Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Paul Watson's Article About Canadian Aid to Afghanistan

The Toronto Star has been running some lengthy articles by Paul Watson about Canada's aid to Afghanistan. I almost didn't read them. We went in there in 2001 and now it's 2012. I've been complaining about this atrocity for over a decade. It doesn't come as any surprise to me that our aid was mostly wasted and that the projects suffered due to corruption or mismanagement. But then I decided that since someone has gone to the trouble of looking into what we spent all that money on, the humanitarian achievements paid for with Canadian and Afghan blood, then I really should take the time to read about it.

"How millions in Canadian aid has failed to bring justice to Afghanistan" shows how many Afghan peasants are turning to tribal or Taliban justice out of frustration with the incompetence, corruption or merely the slowness of the Afghan government's official justice system.

"Failure at Dahla Dam" documents the frittering away of aid dollars on security and contractors' perks rather than on fixing or improving the 60-year old Dahla Dam in Kandahar. Oh yeah, the corruption-plagued SNC-Lavalin had the contract.

"Shoddy school buildings and sagging morale" paints another dismal failure of negligence, corruption and waste:
Kandahar City’s Mohmood Tarzee High School was built with Canadian money from the ground up, and when the first, fresh-faced students rushed through its classroom doors a little more than two years ago, it seemed a new era of great promise had dawned.
Nobody knew, apart from the shady contractors, that the brand-new building was doomed. The weak foundations quickly began to shift. The walls were cleaved by deep cracks. The roof leaked.
So much water poured through the ceiling during winter rains that the top floor is closed. The plywood barricades blocking the stairwells are grey with huge water stains.
The 6,000 students who go to class in morning and afternoon shifts walk along floors with large holes cratered so deep in the crumbling concrete that it looks like someone tossed grenades.
Headmaster Haji Abdullah Nazary fears his school is going to collapse on his students some day.
Nazary taught at the school for five years before taking over as headmaster five months ago and had never seen a Canadian visitor before I arrived.
Quite a few of the comments below these stories are depressing reading. The jist of them is that what else could be expected in a shit-hole like Afghanistan, full of ungrateful, inferior monkey-people. They often add (with some merit) that our own schools or our own First Nations are in need of government assistance so why are we spending money (and wastefully) overseas. For the most part though, these comments all miss the point that we're talking about over a decade of failure, billions of dollars, Canada's international reputation as a law-abiding, human rights respecting country and a lot of spilled blood. The fact that these projects (1/10th of our spending but 90% of our elites' "moral" argument) was so lazily administered, is an outrage.


The Mound of Sound said...

We rendered everything - our dead, our wounded, our aid - utterly pointless when we installed Karzai and his fellow warlords to govern Afghanistan. We entrenched warlordism and tribalism, guaranteeing our efforts would be futile. Failure was pre-ordained and brought to fulfillment by hopelessly incompetent political and military leaders gaming the war, and the dead and wounded, for their personal advancement.

Beijing York said...

All under the ^NOT watchful eye of Bev Oda.

thwap said...


That's about it. I was prepared to eat crow about Afghanistan, but it didn't happen.

thwap said...

Beijing York,

Good point.

Owen Gray said...

The whole government raison d'etre has shifted to "for profit." The easiest way to increase profits is to cut costs.

Afghanistan has been a laboratory for that economic model. And now we see the results.

thwap said...

OOps! Owen, I answered you on a later post!