Come when you can stay longer....Short trip, long agenda: Obama darts up to Canada...Canada abandoning Afghanistan to its fate

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    Feb 19, 2009 1:37 PM GMT
    ..."Ottawa is awash in buzz about hosting the new president; supporters are rolling in by the busload in hopes of a glimpse. Two-thirds of Canadians wanted Obama elected, a Gallup Poll found in October. Even more said the choice of the U.S. president affected their own nation.

    Canada and the United States have the largest trading relationship between any two countries in the world. And for all the talk of ending a dangerous reliance on foreign oil, the U.S. depends more on Canada for imported oil than it does any other country.

    So far, as Obama grapples with a crashing economy, he has kept his focus at home. As if to underscore that urgent domestic tone, he isn't staying the night or even sticking around for dinner in Canada. He will be there for about seven hours.

    Yet that pace belies an agenda packed with sensitive topics.

    Obama comes bearing a pro-trade message to assuage Canadian concerns over protectionism; a promise of a new strategy in Afghanistan as Canada moves to yank out all its troops there; and talk of clean-energy cooperation as controversy hangs over Canada's oil-rich sands." ....

    "Harper, who heads a Conservative government, had a good relationship with Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, calling him a president who "never promised me anything he couldn't deliver." And Canada's ties with the U.S. run deep. Still, Bush became deeply unpopular in Canada, which had a spillover effect.

    "Canadians are gaga over Obama," said David Biette, director of the Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. "It gives Harper a lot more leeway with the United States." " ...

    "Canada is planning to pull its 2,500 combat troops out of Afghanistan's volatile south by 2011, following the loss of more than 100 troops killed in the country since 2001. Obama is headed the other direction, dispatching 17,000 more U.S. troops to the war zone."
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Feb 19, 2009 4:07 PM GMT
    That was a really interesting title choice Caslon. Especially the end.
    "...Canada abandoning Afghanistan to its fate"

    When exactly could Canada pull out of Afghanistan without it being phrased in such a judgmental fashion? Much more accurate would have been "...Canada pulling out of Afghanistan." To be even more fair about it: "...Canada pulling out of Afghanistan in 2 more years." or even: "...Canada pulling out of Afghanistan after 10 years". Or wait, here's the best of all: "...Canada pulls out of Afghanistan, after 10 years of being there solely to support the US."

    Is that how you will describe it when the US pulls out of Iraq, if it ever does?
    "...US abandoning Iraq to its fate".
    Let's make that phrase a bit more honest too: "...After many years, US gets what it wanted from Iraq and abandons it to its fate"
  • OptimusMatt

    Posts: 1124

    Feb 19, 2009 4:17 PM GMT
    UncleverName saidThat was a really interesting title choice Caslon. Especially the end.
    "...Canada abandoning Afghanistan to its fate"

    Or wait, here's the best of all: "...Canada pulls out of Afghanistan, after 10 years of being there solely to support the US."

    Is that how you will describe it when the US pulls out of Iraq, if it ever does?
    "...US abandoning Iraq to its fate".
    Let's make that phrase a bit more honest too: "...After many years, US gets what it wanted from Iraq and abandons it to its fate"



    This pretty says it all.
  • SeaMichael

    Posts: 138

    Feb 19, 2009 4:56 PM GMT
    I think it's really unfortunate that Canada is planning a withdrawal before the egg gets put back together, but I don't blame them. Afghanastan was supposed to be a relatively simple "overthrow the Taliban and capture Osama" affair, yet it has turned into an absolute mess. This is what happens when the U.S. jumps the gun and doesn't think before acting.

    What is especially disturbing is that our presence in the region doesn't seem to be helping much. The Pakistani government has made a pact with radical Muslims, Afghanastan has managed to only become stable in Kabul, and, in general, both governments are becoming more and more corrupt.

    Perhaps all countries should pull out and force the Afghani people to take responsibility for what's left of their nation, and stop using the U.S. and other nations as crutches.

    As for ongoing relations with Canada - I sure hope that the Conservatives lose power up there soon. While we haven't done much on our side to keep good relations over the last eight years, I believe strongly that the U.S. and Canada can and should be strong allies, especially with trade and environmental issues. I am hopeful that the Obama administration will reach out on that front, and his trade rep, Secretary of State, and attempted Commerce picks thus far all point towards that direction.
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    Feb 19, 2009 5:37 PM GMT
    UncleverName saidThat was a really interesting title choice Caslon. Especially the end.
    "...Canada abandoning Afghanistan to its fate"

    When exactly could Canada pull out of Afghanistan without it being phrased in such a judgmental fashion? Much more accurate would have been "...Canada pulling out of Afghanistan." To be even more fair about it: "...Canada pulling out of Afghanistan in 2 more years." or even: "...Canada pulling out of Afghanistan after 10 years". Or wait, here's the best of all: "...Canada pulls out of Afghanistan, after 10 years of being there solely to support the US."

    Is that how you will describe it when the US pulls out of Iraq, if it ever does?
    "...US abandoning Iraq to its fate".
    Let's make that phrase a bit more honest too: "...After many years, US gets what it wanted from Iraq and abandons it to its fate"

    Or it could be put just as I did. Canada is pulling out when the job isnt finished. The military activity in Afghanistan is highly justifiable in the fight against terrorism. And it will become a terrorist staging again if all countries did this.

    And the only apparent reason for pulling out is because you have had some soldiers killed. What if every country turned tail and ran when one of its soldiers got killed. The only reason you can do this is because you know the US will pick up the slack. This is the kind of behavior that reflects badly on Canada as a first rate, reliable, leading democracy. But dont feel too bad, this is the way most of the world behaves....let the US do it.....but dont feel at all hesitant to criticize them while they are doing it.

    And one can not make a case that the US is abandoning Iraq to its fate. For heaven's sake, we have endured much and spent much, staying even when things looked hopeless. We will still be there. Iraq is willing to take more responsibility now and wants us to stand down.

    And just for general reading, may I suggest:

    golitah.jpg
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    Feb 19, 2009 5:46 PM GMT
    UncleverName saidCanada pulls out of Afghanistan, after 10 years of being there solely to support the US."

    Really? You werent there to help fight the terrorists that were based in that country? You dont see that you have any responsibility to help in the fight? What? Was the US supposed to do it alone, while you supped on french fries and gravy?

    BTW, are you gonna buy any more used submarines from Britain or will the mall (in Edmonton?) still have a bigger navy than your country?
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Feb 19, 2009 6:38 PM GMT
    mookie5381 saidI think it's really unfortunate that Canada is planning a withdrawal before the egg gets put back together, but I don't blame them. Afghanastan was supposed to be a relatively simple "overthrow the Taliban and capture Osama" affair, yet it has turned into an absolute mess. This is what happens when the U.S. jumps the gun and doesn't think before acting.


    Much like Iraq, anyone who had done their home work before going into Afghanistan would have known it wasn't a simple mission that would be over quickly. Did no one read anything about the Soviet Union's foray into Afghanistan?
    That being said, it would have been nice if it had been. It doesn't seem like anything in that region of the world is or can be simple and fast.
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    Feb 19, 2009 6:45 PM GMT
    UncleverName saidMuch like Iraq, anyone who had done their home work before going into Afghanistan would have known it wasn't a simple mission that would be over quickly. Did no one read anything about the Soviet Union's foray into Afghanistan?
    That being said, it would have been nice if it had been. It doesn't seem like anything in that region of the world is or can be simple and fast.

    Is that supposed to support Canada's decision to pull out?
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Feb 19, 2009 6:53 PM GMT
    Caslon9000 said
    Or it could be put just as I did. Canada is pulling out when the job isnt finished. The military activity in Afghanistan is highly justifiable in the fight against terrorism. And it will become a terrorist staging again if all countries did this.


    I'm not in support of an undefined and highly vague "War on Terror."

    Can you give me an internationally recognized definition of terror? As recognized by the UN, or the International Court?
    You can't actually; the US (among others) vetoes any attempt to define it, as many of the US's (and other's) actions would count as Terror.

    Given your logic, Canada and the US should be involved in so many more countries than just Afghanistan.

    I personally don't believe that violent military actions ever lead to peace.
    As far as I was led to believe from the Canadian government many years ago, the Canadian forces sent to Afghanistan were sent there to act as peace keepers. That is not what they have been doing for the last little while, which is why Canadian soldiers are now dying more than they were before.

    And just to clarify, I would like to see Canada and the US leave Afghanistan, or at least, stop carrying out any form of aggressive military actions there. Canada has been much more effective, outside of WW2, carrying out peace keeping missions than it ever has using aggressive military force. And partly for the reason that you point out Caslon: our technology sucks. But again, I would prefer that Canada do peace keeping missions, which don't require the best technology. And as a side note, some of our technology would be all right, if the US hadn't purchased exclusive rights to it. How about those awesome helicopters we made years ago? Oh yeah, you've got them now.
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    Feb 19, 2009 6:54 PM GMT
    none of us should have been in any of these places in the first place.

    it will only have the reverse effect of its "stated purpose" of promoting stability and democracy.

    there has never been an instance in world history where a successful and stable democracy, with freedom and rights and a peace-loving nation was created through coercion at the barrel of a gun. It has never happened, it will never happen.

    Lead by example. Spread democracy by being democratic. Spread freedom by championing its ideals for your own country.

    I will leave you with a few quotes from George Orwell, who, i personally hold, as one of the 20th centuries greatest visionaries and thinkers, and who gave us warnings of things that are as of yet to fully materialize, but are very much on their way:

    "Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac."

    "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."

    "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

    "t is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it; consequently, the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning."

    "Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

    "War is a way of shattering to pieces... materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable and... too intelligent. "

    And perhaps the most striking quote, extracted from 1984:

    * "The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact"
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    Feb 19, 2009 6:59 PM GMT
    UncleverName said
    Caslon9000 said
    Or it could be put just as I did. Canada is pulling out when the job isnt finished. The military activity in Afghanistan is highly justifiable in the fight against terrorism. And it will become a terrorist staging again if all countries did this.


    I'm not in support of an undefined and highly vague "War on Terror."

    Can you give me an internationally recognized definition of terror? As recognized by the UN, or the International Court?
    You can't actually; the US (among others) vetoes any attempt to define it, as many of the US's (and other's) actions would count as Terror.

    Given your logic, Canada and the US should be involved in so many more countries than just Afghanistan.

    I personally don't believe that violent military actions ever lead to peace.
    As far as I was led to believe from the Canadian government many years ago, the Canadian forces sent to Afghanistan were sent there to act as peace keepers. That is not what they have been doing for the last little while, which is why Canadian soldiers are now dying more than they were before.

    And just to clarify, I would like to see Canada and the US leave Afghanistan, or at least, stop carrying out any form of aggressive military actions there. Canada has been much more effective, outside of WW2, carrying out peace keeping missions than it ever has using aggressive military force. And partly for the reason that you point out Caslon: our technology sucks. But again, I would prefer that Canada do peace keeping missions, which don't require the best technology. And as a side note, some of our technology would be all right, if the US hadn't purchased exclusive rights to it. How about those awesome helicopters we made years ago? Oh yeah, you've got them now.

    In a perfect world, you might have a case. But in truth, to maintain the peace means being able to go out stop violence with force.....(please dont respond with some lame violence doesnt stop violence. Defeating terrorists (or whomever) does stop the violence).

    Maybe you all could just rotate out the cdn military and rotate in the Edmonton Mall Militia. Oh I guess we dont need their subs in Afghanistan.....how many mall cops do they have?
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Feb 19, 2009 7:06 PM GMT
    Caslon9000 said
    UncleverName saidCanada pulls out of Afghanistan, after 10 years of being there solely to support the US."

    Really? You werent there to help fight the terrorists that were based in that country? You dont see that you have any responsibility to help in the fight? What? Was the US supposed to do it alone, while you supped on french fries and gravy?

    BTW, are you gonna buy any more used submarines from Britain or will the mall (in Edmonton?) still have a bigger navy than your country?


    Why should Canada have chosen to fight terrorists in Afghanistan, instead of fighting terrorists in Gaza? Or in Sudan? Or any of the other places in Africa that are suffering under terrorists all the time? Or any of the other places in the middle east?

    I think the Canadian forces are there for two main reasons:

    1) to curry favor with the US
    2) because our own military wants some (non-peace-keeping) action

    Neither of these are good reasons, in my opinion.

    And even if they are there to 'spread democracy' they're not doing a good job. When the US and Canada discuss spreading democracy, what they generally mean by that is that they want to have free and fair elections, as long as the country votes for the right people to rule it.

    For an example of where this has happened, I give you the relatively recent (and lawful and democratic) election of Hamas in Gaza as exhibit A. I don't like Hamas. But they were lawfully and democratically elected, something that most of the western world wants to pretend is not true.

    And if the US and Canada really want to stop terrorism, they should stop practicing it in other places themselves. The most notable example I can think of (besides the torturing done in the last 5 years) is much of the US's involvement in South and Central America in the last 20 years.
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Feb 19, 2009 7:08 PM GMT
    Caslon9000 saidMaybe you all could just rotate out the cdn military and rotate in the Edmonton Mall Militia. Oh I guess we dont need their subs in Afghanistan.....how many mall cops do they have?


    Oh Caslon, you are such a joker. Sooo witty, and so funny.
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Feb 19, 2009 7:20 PM GMT
    Caslon9000 saidDefeating terrorists (or whomever) does stop the violence.


    At the risk of debating something that we're clearly not going to agree on further...

    Do you have any concrete and clear examples of when defeating terrorists has stopped violence?
    When you say defeat, do you mean kill? Do you mean detain? Do you mean torture?
    And when you say stop the violence, do you mean that those particular people stopped doing violence? If their relatives commit more violence in retaliation, does that qualify them as different/new terrorists, allowing for your statement to still be true?

    Just want to make sure I understand.
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Feb 19, 2009 7:34 PM GMT
    Should step away from keyboard, but just can't...

    Cas, what's with your seemingly constant negative views on Canada?

    Did a canadian rape your gerbil years ago?
    Are there too many people smoking delicious (to some) BC bud where you live?
    Does our poutine and maple syrup bother you that much?
    Or do you just have mall envy?

    Wait, wait! I know.
    You hate us for our freedom. You hate us for our freedom to eat poutine and great maple syrup. You hate us for our freedom to go to the West Edmonton mall, and enjoy shopping and roller coasters and laser tag, all in the same day, at the same place.
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    Feb 19, 2009 7:35 PM GMT
    UncleverName said
    Caslon9000 saidDefeating terrorists (or whomever) does stop the violence.


    At the risk of debating something that we're clearly not going to agree on further...

    Do you have any concrete and clear examples of when defeating terrorists has stopped violence?
    When you say defeat, do you mean kill? Do you mean detain? Do you mean torture?
    And when you say stop the violence, do you mean that those particular people stopped doing violence? If their relatives commit more violence in retaliation, does that qualify them as different/new terrorists, allowing for your statement to still be true?

    Just want to make sure I understand.

    I mean like the way we defeated Japan and Germany and the violence stopped. I know fighting terrorists isnt going to done totally in the same way, but militarily fighting their armed units and denying them a state sanctuary are part of the solution.
  • SeaMichael

    Posts: 138

    Feb 19, 2009 7:39 PM GMT
    Caslon9000 said
    In a perfect world, you might have a case. But in truth, to maintain the peace means being able to go out stop violence with force.....(please dont respond with some lame violence doesnt stop violence. Defeating terrorists (or whomever) does stop the violence).

    Maybe you all could just rotate out the cdn military and rotate in the Edmonton Mall Militia. Oh I guess we dont need their subs in Afghanistan.....how many mall cops do they have?


    While I concur that there are occasions where force is necessary (ie: the United States' intervention in Bosnia), the terror definition is an important factor here. Typically what has led people to want to attack the United States is our meddling in foreign affairs for no reason other than to "promote democracy". Additionally, our actions to this effect is what has led to so many problems we face today. Our training of militias in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets (which included training OBL, and which led to the Taliban taking over). Our lack of support for democratically elected leftist leaders in Iraq, Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, and so forth. We brought Sadaam Hussein, we brought Agusto Pinochet, and spent the last eight years alienating the people of Bolivia and Venezuela because we don't like the idea of socialism.

    Instead of just going around declaring war on what we consider terrorism, we should be using our brains and looking at the root causes, and stop interjecting ourselves where we don't belong. Chavez isn't killing people, he's just not letting the rich get richer. Hell, we supported Saddam while he was gassing Iranians, but not until he decided to exercise his country's ownership over oil fields in the South did we give a shit (the first Iraq war). We can't continually cause the calamities and expect the world to indefinitely stick it out with us. Ten years is a long time to be bogged down in a hopeless war.
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    Feb 19, 2009 7:39 PM GMT
    UncleverName said
    Caslon9000 saidDefeating terrorists (or whomever) does stop the violence.


    At the risk of debating something that we're clearly not going to agree on further...

    Do you have any concrete and clear examples of when defeating terrorists has stopped violence?
    When you say defeat, do you mean kill? Do you mean detain? Do you mean torture?
    And when you say stop the violence, do you mean that those particular people stopped doing violence? If their relatives commit more violence in retaliation, does that qualify them as different/new terrorists, allowing for your statement to still be true?

    Just want to make sure I understand.
    What is your solution? Peace-keeping, as you mentioned earlier?

    What proof do you have that peace-keeping ever accomplished anything? Has peace-keeping ever prevented a terrorist attack?
    Has peace-keeping prevented those under occupation from becoming resentful and turning into terrorists?
    Has peace-keeping fomented Democracy?

    Facts, figures, dates, names, please. At least 3 confirmed and independently verifiable instances are required.

    I just want to understand.
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Feb 19, 2009 7:42 PM GMT
    Caslon9000 said
    I mean like the way we defeated Japan and Germany and the violence stopped. I know fighting terrorists isnt going to done totally in the same way, but militarily fighting their armed units and denying them a state sanctuary are part of the solution.


    These are valid examples, but we didn't stay in Germany and occupy them for 10 years after the fact, and that example is quite old. Modern warfare has changed a lot since then, and part of the reason why we can't 'win' in Afghanistan or the rest of the middle east is because the 'terrorists' are not fighting the same way that Germany and Japan fought in WW2. Going in and occupying them for years on end is not likely to make them stop what they are doing. Otherwise it would have. Anyone that can wait and plot and bide their time for 8 years can surely wait 20 or even 30. The first 2 are the hardest, I hear icon_smile.gif

    On top of that, many scholars (in Canada at least) seem aware of the fact that there were many factors leading up to Nazi Germany. A large part of the lead up was WW1, and the extreme and total poverty in Germany before WW2. If the US (and the other allied nations) had spent more time and energy trying to help Germany out, maybe things would have been different.
  • SeaMichael

    Posts: 138

    Feb 19, 2009 7:42 PM GMT
    chicago_barry said
    UncleverName said
    Caslon9000 saidDefeating terrorists (or whomever) does stop the violence.


    At the risk of debating something that we're clearly not going to agree on further...

    Do you have any concrete and clear examples of when defeating terrorists has stopped violence?
    When you say defeat, do you mean kill? Do you mean detain? Do you mean torture?
    And when you say stop the violence, do you mean that those particular people stopped doing violence? If their relatives commit more violence in retaliation, does that qualify them as different/new terrorists, allowing for your statement to still be true?

    Just want to make sure I understand.
    What is your solution? Peace-keeping, as you mentioned earlier?

    What proof do you have that peace-keeping ever accomplished anything? Has peace-keeping ever prevented a terrorist attack?
    Has peace-keeping prevented those under occupation from becoming resentful and turning into terrorists?
    Has peace-keeping fomented Democracy?

    Facts, figures, dates, names, please. At least 3 confirmed and independently verifiable instances are required.

    I just want to understand.


    Bosnia, late 90's - peacekeeping helped to keep the nationalists at bay and encourage support of the West by the local inhabitants.

    Germany, after WWII - peacekeeping and rebuilding helped ensure no further nationalistic leaders would rise as Hitler did following WWI, and, again, endeared many people to the West.

    South Korea, after the Korean war - it's an ongoing effort, but it is one that has paid off quite well.
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Feb 19, 2009 7:52 PM GMT
    chicago_barry saidWhat is your solution? Peace-keeping, as you mentioned earlier?

    What proof do you have that peace-keeping ever accomplished anything? Has peace-keeping ever prevented a terrorist attack?
    Has peace-keeping prevented those under occupation from becoming resentful and turning into terrorists?
    Has peace-keeping fomented Democracy?

    Facts, figures, dates, names, please. At least 3 confirmed and independently verifiable instances are required.

    I just want to understand.


    I don't have facts, figures, dates, names, etc for when peace has worked, indefinitely. I'll be honest.

    And I don't have an alternative that I know will work. My suggestion in most of these places is that instead of going in to occupy them, we go in to help them, and work with their own law enforcement agencies to promote peace/stability.

    How did the US start the military operation in Afghanistan? By demanding that the Afghani government hand over Bin Laden, immediately. The Taliban was in power at the time. The US had been fine with the Taliban for years prior to this, but all of a sudden, they were a problem. When the Taliban couldn't hand over Bin Laden, the US rolled right in. How would the US respond to something like that? Is it even reasonable to think that if a known terrorist were somewhere within the borders of the USA, the US government could produce him, instantaneously? And was any of that within International Law? No.

    Do I think that the US deserved justice for the 911 attacks? Yes. But there are much more constructive ways to go about doing that. For starters, the UN could have been more heavily involved. Or the US could have stayed out of Iraq, a country complete unconnected with the 911 attacks. The US administration could have not lied to it's own people, further undermining this idea of 'democracy'.

    I don't think we should be trying to spread democracy around the world. In many ways, I think democracy in North America is a crock of s**t. And why is democracy better for all of these other countries? Do I want abuse of women to stop? Yes. Do I want all citizens around the world to have equal rights? Of course. Does that mean 'democracy?' Not necessarily.

    Maybe a more peaceful approach won't work. But in my opinion, what Canada and the US are doing in Afghanistan isn't working either, so trying something different can't really hurt.
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Feb 19, 2009 7:53 PM GMT
    mookie5381 saidBosnia, late 90's - peacekeeping helped to keep the nationalists at bay and encourage support of the West by the local inhabitants.

    Germany, after WWII - peacekeeping and rebuilding helped ensure no further nationalistic leaders would rise as Hitler did following WWI, and, again, endeared many people to the West.

    South Korea, after the Korean war - it's an ongoing effort, but it is one that has paid off quite well.


    What he said! icon_smile.gif
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    Feb 19, 2009 8:54 PM GMT
    too bad you guys aren't here to see the changes. the mission is worth it. Canada should stay put. I have a very good feeling about the outcome.
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    Feb 19, 2009 9:19 PM GMT
    uncleverbarry says, "Maybe a more peaceful approach won't work. But in my opinion, what Canada and the US are doing in Afghanistan isn't working either, so trying something different can't really hurt".

    what's sad about your statements is that you have nothing to back up your point of view.
    you don't have a clue what is actually being done and accomplished here in afghanistan.
  • SeaMichael

    Posts: 138

    Feb 19, 2009 9:44 PM GMT
    warren_t saiduncleverbarry says, "Maybe a more peaceful approach won't work. But in my opinion, what Canada and the US are doing in Afghanistan isn't working either, so trying something different can't really hurt".

    what's sad about your statements is that you have nothing to back up your point of view.
    you don't have a clue what is actually being done and accomplished here in afghanistan.


    Dude, he's got me to back up his point of view. And being American, my opinion and thoughts actually matter. HA!