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I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Friday, January 18, 2008

"Dion incapable of leading a national government"

I couldn't agree more, Mr. Gunter...
A shocking suggestion from Dion
Pakistan invasion idea shows he is incapable of leading a national government

Lorne Gunter, Freelance
Published: 2:02 am

Following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto outside a campaign rally in Rawalpindi in late December, The Economist magazine declared Pakistan to be "the world's most dangerous place."

I have long thought the same thing. Iran may be its only competition.

The 9/11 plot was likely hatched in Pakistan. The 7/7 bombings on London's subways and buses in 2005 certainly were. Even if the 9/11 attacks were entirely planned and carried out from al-Qaida bases inside Afghanistan, rather than Pakistan, they were nonetheless facilitated with money, men and materiel funnelled through Pakistan.

The Qur'anic schools known as madrassas that dot the Afghan-Pakistani border became magnets for angry Muslim youths from around the world in the 1980s and 1990s while international mujahedeen battled the Soviet invasion.

There, their instructors whipped up their Islamic extremism to even higher levels until some volunteered for terror training across the largely unguarded frontier in Afghanistan's southern and western provinces.

The money for the training camps and the madrassas poured into Pakistan from around the Muslim world (and for a time from the United States). The Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan at the time and provided safe haven for al-Qaida and its murderous schemers, were a creation of the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI.

Even today, the continued existence of the Taliban and its ability to ambush NATO forces in Afghanistan and construct roadside bombs is a direct result of backing from elements within the Pakistani government who want to see the pluralistic, Western-friendly government in Kabul brought down and replaced by an extremist Islamic one, again.

Osama bin Laden is almost certainly hiding out in Pakistan's lawless tribal territories.

NATO generals - including Canadian ones - commanding troops in southern Afghanistan report of huge arms caches maintained for the Taliban by the ISI on both sides of the border with Pakistan. During operations, our troops have observed Pakistan border guards and soldiers jubilantly waving truckloads of well-armed Taliban fighters through their guard posts.

There are secessionist movements that would break the country up along geographic lines, and others that would dissolve it according to faith or tribe.

There are provinces in the lawless border regions where fundamentalists from within the government rule and the moderates from the central government tread lightly when they tread there at all.

There is a reasonably large, educated, modernized professional class in Pakistan that favours the rule of law, democracy and separation between mosque and state, but since the 1980s, when then-president Zia ul Haq embarked on his Nizam-e-Islam - Islamization policy - Islamic religious leaders have been increasingly influential in Pakistan politics.

With a wink from Haq's government, they set up the madrassas, funded mostly by oil money from the Gulf, that preached hatred against non-Muslims and fuelled the recruitment of mujahedeen and later Taliban.

The beheading of hostages began there with Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and the "Islamic bomb" (or at least the precursor for one) was provided to other Muslims nations by Pakistani government scientist A. Q. Khan.

In the quarter century since president ul Haq encouraged the intertwining of Islamic beliefs and public policy, Pakistan has developed a large radical element within its government and is beginning to export its militant brand of Islam.

So Liberal Leader Stephane Dion is right when he says allied efforts to stabilize Afghanistan will not succeed without action being taken in the border regions of Pakistan to control Muslim extremists and reign in rogue elements of the Pakistani government.

But he is losing it if he thinks, as he said Wednesday, that NATO might have to consider invading Pakistan.


For a man who has spent the 13 months since he became opposition leader deriding the Tories for continuing our combat role in Kandahar province, and demanding that our soldiers be transferred to peacekeeping duties in a less dangerous region of Afghanistan, it was a shocking suggestion. And given that Pakistan is a Commonwealth country (albeit one that has been suspended since a state of emergency was declared by the government there in October) and given that it has a population of 170 million mostly Muslims, who would unite - radical and moderate together - in the face of any foreign invasion, Dion's proposal bordered on the unstable. It casts doubts on his suitability to be prime minister.

I know his staff now insist Dion meant diplomatic interventions, but that is not what he said. He said plainly that if the Pakistan government could or would not take action forcefully to track terrorists who slip into Afghanistan, "We could consider that option with the NATO forces in order to help Pakistan help us pacify Afghanistan."

Unless NATO's small diplomatic corps has recently taken to calling itself "NATO forces," Dion clearly meant a military invasion.

He is either completely reversing his earlier position on our mission, or is incapable of leading a national government.


© The Edmonton Journal 2008

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1 Comments:

  • At Fri. Jan. 18, 12:32:00 p.m. EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There was a great saying in WWII - "Loose lips sink ships".

    Dion's ill-informed and naive comments are exactly the kind of "loose lips" rhetoric that will bring even more attempted terrorist actions against Canada and Canadians by riling the Pakistani militants.

     

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