Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dear Raphael: What the f... ?


It's not like I enjoy picking on Blogging Tory Raphael Alexander in particular, but since he likes to present himself as a rare voice of reason in the Canadian Dumbshit-o-sphere and even has his moments of lucidity, it behooves us to point out that, once a hacktacular Blogging Tory, always a hacktacular Blogging Tory. Let's read:

A Cautious Benefit Of The Doubt For Stephen Harper

Easy, stomach ... down boy, we've got a ways to go yet.

Nevertheless, I am going to offer a very cautious benefit of the doubt that Stephen Harper will find a way to turn this issue around, and do what is right for our military and for mission success.

In which Raphael simply and axiomatically equates doing "what is right for our military" with "the mission" because, I'm guessing, it is simply a truism in Raphael's world that we should be in Afghanistan and, no, he doesn't wish to discuss it any further. It's sort of like arguing about the existence of God with someone whose argument consists of, "First, assume the existence of God ...". It may be a questionable rhetorical strategy but it is a time-saver, you have to admit that.

Let's continue:

Today the Ruxted Group released their own endorsement of the Manley Report, and the full text can be read here.

I'm sorry but who the fuck is the "Ruxted Group" and why the hell should I care about their opinion? Perhaps they really are a credible and non-partisan collection of military authorities that ... whoops, never mind:

The Ruxted Group is comprised of a group of retired Canadian military personnel, who apprise of apolitical views of current Canadian military missions. It is anything but non-partisan, ...

Gotcha. Credibility established. Moving on ...

On the whole, the Ruxted Group approves strongly of the Manley Report, and believes the conditions set by the independent panel are deserving of being met by both NATO and Canada.

Perhaps. On the other hand, you can read TGB's Dave, in which he points out that the Manley Report is a vacuous, content-free, overpriced, self-plagiarized piece of vapourware. Given a choice, I'm going to go with Dave on this one. But we're just getting to the good stuff. No, really:

The article then cite two irrefutable truths of the Manley Report which have been, quite frankly, underreported by Liberal critics.

All right, then, it's about time, because we really need some factiness about now, and Raphael's about to lay down an "irrefutable truth" or two. And here's the first one:


The first is the undeniable fact that Canada belongs in Kandahar, having paid the price of our honour and reputation during wars in which we gave heavy bloodshed. In short, Canadians understand the sacrifices necessary in times of great peril.

Pause.

Long pause.

Very, very long pause.

What the fucking hell? That's an "irrefutable truth?" No, Raphael, it's not -- it's a personal opinion that's currently being used to emotionally blackmail people into continuing to send their kids to die for a badly-defined and dishonest military venture, and one would have thought you could tell the difference. Apparently not.

At this point, one can safely say that Raphael's considered, thoughtful and non-partisan blog post isn't worth the phosphor it takes to display on your screen, but we would be missing out on the best -- the very best -- part of it:

The salient point here is in that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has an obligation to explain to Canadians why we serve in Afghanistan, and for what we fight.

That's right, Raph, he does -- as all of us deranged, leftist moonbats have been saying for months now. But having finally twigged on this, what does Raph conclude from it? Sadly:

His inability to do so has led to the timorous followings of those who beckon by cruel cynicism into our self-defeat.

Ah, I see ... PM Pillsbury Doughboy has concealed and lied, and the obvious conclusion to be drawn from that is that ... it's our fault? All of us cynical, self-defeaters? How to respond to that is a bit of a mystery at the moment, but let's end this on a high note, as Raphael finally waves bye-bye to reality as it gallops off into the distance:

In short, the Ruxted Group endorses transparency on Afghanistan because it is the only thing which can sell this mission.

Quite right, of course. Given that browbeating, obfsucation, evasion and outright dishonesty wasn't enough to sell "the mission," it becomes necessary to try, oh, total transparency since that might be what's required to sell "the mission."

I, of course, would have thought that transparency was necessary to make sure Canadians were well-informed and had all the information they needed to make a thoughtful and considered judgment on our presence in Afghanistan. Apparently not -- it's simply Plan B to get to the same, pre-ordained conclusion. Because no matter how you get there, it's vitally important that we all arrive at the same place -- Afghanistan.

To paraphrase, "Let's discuss whether or not we should be in Afghanistan. First, assume we should be in Aghanistan ..." Like I said, it's rhetorically questionable, but it is a time-saver. And, apparently, that's all that matters.

19 comments:

Red Tory said...

I guess he hasn't heard about the report co-chaired by retired US Marine Corps General James Jones and a former US ambassador to the United Nations, Thomas Pickering.

"Afghanistan stands at a crossroads," concludes the study. "The progress achieved after six years of international engagement is under serious threat from resurgent violence, weakening international resolve, mounting regional challenges and a growing lack of confidence on the part of the Afghan people about the future direction of their country."

[US Defence Secretary] Gates said more troops are needed in Afghanistan, but "certainly not ours". And when asked how many more Nato troops might be needed, he said that number should be determined by ground commanders.


Also, yesterday...

a fact check from the National Security Network on President Bush's State of the Union comments regarding Afghanistan show the country is still in a state of disrepair. Bush claimed that:

A nation that was once a safe haven for al Qaida is now a young democracy where boys and girls are going to school, new roads and hospitals are being built, and people are looking to the future with new hope.

On each point, Bush is absolutely wrong:

Young Afghans still face a perilous road towards a good, safe education:

This week, David Ignatius wrote in The Washington Post that "A reality check for me was to talk in Kabul with Mohammad Hanif Atmar, the country's bright young minister of education. He said that Taliban terrorist attacks killed 147 students and teachers over the past 10 months and seriously injured another 200. This campaign of intimidation closed 590 schools last year, up from 350 the year before. In areas where students are too scared to go to school, stability and security are still distant goals. You can see in Jalalabad what success would look like; the challenge is to make that picture real across Afghanistan."
(Washington Post January 27, 2007 )

"Afghanistan's main highway "bedeviled by danger":

"Highway 1 is the country's main road, the route between Kabul and Kandahar, the country's second largest city...The highway, which has been rebuilt with $250 million from the United States and other nations, accommodates a daily flow of automobiles, buses and ornately decorated cargo carriers, which the soldiers call jingle trucks. The Afghan and American governments say the road's restored condition is a tangible step toward a self-sufficient Afghanistan. But Highway 1 remains bedeviled by danger, extortion and treachery. Police corruption and insurgent attacks sow fear and make traveling many sections of the road a lottery. The risks limit its contribution to the economy and underscore the government's weakness beyond Kabul."
(New York Times, December 3, 2007 )

Afghans Criticism of U.S. Efforts Rises; In the Southwest, Taliban Support Grows

In an ABC poll, "Afghans have grown sharply more critical of U.S. efforts in their country and in the beleaguered southwest, support for the Taliban, ousted from power six years ago, is on the rise. Overall, 42 percent of Afghans rate U.S. efforts in Afghanistan positively, down steeply from 68 percent in 2005, and 57 percent last year. For the first time, this national ABC News/BBC/ARD survey finds that more than half of Afghans disapprove of U.S. efforts."

"Two-thirds of Afghans say they can't afford basic fuel supplies and 54 percent say they can't afford food."

"Lack of jobs, electricity and medical care and poor roads, bridges and other infrastructure are other broad and persistent concerns. Nearly half the population is illiterate; six in 10 Afghans


I guess these folks didn't get the memo about all the "good news" from Afghanistan.

So, six years on and what little “progress” has been made sits on a knife-edge and all the reports call for more troops, but no one wants to pony up additional resources and throw them into this hopeless quagmire… Seems we have a bit of a fundamental problem then, doesn’t it?

If only someone could have seen this coming...

CC said...

RT:

There's that reality and its gosh-darned liberal bias again.

Raphael Alexander said...

I'm comfortable that I write the sentiment of a good deal of people involved in the military and mission [Dave nowithstanding], and I'm also comfortable with the fact I'm one of the few conservatives who seem to even have a problem with governmental obfuscation. So if you want to bash me on my tendency to delineate from the perfection of non-partisanship, go ahead. As I said, I'm comfortable with my position. After all, despite all I've said I keep getting called a members of "liblogs", or "falling for Liberal spin and rhetoric". And then I get your gem. So which is it? Am I falling for leftist rhetoric or rightist?

Ti-Guy said...

The downside to being a Conservative blogger is that you attract the really loopy wingnuts...Hunter, Alberta Girl, Kai_Wolf, Joanne's audience...and God forbid you should attract the attention of the Borg Queen Herself, KKKate. Then you'll never get the place properly fumigated. It took BigCityLib a looong time finally to move out of the sites of her Volksbrigade.

If you want test that (and up your hit count), give it a shot. Write something about how Maude Barlow believes social democratic Saskatchewan women throughout history are a credit to feminism and Canada in general. Then stand back...

David said...

RA, I think you are just a victim of bad rhetoric.

"His inability to do so has led to the timorous followings of those who beckon by cruel cynicism into our self-defeat."

Splendiferously maladroit, tagmemically speaking, of course.

thwap said...

"So which is it? Am I falling for leftist rhetoric or rightist?"

Rightist. You get attacked as being a dupe for liberal swill by right-wingers who are the most reality-challenged idiots on the face of the earth.

Who cares what these barely repressed nazis say about you?

What's more interesting is your total disregard for CC's critique. You instead launch into self-defence of your own motivations and clarity.

I wish it was worth my time to read what defenders of "the mission" (tm.) write, but every time I've tried, it's been nothing but generalizations and utter drivel.

CC said...

Thanks for your input, Raphael. Now perhaps you'd like to go back and respond to what I actually wrote, as opposed to what you'd like to imagine I wrote.

Conversations normally work better that way.

David said...

"Let's discuss whether or not we should be in Afghanistan. First, assume we should be in Aghanistan ... ". h/t Canadian Blue Lemons.

There, fixed that for you.

Red Tory said...

I'd have to agree with Thwap that the Defenders of the Faith have very little of substance to offer when attempting to explain the purpose of the mission, or at least assessing it in realistic terms. They're long on lofty rhetoric, accusations of disloyalty (lack of support for the troops, etc.) and woefully lacking when it comes to explaining what the "end game" is here. "Victory"? Do they imagine the Taliban will just throw in the towel and become good little pro-western democrats? Not bloody likely.

Raphael Alexander said...

In which Raphael simply and axiomatically equates doing "what is right for our military" with "the mission" because, I'm guessing, it is simply a truism in Raphael's world that we should be in Afghanistan

It's true. I do think we should be in Afghanistan, and I explained why I felt that way on a number of occasions. The purpose of my article was not to ask whether we should be in Afghanistan, but whether it might be helpful for Harper to actually do what needs to be done for mission success, rather than speaking about it in rhetorical terms.

'm sorry but who the fuck is the "Ruxted Group" and why the hell should I care about their opinion?

Only in that it reinforces a certain element of the view from military insiders. Just as one can take what Dave says more seriously because of that connection.

What the fucking hell? That's an "irrefutable truth?" No, Raphael, it's not -- it's a personal opinion that's currently being used to emotionally blackmail people into continuing to send their kids to die for a badly-defined and dishonest military venture, and one would have thought you could tell the difference.

I stand by my words, but it's pointless to say "it's only my opinion". That much is obvious in and of itself. Canadians have fought wars and paid for their reputation in blood. That is why Canadians are well respected and honoured throughout the world.

That's right, Raph, he does -- as all of us deranged, leftist moonbats have been saying for months now.

And credit goes where it's due, minus the miles of inflammatory rhetoric you always include.

Ah, I see ... PM Pillsbury Doughboy has concealed and lied, and the obvious conclusion to be drawn from that is that ... it's our fault?

Not at all. I wrote that Harper's inability to properly convey the importance of the mission lends to the cynical view of self-defeatist rhetoric streaming from Jack Layton.

I, of course, would have thought that transparency was necessary to make sure Canadians were well-informed and had all the information they needed to make a thoughtful and considered judgment on our presence in Afghanistan.

Of course. Transparency gives people the ability to decide. And after people know all the facts, they still have the right to see the mission as unnecessary. That's far more democratic than the assumption Canadians want to stay in Afghanistan. I've been a [lonely] proponent of parliamentary consensus since before Harper made it a media term.

Because no matter how you get there, it's vitally important that we all arrive at the same place -- Afghanistan.

Wrong. I respect the democratic rule of Canadian voters, and if we opt to leave, we opt to leave. I won't like it, but it won't be wrong.

Sparky said...

I stand by my words, but it's pointless to say "it's only my opinion". That much is obvious in and of itself. Canadians have fought wars and paid for their reputation in blood. That is why Canadians are well respected and honoured throughout the world.

And we're right back to Wanda.

Because Dutch people love Canadians...

Because our boys did good over there in the '40's...

Because kids have bled and died on foreign soil...

We should then continue our campaign in Afghanistan.

Please, Raphael, connect those dots.

Our reasons for being in Afghanistan are because we fought the 'good fight' before? Because we're 'respected'? Because (as Wanda stated) we've already lost people there, so please send more??

That's your justification? And you and Mr. Harper can't explain it better??

Wayne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Raphael Alexander said...

Sparky, it's just my opinion. Feel free to think we're better off leaving. I don't agree with it.

CC said...

Wayne, you're been warned before not to show up here and be a total retard. And I meant it.

Sparky said...

Okay, let's get out of the realm of opinions.
By what right does Canada have to be in Afghanistan?
Why are we there? Specifics, please. The 'we're there to help' or 'there to stop injustices' doesn't cut it--there are countries that deserve our help far more than Afghanistan if that's all the justifications we have.
I say we're there because we're part of NATO and Commander McChimpy led us there and then really pretty much deserted us so he could go make history in Iraq.
There should be a pretty straight answer as to why we're in Afghanistan. The official reason--the 'mandate', if you will.
But there isn't. At least, I haven't heard it. Add you (and our glorious leader) can't even explain it without invoking some sort of Wanda-ness--"We've lost lives so we should stay!"
I have a suggestion--we've lost lives for no apparent reason so we should leave. Give me a reason why we should stay and maybe I'll change my mind. Until I hear a good reason for staying, then the only right thing to do is get out. That's not opinion--that's reality.

Raphael Alexander said...

Canada was invited by NATO to participate in a multilateral mission in Afghanistan as endorsed by the United Nations under ISAF partners. We're there because we accepted the invitation, and we are an integral and essential part of mission success.

There may be other nations worthy of consideration for Canadian help, but neither our citizens nor our government seem willing to expand our military capabilities to deploy in multiple missions. As well, we haven't the military size to undergo multiple missions. It would be a mistake to withdraw from this one, given the fact that we now have a goal to accomplish within 2-3 years time in accordance with the 2006 Afghan Compact which calls for the training of 80,000 ANA soldiers.

Why Canada? Why not someone else? That sort of thinking is along the lines of Homer Simpsons "Can't somebody else do it?" Well, the answer is that yes, somebody else probably could do it. But it doesn't speak well for Canada that they had to do it where we could not, nor does it impress our allies. It is in our vital interests to serve proudly to mission success in Afghanistan, and that success is determined by the training of ANA forces in order for them to provide their own security in the nation to fight whatever counter-insurgency efforts which may arise from Al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

We should stay in Afghanistan because we have done good things there, and continue to do so, despite deficiencies in military equipment and lack of soldiers. With improvements in both areas, I believe we can turn the tide on the Taliban and restore security to the nation.

Red Tory said...

Hey, is this what Canadian troops are fighting for?

I'm sure we'll be hearing our Minister of Foreign Affairs speaking out on this any time now...

Raphael Alexander said...

RT, you're repeating ti-guy now?

Red Tory said...

I wasn't aware Ti-Guy had commented on this.

But that sure answers the question!