Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Scott Taylor on Canada and NATO

Scott Taylor is the editor of Esprit de Corps magazine. He does the math (and history) on the Canadian demand for 1000 more troops:

... Back in January, just one week before Manley tabled his report calling for an extra 1,000 NATO troops, U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates announced that the U.S. would be temporarily bolstering its troop presence in Afghanistan with 3,000 marines.

Of that number, 2,000 of these combat troops were to be deployed in Kandahar — but only until this November. When critics asked whether or not the 2,000 marines added to the NATO force in the south would fulfil Manley’s reinforcement request, we were told that this was a separate issue and that NATO still needed to add another 1,000 soldiers. Accepting that to be true, and relying upon it, how can anyone in their right mind conclude that NATO has complied with Manley’s reinforcement condition, which was to be the prerequisite for extending our mission until 2011? ...

Like a petulant child, Canada demanded [in 2005] that our troops be given the volatile Kandahar region — even after many of our NATO allies politely suggested that it might be too much for our meagre military resources.

Once we were deployed, and realized that we were in over our heads, we began demanding assistance in the form of more troops and someone else’s helicopters — "or else we’re going home."

What our NATO partners see in Canada is one of the richest nations in the world, pointing to our significant body count of troops as proof of our commitment to a mission we cannot sustain without their assistance.

[At the recent NATO summit in Bucharest] Germany and France moved to block a proposal put forward by Canada and the U.S. to fast track NATO membership for the former Soviet states of Georgia and Ukraine. ...

Canada’s interest in pushing forward Ukraine’s entry was purely motivated by our own desire for reinforcements in Kandahar. Canadian military officials have been privately strong-arming the Ukrainians to send a 1,000-strong infantry force to Afghanistan. In doing so, it would seem that our commanders have forgotten to read up on their Cold War history. From 1980 to 1989, Ukraine deployed a significant portion of the Soviet Union’s occupation force in Afghanistan. Some 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the fighting, and another 30,000 severely wounded. ... (link)

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