Why do Social Democrats do what they do?

September 23, 2009

Make Afghanistan election issue, People's Voice, Editorial , SEPTEMBER 16-30, 2009


Little noticed amidst the presidential election debacle in Afghanistan
and another horrifying NATO slaughter of civilians has
been a crucial shift in US public opinion: 54% of Americans now
believe the war in Afghanistan is a mistake. Driving this point home,
the United for Peace and Justice Coalition and its 1000-plus
affiliates are organizing across the United States to hold local
activities on October 7 to mark the eighth anniversary of the USNATO
war in Afghanistan.

The enormous corruption of the presidential campaign makes it
clear to even the most optimistic observers that eight years of NATO
occupation has, if anything, served only to entrench the stranglehold
of various warlords and elites over the Afghan people. This truth
was revealed again by the tragic fiery deaths of dozens of people,
killed by US bombs on Sept. 4 as they siphoned fuel from tanker
trucks stuck in the Kunduz River. Early accounts indicate that the
bombers were called in by German troops on the basis of an
allegation that the trucks had been hijacked by the Taliban. This
mass murder shattered recent attempts to cut down on civilian
deaths caused by NATO troops.

These events make it even more critical to hold the Harper Tories
accountable for the nightmare of the Afghan occupation. Public
opinion in Canada remains solidly opposed to continuing the war,
a political factor which must have a strong impact if a federal
election takes place this fall.

Responsibility for Canada’s ongoing military role in Afghanistan
lies not only with the Harper Tories, who arbitrarily extended the
mission to July 2011 despite their minority in Parliament, but also
with the opposition parties which refuse to demand “troops out
now.” The shocking refusal of all parties in Parliament to respond
to the demands of Canadians for an end to the war must be exposed
at every opportunity this fall.

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