Monday, May 28, 2007

Politics: Canada's Humanitarian Aid: Agency fawlted for slothful biz-as-usual in Afghanistan war zone

National Post reports in an article by Andrew Mayeda, "Canada’s aid failures a threat to Afghan mission: NGO" (May28,2k7) CanWest News Service

OTTAWA - Canada's "failures" on the development and aid front are endangering the military mission in Afghanistan, says a non-governmental organization that operates in Kandahar province.

Notice at the outset of reporter Mayeda's article that a new framework of geostrategic thawt is employed when he uses quite interestingly the phrase development and aid front, tho only momentarily at the outset, sweeping aside the previous decades of the Cdn Lib policy of parallelism, military was one strait-line task, paralleled by a distinct CIDA-ethos of "humanitarian aid."

But in Mayeda's phrasing, in the new barely-mentioned framework of one war, integrated but fawt on differentiated fronts. Development and aid in what should be Canada's integrated policy for it's mission in Afghanistan, is just one front of an integrated three-pronged war policy.
In fact, the situation is so severe that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) should be relieved of its duties and replaced with a special envoy who will co-ordinate development, aid and counter-narcotics policy, argues Senlis Council.

"When you're on the ground in Kandahar, it's sad to say that despite good intentions, CIDA's efforts are non-existent," Vancouverite Norine MacDonald, the group's founder, said today.

"We are confronted every day by people without food, without water, without medical aid, without shelter."

Senlis is calling for a major overhaul of Canada's strategy that would see its development and aid budget increased to the same level as the military budget.
The logic of this equation depends on the validity of the quantifications and accounting philosophy presupposed in "military" and "development, aid." The almitey dogma of Equality spread beyond its appropriate stretch of meaningfulness.
Currently, Canada spends more than 10 times on military operations than it does on development.
I don't think it's prudent to starve Canadian soldiers to feed starving Aghans. By that I mean, funds alloted to reach toward the hokum ideal of "equality" of dollars, should only gradually be phased in.
"Our military are doing a remarkable job in the most difficult circumstances, but our government is not doing what needs to be done in development, aid or counter-narcotics policies to be sure that we have the support of the Afghan people," said Ms. MacDonald. "Without winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people, we will continue to win the battles but we will not the war."

Almost six years since the United States and its allies invaded the country, people in southern Afghanistan are actually worse off economically, said Ms. MacDonald.

The province is gripped by "extreme poverty" and "growing disenchantment" with NATO forces, she said.

Refugee camps are teeming with starving people, making the camps an "easy recruiting ground" for the Taliban, who pay recruits about $200 per month.

No substantial food aid has been delivered to Kandahar province since March 2006, said Ms. MacDonald.

Meanwhile, mounting civilian casualties are feeding resentment toward Canadian troops and their allies.

According to a Senlis survey of 17,000 Afghan men this spring, more than 80% of men in southern Afghanistan worry about feeding their families.
North America > Canada's Aid2Afghans
Fifty percent [50%!--Owlb]believe the Taliban will defeat the NATO coalition.

Senlis also slammed the U.S.-driven policy to stamp out the opium trade by eradicating poppy crops. Opium production has actually increased while leaving poor farmers without work.

Instead, the group is proposing a "poppy-for-medicine" pilot project that would license Afghan farmers to grow opium for use as morphine or codeine, an approach that has worked in countries such as Turkey and India.
If well-regulated and controlled, doubling as an anti-Taliban program, this Senlis suggestion could solve the problem of illicit trade in opium. To accomplish this bureaucratically, however, would require a system of inspection, accounting, and paperization / digitalization almost unheard of in Afghan culture.
Senlis also recommends that Canada adopt the UN's Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] success criteria for the Afghanistan mission . The goals target progress in areas such as poverty and hunger, universal primary education and gender equality.
Rookmaker Club for geostrategic analysis

Vitally interesting to me, is how the Senlis Council's report adopts UN MDG goalism such as reformational Christian economist Bob Goudzwaard has severely criticized (see the exchange between Dr Bruce Wearne and refWrite's publisher, "Public Justice and Emerging World Society," pointing out how the priority of goals over norms is an evasion of facing the issue of norms. Norms are precedent to goals. Utopian goals can be at first exhilarating, then frustrating, then widely nodded-to but disregarded (like Kyoto Enviro and the G8's goals for African aid), then the whole idea of goals becomes numbing.

Nothing happens ... but Senlis wants to put Canada on record as supporting wannabe DMG goals to turn Kandahar into the very image of a Canadian middle-class suburb.

... Ms. MacDonald reserved her harshest words for CIDA, which has been criticized for the slow pace of its development efforts.
Perhaps whipping up fury because CIDA is insufficiently motivated by artificial and utopian goals such as DMGing Afghan's plite? Are we seeing the emergence of A new development-doctrine orthdoxy? Via Senlis?
"For some reason, CIDA has a structure in historical development that makes it difficult for them to work in a war zone," said Ms. MacDonald.

However, she was vague on exactly how a special development envoy would turn things around. She said the envoy would decide on the strategy after consulting with government, military and aid-agency officials.

A Senate committee on national defence also found no evidence of a "visible" Canadian development effort and called on CIDA to funnel money through the military to deliver aid.

The office of Josee Verner, the minister in charge of CIDA, did not respond to a request for comment.

Despite its concerns, Senlis is not calling for a Canadian withdrawal from Afghanistan. In fact, Canada should not set a timetable for leaving, but instead set clear goals for the mission and not leave until they are accomplished, said Ms. MacDonald.
This military doctrine is remarkably sensible in regard to Canadian foreign policy vis a` vis strong support for the new democracy of Afghanistan--a democracy which the Taliban is trying to bring to its knees. Senlis is more than hot air.
Canada has about 2,500 troops in the Kandahar region in the southern part of Afghanistan. Fifty-five Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have died there since 2002.

Senlis was founded in 2002 and is bankrolled by Swedish philanthropist Stephan Schmidheiny, an early investor in the Swatch Group. It has offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Ottawa and Kabul, as well as field offices in Kandahar and Helmand provinces.
Meantime, one should remember that CIDA has functioned as well as could be expected in pre-tsunami, war-torn Sri Lanka--and serves in that war zone to this very day, a war zone that is at the same time a post-tsunami culture under the invasion of do-gooders, whose massive presence attracted do-good cadres to the point where the famous Tamil city of Batticaloa (Mattapuku), one sees foreign experts swarming en masse that one sees changed the entire complexion of the faces on the streets, suddenly an international conclave, not a Tamil city--if my sources hold, and my facts not too stale.

In any case, Senlis is not reported as having even a single word to say on the demographics that Afghanistan is up against, whether the West is present there or not. It more than reproduces its population, which it cannot feed to begin with (only the opium trade is capable of supplying jobs and incomes aside from aid and taxes ... but taxes of whom?). And in that circumstance, there is no mention of policies to free up entrepreneurial energies and skills in the Afghan population to create businesses, no mention of loans to business small and large, of workable banking and accounting in Afghanistan, of manufacturing goods some of which Canadians could purchase. Afghans need money incomes like everyone else in today's world. Sure, build schools (and pay teachers and professors) and hospitals (and pay nurses and doctors), but where's the tax-base to keep the schools and hospitals and their non-profit employees going?

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