Canadians Destroying Taliban

Thursday, September 14, 2006
Hard to believe, as it doesn't fit several narratives being propagated these days, but while Europeans are indulging in binge drinking and Americans are descending into the madness of conspiracy theories, 2,200 Canadian troops have quietly been systematically destroying the Taliban in Western Afghanistan. Go Canada.


Pastorius said...

This is good news. Someone needs to take over for us Americans while we lay naked on the bathroom floor in the throes of our binge hangover.

Thanks, Canada.

terrye said...

I have been reading about this, the Canucks are kicking ass over there.

nomdeblog said...

Support for this mission in polls is a slight majority, which I suppose is remarkable given the MSM negative coverage. Also Quebec (22% of Canadian population) gets its news and attitudes from France and the EU so that portion of our population is heavily pacifist and dilutes the heavy support in Western Canada (our Red states, if you will)

An item to watch will be:
Afghan President Hamid Karzai will address Canada’s Parliament on September 22 to urge Canadian military forces to remain in Afghanistan. In the past under Liberal Prime Ministers those sessions were reserved for Koffi singing his usual Kumbaya songs. Conservative PM Stephen Harper is letting Canadians hear the facts directly from the source.

Meanwhile our media is concentrating on the really important stuff:
Rumours of a “thing” between Condi and our Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Mackay – both single.

Skookumchuk said...

What are the demographic characteristics of the Canadian forces? Who signs up, in other words? Here in the Northwest since we are so close many have heard of the Princess Pats and Lord Strathcona's Horse - from Edmonton and Manitoba, correct? Are they mainly western Canadians, or from all over?

Barry Dauphin said...

The Canadians have been doing great work despite the CBC and NDP. I heard on CBC radio the other day (I live near Detroit) that the NDP is pushing to bring the troops home and get out of Afghanistan. Well, NATO is falling down big time. The Euro partners in NATO (save Great Britain) want to pick up and go home and have been pulling out troops. Norway won't send any troops into combat nor even into supportive roles, even if troops are not in combat. I guess they want to clean toilets in Brussels instead. The Taliban are still a threat, and Blair is begging the Euros to stand up and get their act together on this. These are trying times. But way to go Steven Harper.

But the CBC (don't get me started) guy who's name I don't remember gave a report the other day on how George Bush has been saying for years that Saddam was behind 9/11 and finally took it back only to commit the grievous offense of linking Iraq to the WoT. The guy doesn't actually listen to what Bush says but probably watches Farenheit 911 when he wakes up every day.

nomdeblog said...


I can only give you an impression of the demographics, no different than the US.
A soldier is not some gap-toothed hillbilly, they need to be smart and the training is terrific. So they are highly motivated success oriented people. It’s like the ministry, it’s a calling.

I do think they tend to be more rural than urban. Thus it becomes not urbane to support the War.
But interestingly Quebec, while tilting toward pacifist tends to provide its fair share soldiers.

Part of what happens when a country participates in War is that we get to know someone in it or have friends and relatives who do. So the narrative becomes more personal. We don’t want the sacrifice to be for naught. For example, when urbane Parisians don’t know anyone in the War they don’t grasp it other than from their intellectuals who pontificate in the Cafes along the Champs Elysées. Therefore IMHO the rural /urban divide is self-perpetuating.

Knucklehead said...

Many thanks to our northern neighbor for both the effort and sacrifice - not to mention the successes.

Related to this there in an article in TCS Daily, Help Wanted, by Alan W. Dowd. (ht: Instapundit, it's easier for anyone to find him than for me to type the HTML to link.)

The article wonders whether NATO has either the military capability or the will to stick it out in Afghanistan (or anywhere else, I suppose).

Some interesting grabs from the article:

(Specific to Canadian involvement)
The Canadians, who, to their credit, have been leading operations in Afghanistan's throbbing south, may have reached the end of their capabilities: Prior to Stephen Harper's election, Canada's defense budget was a paltry 1.1 percent of gross domestic product. As a consequence, the Canadian military is in a rebuilding mode. In fact, most of Canada's deployed troops have to be delivered by the US military. Worse, Canada has even had to turn to Russia and the United States for airlift assistance in responding to problems inside the country, such as flooding and ice storms.

(I was not aware of this)
NATO's European contingent fields some 2.3 million active-duty troops and another 3.04 million reserves. The US, by comparison, has 1.5 million troops on active duty -- and active is the operative word for the American military these days -- and less than a million reserves.

And yet...

it should come as no surprise that NATO's commitment to, and durability in, Afghanistan remain to be seen. Last week, for instance, NATO commander Gen. James Jones said alliance members have only contributed 85 percent of the forces they pledged to stabilize Afghanistan's broken and battered landscape. He then conceded that NATO's Afghanistan force needs as many as 2,500 more soldiers, an additional squadron of attack helicopters and more heavy transport planes.

According to the Boston Glove (actually Paul Garwood, Associated Press) NATO nations fail to agree on extra forces for Afghanistan, the NATO forces are:

About 8,000 Canadian, British and Dutch soldiers -- almost half of the 20,000-strong NATO force -- are leading the anti-Taliban push in the south. But military chiefs say 2,500 more troops, plus greater air support, would help them crush the Taliban threat more quickly.

NATO cannot even put 25,000 troops into Afghanistan (even with US and Russian transport). They're struggling to put a few thousand into Lebanon.

The US has gotten or is getting about all the help the GB, Austrailia, Canada, and Denmark can provide. But the rest of NATO is comprised of some large and quite wealthy nations who cannot - and apparently have no interest in being able to - fight their way out of a paper bag.

Rick Ballard said...


The older the chimera, the more expensive the maintenance. The socialist bread and circuses cost so much that maintaining even the illusion of military competency is beyond the reach of most of NATO. Which the oil ticks have duly noted.

A return to dispossession and plunder as a just consequence of war would solve the problem (plus its the epitome of multiculturalism - adopt your foes concepts of life as a mark of respect!) but its better that the socialist regimes of Europe collapse first.

Killing chimeras is even harder than supporting them.

Skookumchuk said...

Thanks, Nomdeblog - that is what I would have expected.

Knucklehead: Pragmatically, I guess there are two ways to look at this. First, no one else can or wants to do the heavy lifting - move them there and back, provide all the logistics, and the air and ground fire support. The Aussies are stepping up to the plate in the maritime area, but the Canadians are still looking for an appropriate vessel design and who knows where that will lead. Better than nothing, but drops in the bucket.

Thus the logic behind our latest sales of older naval equipment has been somewhat mystifying. For example, the US Navy is negotiating the sales of three amphibious landing ships, one to India and two to Mexico.

India I can see. Mexico plans to use them as disaster relief ships and perhaps also in joint anti-drug operations. But curious that no other nation stepped up to the plate on these vessels. Perhaps they are old and full of asbestos and whatnot and therefore not suitable for a modern, first world navy.

And in airlift capacity, well, there ain't even a race. I think the Brits have four or so C17s leased from Boeing and the Aussies are buying four. The Canadians I don't think have plans for anything.

So for the heavy stuff it is really just us, now and in the future.

There is a second way to look at it in which lack of the heavy stuff doesn't matter, given that allied efforts will always be small. If the small numbers of troops that our allies can provide are very good - the Canadian snipers come to mind - and are allowed to go in harm's way, then they can indeed punch above their weight. So Canuck and Aussie and perhaps some other specialist and highly trained units are very valuable. And if their participation is seen as positive by the majority of folks back home (a big "if" there), it is positive for the West as a whole.

Skookumchuk said...

I think you all should know that my devotion to this blog is such that while I was previewing the above missive for typos (and there were many), the cat was clawing her way up the patio screen door in an effort to get in.

She got all the way up to the top and was hanging by all fours upside down when I arrived. The screen door received yet another mangling. So after ten or so more posts of such length, it will be time for a trip to Home Depot.

terrye said...


That poor cat, hanging there wondering where her daddy was.

Knucklehead said...


The Euros (NATO minus the US) have neither desire nor ability to fight and, therefore, will not fight. That's basically the bottom line. Other than the UK the major European nations can't project the equivalent of a division into the field. That's a pretty heavy bet, IMHO, that they'll never need to.

The UN, Europe, etc. do NOTHING about places like Darfur because they can't do anything - other than blather that "diplomacy" rather than "violence" is the "solution". And Americans have limits on how much of the heavy lifting we can and are willing to do. Things will get worse before they get better.

No real point to this other than that those of us blathering about how we should get more "help" from "allies" are barking at the moon. They have very little help to give even if they were willing.

Knucklehead said...


I have one who was fond of clawing the screens to signal her desire to enter. A dozen sharp whacks through the screen seems to have cured her of that particular bad habit. I loathe replacing screens even though it is not particularly difficult.

Barry Dauphin said...

The cat was hanging on your every word.

Skookumchuk said...


Hah! She was mangling on my every word. Of course now she is fast asleep, covering my pillow with cat fur.