Thursday, December 15, 2011

Proud ignorance as Canadian government policy

Canada's government makes a point of not knowing anything. Policy flows from ideology, ideology takes no account of truth, so why cloud policy with inconvenient evidence? Canada spent some $5 million on upgrades to the Sarpoza Central Prison in Kandahar following the Great Escape of Friday, June 13, 2008. Subsequently,a mass escape was engineered on April 25, 2011, via a tunnel dug under the noses of the Afghan prison authorities Canadians had "mentored." As the Canadian mentor-in-chief said nostalgically, on March 28, 2011, before leaving (and immediately before the second prison break): "[Ian]Chinnery says such problems will have to be addressed by the Afghans and a small group of U.S. mentors, because the three remaining Canadian correctional officers are heading home over the next few months. "Still, he said he believes the prison has largely conquered its biggest troubles."'We are pretty proud of how far we've come with this place,' Chinnery says. "'The Afghans now need minimal assistance to run it. But leaving here is like watching your kid get on the school bus for the first time. You know he's going to be fine, but it's still hard to let go.'" 

"Police said they were looking for men without shoes - many escaped barefoot." Prime Minister Stephen Harper's subsequent comment was, apparently without irony, "we'll just keep plugging away." 

Five million into the black hole of Kandahar, and effusive videos about Canadian "mentoring" for the Afghan prison system, failed to alert Canadians to the irony of the remedy, or possible total futility of the remedy, or even more likely, government bullshit about the remedy, for a "problem" framed completely in western European Crusader terms: Afghanistan has to be rendered safe from future terrorist havens. The obvious conclusions that the only people interested in a "mentored" Afghan prison system or the future safety of western civilization from crazed Afghan terrorists, are white guys from NATO, and that a significant percentage of the Afghan citizenry are actually on the side of the inmates of the Sarpoza Central Prison, seem literally unthinkable hypotheses for the Canadian government or its ISAF functionaries tucked up on the blvd Leopold III in Brussels, Leopold II of course having been a savage monarch in the time of Belgian oppression in the Congo. 

 Now, Canadians are "training" Afghan troops who have a desertion rate of 50% per year. Right. The goal is that these "troops" will take over security functions from NATO - who can't provide reasonable security as it is - and that the training that has gone on for some 10 years without reaching some mythical figure of 200,000 that was a target at least 5 years ago and will somehow magically come to fruition in the next 3 years, seems to be not so much a fantasy as a hallucination. If the target is 200,000 functional Afghan troops to take over from NATO, and there is a 50% desertion rate per year, then 100,000 new troops will have to be trained every year to replace the desertions. 

None of this deters NATO or the ludicrous Bonn Conference, or even the Germans who sponsored the ludicrous Bonn Conference who otherwise seem to have a reasonable grasp of reality. The irony of having a conference on the future of Afghanistan in Crusader Europe - rather than say in south Asia - seems lost on all the participants except Pakistan who declined to attend. Meanwhile, the obvious sensible idea of having such a conference in Qatar seems radical beyond comprehension to the ideologues who don't have a clue.  Also, Karzai seems desperate to prevent any Taliban presence in Qatar from occurring for the purposes of negotiation.

It's just stupid. It would be a Pythonesque comedy were it not for the endless carnage, waste, and pain that is the responsibility of NATO and its complicit partners like Australia and New Zealand.