a distraction.

  48. AnonymousApril 7, 2009 at 6:20 pm #

    I hope that Stephen Harper is being seriously affected by the message of hope and peace, that is igniting the world, as Barack Obama travels into the Middle East. Stephen Harper could take a lesson on leadership from this beacon of light. I thanked John Cretian(sp?) for keeping us out of Iraq and now I want Stephen Harper to reinstate us as “peacekeepers”, this intention is very important to me.

  49. Barbara CooperApril 7, 2009 at 6:19 pm #

    I think there are two areas that we need to address:
    1- as long as war is profitable, it will continue. We need to stop the profiteering in weapons development and supply, and

    2- no Country will welcome Occupiers or Foreign control over their land. If we really want to help Afghanistan we need to be there helping with infrastructure that has been destroyed …. in cooperation with the Afghan people and their leadership. And it needs to be done in a way that is accountable and transparent.

  50. Gloria CopeApril 7, 2009 at 6:10 pm #

    The only money (aid) going into Afghanistan should be to see that all children (especially women and girls) are educated. Peace will only be achieved when women have equal opportunity to ‘make the rules’ for their country. Educate the women and stop the sale of arms. Not an easy task but the only one that will work.

  51. William DascavichApril 7, 2009 at 5:58 pm #

    I would like to participate in your survey, but cannot view the left side of your message.

  52. Margaret TysonApril 7, 2009 at 5:51 pm #

    The following is a comment I made on the Manley Report and sent to the Ottawa Citizen, which refused to publish it. In fact the Citizen published NO criticism of the Manley Report. Canada should not be in Afghanistan at all. The Americans helped the Taliban to take over the country and, if the Taliban are so bad, it’s up to the Americans to take them out of the country.

    “Mr. Manley gave four objectives or reasons for Canada’s continued participation in the combat zone. (P.20 ff) The four with my comments are as follows:

    (1) “Canada has been part of an international response to threats to peace and security since 9/11.”

    This part of the report claims “the world had largely abandoned Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989,” a statement that needs elaboration. In fact, foreign interests continued to be attracted to the country. The Taliban moved into Afghanistan with the support of the U.S. and Benazir Bhutto in her second term (1993 – 96) as P.M.of Pakistan. (For those who weren’t following the news at the time, this story is outlined in chapter 12 of The Taliban by Ahmid Rashid, Yale University Press, 2001) Since the Taliban, we are constantly told, are such a threat to international stability, why did the U.S. help them? Furthermore, since the U.S. encouraged them to go to Afghanistan, it is their job to drive them out. Not Canada’s.

    (2) “The peace enforcement operation in Afghanistan supports UN plans to foster better futures in the world’s developing countries.”

    This is one of many UN projects; Kyoto is another. Canada can leave Kandahar in February 2009, having honoured our commitment. Then it will be time to keep our Kyoto promises; we need to focus on reducing greenhouse gases in order to lessen the worldwide social consequences of climate change.

    (3) “Canada’s …interests for almost 60 years have been advanced by ….membership in the NATO alliance. NATO’s success in that conflict will serve Canada’s own security interests”.

    Germany and other participating European countries, which are much closer to Afghanistan than Canada is, are not concerned enough about security to send their soldiers into combat there. Our security is hardly more at risk than theirs. Furthermore, NATO officials have stated Canadian pullout won’t harm NATO (The Citizen, Jan.30, 2008 P.A4)

    (4) “Canada should participate in the promotion and protection of human security in failed and fragile states. Then he adds and Governments that betray responsibilities to protect their own citizens”.

    That could apply to the present Canadian Government when one considers the despair in our aboriginal communities and the homelessness in our cities. The100 million dollars a month and the human resources going into Afghanistan.should be redirected to implementing the Kelowna accord, and addressing our urban problems such as housing.

    The Manley Report does not persuade me that Canadian troops should remain in Kandahar. Mr. Manley is impressed by the experience acquired by Canadian soldiers there (P.31), but this is no reason for them to stay – they can pass on their valuable information to the troops who follow them. They already do this in our two official languages, as Canadian trooops are rotated every 6 months.

    Canadian efforts should be concentrated on development in a less volatile region on condition that there is a timeline and that the cost does not preclude our commitments to Kyoto and Kelowna.

  53. Brian HavelockApril 7, 2009 at 5:50 pm #

    In my view Canada ought not to have become involved in Afghanistan in the first instance.

  54. Katherine BennettApril 7, 2009 at 5:40 pm #

    I believe that your survey offers too few options, meaning that responses might leave you with misleading results and an innacurate picture of what people really think.
    In terms of Afghanistan, I think that our troops are tired and even though military intervention is part of the ongoing solution, it is time for someone else to take over the military role. However, I think that Canadians should continue to play a role in Afghanistan because we have invested a lot already and want to see a successful outcome, our people have a lot of experience and knowledge that should not go to waste, the Afghan people know that Canada has no designs on their territory and do not want to take them over, the Afghan government wants and needs international help until it is strong enough to govern the country and control the Taliban, and the international community needs a country that we have helped modernize (not Westernize) and that demonstrates that human rights protections are essential to that modernization. The women and children of Afghanistan, in particular, need our help. If several countries co-operating together can achieve a success in Afghanistan, it will show the way to achieving similar successes in other places where governments are weak and terror reigns.

  55. kenApril 7, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    ok, for all those not addicted to constant propaganda….and read history, and current world politics books, this is a no brainer…harper has replaced blair as a lap dog…this is a us war for geo political purposes…ie gas and oil delivery systems and the encirclement of russia and china….this seems to be typical…destroy a country to control a country…get a backbone harper, or start reading…out now

  56. SagitelleApril 7, 2009 at 5:21 pm #

    Canada’s options in the survey with regard to its best course of action in Afghanistan do not offer all possible choices. I think we should stay there until we said we would and then leave. We should not be involved in any negociations with the taliban, a group of frustrated hateful males that treat women like property they can use and abuse to make up for their sorry existence.

  57. Phillip DeanApril 7, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

    I think it’s imperative that we leave Afghanistan AT ONCE. We have no business there. It is not up to us to police the world, and get in the middle of civil wars forcefully. I also don’t like having to pay for this war. If we want to do any good, why not send an army of engineers and other professionals instead? Why not encourage talks between the opposing factions or even host them? Many many times in history have outside forces tried to conquer Afghanistan and eventually lost at great cost. Why would it be different this time? Only through understanding and dialogue can anything ever change. Violence only begets violence.

  58. OliverApril 7, 2009 at 4:49 pm #

    I feel that we are in Afghanistan under false pretences. The war mainly serves “special interests” such as oil and weopons manufactures as well as strategic asperations. If the billions spent on the conflict were spent on improving the lives of Afghans through infastructure to provide things like drinking water, electricity health care etc., the people there would overwelmingly support the NATO powers and the Taliban would have little support.

  59. Jeremy RittwageApril 7, 2009 at 4:38 pm #

    We are doing nothing but creating martyr after martyr, which means that the sons and daughters of Afghanistan will want revenge on Canada and Canadian people everywhere and for a long time.

    Pull out the troops, apologize, and work towards Peace.

    And do not forget that the depleted uranium shelling that is taking place over there using American DU shells makes this a NUCLEAR WAR not a conventional war. We are poisoning Afghanistan forever.

    Are the Afghan people going to thank us for freeing them from the Taleban when their children are born deformed or dead?

    More revenge will be sought after. Not less. More terrorism. Not less. We are seeding the world’s military industrial complex with future wars to fight. Creating future terrorists for our children to die needlessly trying to fight.

  60. Donald J KerrApril 7, 2009 at 4:20 pm #

    1. NATO is incapable of conducting a political agenda (with a military component) since it is a military organization. A UN force would less likel iny to be considered an occupier.
    2. The US support of the Taliban and warlords during the Russion occupation has created this problem.
    3. The Karzai government includes war criminals and, hence is disfunctional.
    4. A strong national government is inappropriate for Afgh. due to the many cultural groups. Also, a regional police forces are needed for the same reasons. That’s why we have a different force in Quebec.
    5. We need more UN mediators to negotiate these problems in a non-military manner. Pakistan is an essential element of the solution

  61. SteveApril 7, 2009 at 4:18 pm #

    The situation in Afghanistan is a mess. But the issue should not be, “How do we fix the mess (which we created, by the way)?” or “How do we help bring peace and ‘democracy’ to Afghanistan?” The issue should only be that we have no business being there, any more than we have business trying to solve the problems in any other country of the world.

    The mess started with the US invading supposedly to catch the terrorist who is supposedly responsible for attacking the US on 9/11. The proper course would have been to present evidence of bin Laden’s guilt and negotiate for his extradition. But the USA does not care about international law unless it suits their purposes. Then the purpose of the war changed to an attempt to overthrow a “bad” government (the Taliban) which supports terrorism. It was ignored then that the USA had actually created the Tabiban by financing and arming them earlier to fight the Soviets. It was also ignored that US oil companies had an interest in building pipelines through Afghanistan to access oil and gas in the Caspian Sea region. It was also ignored that the US government has political and economic reasons for wanting control over this region rich in fossil fuel resources. That motive for being there is still generally ignored even by Ceasefire.

    Generally, it has always held true that the US and Canada support dictators that oppress their people whenever doing so is in the interests of our governments and businesses. Thus, the US was an ally of Saddam Hussein in the past and sold him weapons during the Iran-Iraq War and while he was using our chemical weapons on his own Kurdish minorities. We didn’t care then. Similarly, we are now friendly with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan despite those countries’ undemocratic laws and unjust treatment of women. It’s in our interest.

    Probably every time our government officials speak of humanitarian purposes, they are being hypocrites. Canada is in Afghanistan basically to support the USA in its imperial policies so that our businesses and elites can have profitable relations with US businesses and elites. It has nothing whatsoever to do with justice or human rights.

    The only way for our country to act ethically in our foreign policies is to support international laws which are fair to all, working for the creation of such laws and an international organization that can enforce them without bias. As part of this, Canada should recognize the legitimacy of Hamas, which is a democratically elected government.

    There is much that should be done, but intervening anywhere with military in support of US policies should NOT be part of the agenda.

    Humanitarian intervention would be a fine idea, perhaps, if governments could really be trusted to practice it where it is really needed and not just where there is an economic or political incentive.

    So I think the Canadian military should definitely pull out of both Afghanistan and Haiti immediately. The best thing to do is to withdraw, apologize for invading to begin with, and try to make some reparations for the damage we’ve caused by financing the reconstruction efforts of NGOs and local authorities (whoever they may be).

    Good luck.

    Steve Lyne

  62. JMartinApril 7, 2009 at 4:13 pm #

    I think that the role of peacekeeper is the one that is of greater value to the UN and to Afghanistan. Let the US soldiers do what they are known for and that is combat.

    The PM has an inclination towards Canada being/becoming a military super power. I think our strength and character is more huumanitarian. Somehow that has been made out to be less virile, of less worth in the past few years. I think it takes courage and strength and skill to live in dangerous situations with the goal of bringing about the best for the people of the country that our soldiers are in. I think the peacekeepers have served us well and also all of the countries where they have been sent too. I think that being a country the world can and does trust is of far more value than being known for an ability to eliminate enemies ( and innocent civilians) with guns and military might.

  63. Elizabeth FerrisApril 7, 2009 at 4:07 pm #

    The answers supplied for the first question aren’t quite reflective of my thoughts. If our soldiers can be there in a peacekeeping role, great; if they’re part of a fighting force, get them out. Negotiations are important, but we don’t have authority over how other countries handle their domestic problems. I’m hoping that President Obama’s words and actions show that he is aware that the U.S. doesn’t have such authority either.

  64. Fran MarionApril 7, 2009 at 4:05 pm #

    You cannot parachute in “professionals” from the outside, into any community, city or country and expect to build community capacity. That can only be achieved by desire and growth from within.

    I quote US Senator George McGovern, who, during the Vietnam war era expressed, “I’m sick and tired of old men dreaming up wars in which young men do the dying”. Are you listening Mr. Harper?

    Get our soldiers out of Afghanistan now! And stay out until their (necessary) political changes indicate Afghanistan is ready for support and not armed conflict.

  65. veronicaApril 7, 2009 at 4:00 pm #

    whoops, technologically that is…

  66. veronicaApril 7, 2009 at 3:59 pm #

    In this new century, we urgently need to develop the Ministry of Peace and work towards non-military solutions to the many global and local crises that never cease to emerge. Each new crisis is a mirror image of previous crises. Read an old news item, switch the names and location and there it is: women and children raped, assaulted, killed, driven from homes, men and women and children enslaved,tortured, mutilated, driven from homes and family, animals killed, hurt, driven from homes. The killing may have been technoligically “enhanced” but the end result is always the same. International military intervention after horrendous abuse has already started in some part of the world is not the solutuion. Ongoing development of peace is! But, it must be as well funded as the military has been for millenium.

  67. Joan GilroyApril 7, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    I am not sure what to do in Afghanistan, but know that there is no military solution to the problems there or in any country. We should always support the efforts of people in this and other countries to solve the problems they have.

    Even under Barack Obama, I find the US policy too militaristic. I hope he will act in accordance with his words, that he will direct initiatives to peace, that the US is not the only country in the world, that he wants to listen, learn and negotiate with others, and so on.

    Someone or some companies are making money from wars, which is a huge area for intervention in my view. Stopping war profits will help to stop wars, or so I think.

  68. Barry WilkinsonApril 7, 2009 at 3:43 pm #

    The only caveat is the elimination of Sharia Law

  69. David WoodApril 7, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    No matter how we approach this war in Afghanistan, whether it is through Diplomacy – Development or Defence there will never be a lasting peace.
    The reason being that the values of the Afghan people as instilled in their customs and religion are contrary to those of Western society.
    As were the indigenous people of North America to convert them from the top down will take nothing less then genocide or the total obliteration of the Afghan religion and customs and thus their identity, dignity and sense of duty to their country.

  70. Gilles MarchildonApril 7, 2009 at 3:24 pm #

    Canadians (and Ceasefire) should also be pushing for greater investment of development resources and aid. This is the best way to ensure long-term peace, by supporting indigenous Afghan socio-economic initiatives.

  71. JessicaApril 7, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

    The options suggested in question 1 of the survey are too limiting. The first option should be to withdraw ALL troops from Afghanistan, not only Canadian ones; and the second one is an important part of a different approach to Afghanistan. Dividing these options and ignoring the other NATO troops is not helpful.

  72. ReneeApril 7, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    Afghanistan agenda

    1) meaningful development for Afghans, according to their priorities
    2) recognise that it is a nacro-economy. There are few other viable options; “poppies for medicine” is one option, see Senlis Report ; also reduce demand. They wouldn’t grow as many poppies if there wasn’t a demand. Target the whole process – reduce production, reduce demand, reduce corruption, reduce money laundering.
    3) negotiate with the clans, not the warlords; recognise the clan’s abilities to reconcile differences (informal conflict resolution)
    4) increase availability of microcredit – particularly for men. If the men are otherwise engaged in productive economic activity, they are less likely to join the Taleban, or grow opium
    5) prosecute war profiteers
    6) make public efforts / issues occuring in Pakistan, which are directly impacting the situation in Afghanistan (cross border missions, ect)
    7) Iran offered to assist with reconstruction. Where possible, include them in the efforts
    8) Learn from Turkey’s soldiers. Not one Turkish soldier has died/been targeted. There are specific behaviours of Turkish troops not done by other NATO troops (e.g. Turkish troops don’t frisk the women, ect)
    9) Pair Afghan workers with imported from region and/or aid workers for skill transfers, don’t permit the reconstruction to be entirely done by foreigners.
    10) support the initiation of micro enterprises which act as a stop-gap for infrastructure deficits (selling of chlorine tablets where potable water is lacking, selling of nutritional biscuits which are vitamine/mineral rich to complement poor diet, micro-credits, value-added in agricultural products, increase cell phone coverage, ect)

  73. Toba BryantApril 7, 2009 at 3:12 pm #

    Not only should world efforts focus on ending the conflict in Afghanistan. World leaders should also work towards disarmament in peacekeeping efforts through negotiation not combat.

  74. adminApril 6, 2009 at 10:43 pm #

    Thanks for taking the survey. We want to hear more from you. Leave a reply or comment here. – Steve Staples