Eight years ago, the National Directorate of Security in Afghanistan saved my life. I was being held hostage by a gang of criminals who were threatening to sell me to the Taliban. I will forever be in his debt, but I was also impressed by the smarts and savvy of this young intelligence chief. If Afghanistan had politicians of his character, I thought, the country's future was in decent hands.
The lessons of Afghanistan were purchased at a bitter cost: the war claimed more lives, more years, and more money than any other campaign in NATO's history. Unless the alliance takes those lessons to heart, a war in Syria and Iraq to extinguish Daesh -- the self-styled "Islamic State" -- will be worse. In any military campaign against Daesh, how will we identify effective allies on the ground, who are less pernicious than our common enemy? How will we ensure that neither chaos nor tyranny fill the vacuum left after a successful campaign? Whom will Syrians be able to trust to rebuild their country?
The coordinated killings that rocked Paris over the weekend are an unspeakable horror. But we must not allow the horrific nature of this atrocity to drag Canada back into the racism, Islamophobia and war-mongering that characterized our last government. The burden to hold firm on the change that we demanded in the October election is jointly shared between Canadians and our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
There is simply no compatibility between humanitarian action and the use of military force in combat. One has as its singular objective the alleviation of human suffering, regardless of the sufferer's identity or affiliation; the other, by definition, involves taking the side of one group against the other. That's also why it is very worrying to hear that humanitarian assistance is being used as strategic tactic in military action.
Last year when upon getting a new chair it was felt by VAC that I didn't get the appropriate paperwork -- which was a doctor's note saying "Due to transformal amputations, Paul Franklin needs a new wheelchair." I was approved of a pension but was not to receive it until a doctor confirmed my limb loss. This is something that has to be done every year presumably until age 65.
It was strange to receive the news in a country where terror is an every day occurrence, that a deranged jihadist had shed blood on Canadian soil, rampaging through our normally peaceful capital, on the heels of another attack days earlier in Montreal. I knew, too, that the people of Afghanistan would have sound advice to offer Canadians.
The collapse of talks aimed at producing a truce between Afghanistan's rival presidential candidates has rekindled fears of ethnic unrest in the war-torn nation, according to a recent Reuters report. But if truth be told, Afghanistan has little chance of stabilizing politically or seeing significant economic progress with or without the power-sharing deal that was being brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
While troop-contributing countries have been fed a steady diet of the excesses committed by the Taliban, many thousands of Afghan civilians have had to endure untold suffering through error, ignorance, negligence and over-reach of the international military forces sent in to create security and stability in the country.