Monday, August 08, 2005

20 Years in Afghanistan? Let's Put This in Perspective

I don't think Maj.-Gen. Andrew Leslie is in hot water just yet, but nonetheless he's going to get more than a few left-leaning people boiling over this one:

"Afghanistan is a 20-year venture," Major-Gen. Andrew Leslie told the annual Couchiching Summer Conference yesterday.

Leslie warned that the war-torn country is going to need a long-term commitment from Canada to help it "break out of the cycle of warlords and tribalism."

And the results will be worth the cost, both in blood and time, he promised attendees of the conference in Orillia, on the shore of Lake Couchiching.

"There are things worth fighting for. There are things worth dying for. There are things worth killing for," Leslie told the conference. "Your soldiers have done all three of those activities in the last 50 years.

"More of that activity is about to take place," he said, warning of "predators ... who wish to kill those whom we are charged to protect."

Yes, I can imagine the Garish One getting ready to spin her mouth off -- but before she does, there's something to consider:

We tend to think of Kandahar as part of the Great War on Terror, but for practical purposes it fits the parameters of a peacekeeping mission. And peacekeeping missions are measured in terms of decades. Take a look at this list from the Foreign Affairs website.

There are peacekeeping missions ongoing in Korea, the Golan Heights, Cyprus, and the Middle East. The Middle East one's been active since 1948 -- a few more years and it'll qualify for CPP benefits.

There's no guarantee that any of these spots won't become hot -- Korea, in particular, is likely to heat up over its nuclear program -- but compared to these missions, a 20-year stretch in Afghanistan does not seem unreasonable. Particularly when one considers the long-term benefit of stability in that region.

The same argument, of course, could be made in Iraq: the chance for long-term stability is worth the time spent there. Of course that argument's a tough sell for the blue-staters ...