Why are we in Afghanistan?

As Canadians are coping with the deaths and injury of further Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan,a new story out of there leads one to wonder: what in the h--- are we doing there anyway? Yesterday Afghanistan ordered hundreds of South Korean Christians to leave the country, accusing them of seeking to undermine its Islamic culture. As reported in the Star, the accusations come amid increasing intolerance and violence against foreign troops in Afghanistan, a crackdown in the capital on drinking and prostitution linked to foreign influences, and the recent announcement of a plan to reinstate the vice and virtues ministry, which enforced its harsh version of Islamic morality under the ousted Taliban regime. So I ask: are Canadian troops dying to prop up another version of the Taliban? Is it time to bring them home and force George Bush to deliver on his promise of democratic change?


Will Iraq split apart?

According to a confidential report,Britain's outgoing ambassador to Iraq,William Patey, warned the country is sliding toward civil war and is likely to divide eventually along ethnic lines. Civil war and a de facto division of Iraq among the ethnic factions seem likely. So much for Bush's predictions of a seamless transition to democracy!

With all the focus on the Israeli/Hezbollah conflict in recent in recent weeks, Iraq has been all but forgotten by the media. Meanwhile the carnage and drift to civil war continues.


Ignatieff re Middle East

Michael Ignatieff emerged from solitude today and pronounced on the Middle East conflict in an op-ed piece in the Globe and Mail. He criticized the Harper government's response to the Middle East crisis as "inadequate" and called for an immediate ceasefire. In doing so he joined other Liberal leadership candidates who had already called for a ceasefire.

Ignatieff's three-week silence is puzzling. This is not academe where you can take weeks or years to formulate your position. This is the real world in all its horror which calls for real leadership. While Harper's prompt support of Israel may yet prove unwise, at least the man is decisive. Which is more than we can say about Ignatieff's belated comments on a critical issue of the day.

The Middle East situation is perplexing. It has bedevilled world leaders for the past 60 years. A two-state solution is necessary but it is not obvious how we can achieve it given the irreconciable positions of the protaganists.