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People’s Voice Editorial
Faced with the inevitable, NATO leaders gathered in Chicago May 20-21 took the next steps towards pulling out of Afghanistan. More than a decade after the US-NATO invasion began, President Barack Obama and other NATO leaders are whistling in the dark, expressing “confidence in Afghanistan’s ability to take the lead for its own security” by next year. But the stampede to the exits has begun. Sixty-six per cent of Americans oppose this war, compared to just 27 per cent in support, according to recent polls. French voters just elected President Francois Hollande, who promised to pull their 3,300 troops out of Afghanistan ahead of schedule.
The reality is that only the Afghan people can find political, negotiated solutions for a better future. That path will be paved with harsh difficulties, but the imperialist intervention has only delayed this process. Canada, for example, has spent over $20 billion on the occupation, leaving the Afghan people nothing for this monumental sum. Claims about Canadian troops building hospitals and schools are simply PR propaganda, and the percentage of girls attaining literacy has barely budged. There will be no proud exit, no “job well done” for the NATO armies who failed to subdue the “enemy”. NATO’s true legacy will be its despicable role in temporarily propping up the coalition of thugs and drug lords around President Karzai.
Finally, after the 2014 exit date, Canada will continue to pump $110 million annually into “training” the Afghan army and police forces. We have a better idea. Canada should pay a much larger amount in reparations for our country’s share of the deaths and destruction inflicted on the Afghan people. And maybe we should also send Don Cherry, Christy Blatchford, Rob Ford, Peter Mackay and a few more pro-war mouthpieces over to Kandahar to help repair the damage.