A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Taliban Support on the Rise?

Much can be said about this.

I find it quite hard to believe that 27% of Afghans support the Taliban. First off, its important to note that this survey was of Afghan men and not of the general population. I would expect that Afghan women would have a somewhat negative view of their former oppressors, a factor which would clearly influence the Taliban's 'approval rating,' as this poll attempted to gauge. The flawed methodology used in this report alone makes me very distrustful of this poll's conclusions.

Of course, the media are already reporting that it's the general population that this poll has surveyed, which is incorrect. There's a lot to be said for gross negligence on the part of the MSM here, but then again most of them aren't very wise when it comes to statistics or science.

That being said, the recommendations made by this report make some sense, even if some of them (i.e. avoiding civilian casualties as much as possible) are quite obviously already being followed. Channeling the poppy crop into legitimate pharmaceutical uses as opposed to straight-out erdatication of the crop is an interesting idea, but whether or not it is possible or a practical idea remains to be seen. However, poverty amongst the Afghan population will only lead to anger and desperation - things the Taliban need in order to thrive. Hopefully, our troops will prevent that from ever happening.

EDIT: This post from Daimnation! in August of last year may sow some doubt about the intentions of the Senlis council, which authored the report. The Senlis Council has also been criticized in the past for violating the Afghan constitution by "tacitly encouraging poppy growth."

The Canadian military has also been critical of the think tank in the past:

"It's fine for this think-tank to come up with these conclusions. However, our people on the ground see things otherwise," O'Connor told CBC Newsworld.

Speaking from the Canadian base in Kandahar, Canadian Forces Lt.-Col. Ian Hope dismissed the report as anti-American and being driven by a "political agenda."

The report mistakenly suggests Canada's mission is being driven by the wishes of a foreign country, he said.

"If we're responsible to anybody, it's the Afghan government," said Hope. (source)

Does the Senlis Council have an alterior motive?



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