Over at the National Post website, Jonathan Kay has some unusually sensible comments on the war in Afghanistan.
The gist: the NATO countries aren’t willing to commit the military resources needed to defeat the Taliban, so the best option is a “negotiated peace.”
I think this is true and I want to commend Kay for being so clear-eyed.
But I can’t help but mention that this very argument has long been made by many writers, ranging from anti-war conservatives to leftists. Andrew Bacevich, Tariq Ali, and Jack Layton have all said the same thing over the last few years. In response to arguments of this sort, the editors of the National Post, including very much Kay himself, have hurled insults at those who want a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan. They were accused of being anti-patriotic, pro-terrorist, the enemies of victory, and sniveling appeasers who want to stab our brave soldiers in the back.
I have to ask, doesn’t Kay owe an apology to all those he maligned in the past few years?
And what about all the Canadian soldiers and their NATO comrades who have been killed or maimed in Afghanistan? Let’s also remember the thousands of Afghan civilians who have been killed in the fruitless search for “victory.” That victory was an illusion from day one: the Western powers have never had a sensible plan for securing Afghanistan. After the initial failure to capture Bin Laden, the best solution was to have negotiated with the Taliban and concentrated on trying to root out the remaining Al Qaeda network. Instead, the western countries decided to use Afghanistan as a proving ground for their military mettle and as a test run for the war in Iraq. As a result, many innocent people are now dead. Doesn’t Kay also owe them an explanation and apology?