Thursday, July 8, 2010

Unsexy War Blogging

This is how I characterize the Canadian war effort in Afghanistan - Unsexy! In spite of costs in blood and treasure no one seems to really want to pay much attention to what's going on over on the other side of the world in our names. It's a bit different in the U.S. where they have two wars going on that the media does its' level best to avoid covering - except when something crazy happens like the head of the NATO command forces gets loose lipped on a case of Bud Light Lime and disses everybody up and down the chain of command.


Joe Biden's recent trip (his 5th) was to Iraq to try and help negotiate a power-sharing deal between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite who is struggling to keep his job after his party lost the March 7 election, and his chief challenger, former premier Ayad Allawi. It has largely been unsuccessful.

Despite his lack of success in arranging such a deal he still managed to express confidence that the Iraqis are “absolutely” ready to take over full responsibility for securing their country as the U.S. proceeds with a planned drawdown of combat forces. As things currently stand in Iraq, twirling towards freedom best describes it - there is still violence, every single day. About 4,400 American service members have given their lives in Iraq. Tens possibly hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died. Today there is a report of bombings targeting Shia pilgrims in Iraq killing 5. Yesterday 64 were killed and 215 wounded in a string of attacks across Iraq...

In the NPR article linked above, journalist Lourdes Garcia-Navarro asks the 64 billion dollar question - Is Iraq a safer country now than it was three years ago? Undoubtedly. He says answering his own question and then continues, ...if you walk out the palace doors, and onto the hot dusty streets like I and many of my colleagues do everyday, you'll meet Iraqis who are worried about what comes next. Many of them ask me, "What was it all for?" As I leave Iraq this time, I have trouble giving them an answer.

He's not alone.

Not Entirely Unsexy Afghan War Blogginng

Rachel helps put the current state of affairs in Afghanistan in some perspective. I'm one of those who has a hard time envisioning what success there will look like and yet she manages to make me feel some optimism.



About the only major issue Rachel doesn't delve into here is the one about Afghan corruption. So intractable a problem that in an attempt to deal with it the US has reduced aid to Afghanistan by $4 billion over concerns it's undermining their efforts. There's a report that corruption has doubled since 2007 - something that report author Lorenzo Delesgues says, "...reduces the legitimacy of the state, it gives more legitimacy to the Taliban."