Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sounds Like

A collection of sound bites on Afghanistan....then and now.

"What will happen if we withdraw now…"

Soviets in 1980s

"Recently one can often hear …that we 'betrayed' [our] Afghan friends [by withdrawing from Afghanistan] and that, after the withdrawal of Soviet troops, we are not interested anymore in the fate of Afghanistan." (Sovetskaya Rossiaya, 14 April 1990)

"Continuation, and even escalation, of fighting after the withdrawal of Soviet troops …" (Minister of Defence of Afghanistan general Sh. Tanai, Izvestiya, 8 September 1989)

Canadians now

"…pulling troops out of Kandahar would simply open the door to another Taliban takeover. There is also a real danger that the return of the Taliban would lead to civil war..." "unwillingness to grapple with the consequences of withdrawing troops seems common, if not endemic, among those opposing the war…. In the face of the Taliban's history of cruelty, MacDonald argued that withdrawing troops would be a betrayal. …But before raising the call to withdraw troops, we might consider those whose lives have unquestionably improved because of the security provided by international forces. " (This Magazine (Canada), March/April 2007)

Insurgency was/is called…

Soviets in 1980s

"hardened murderers" (Pravda, 13 December 1985)

"… scumbags" (Soviet soldiers and a nurse quoted in Izvestiya, 23 May 1988)

Canadians now

"detestable murderers and scumbags"
(Chief of Defence Staff General Rick Hillier, Globe and Mail, 13 April 2007. Also see "Helping Afghanistan will protect Canada, says top soldier", CBC News, 15 July 2005)

"There is no comparison"

Soviets in 1980s

"If one agrees with people who…are ready to declare Soviet people to be 'occupants' and compare their [i.e. Soviet people's] actions to what Americans were doing in Vietnam, or to what British colonizers were doing in the same Afghanistan, then one has to admit that those 'occupants' were behaving in a very strange ways. They were delivering food and fuel, clothing, agricultural machinery and industrial equipment to the [Afghan] population; they were treating the sick [Afghans], teaching in the educational institutions, building residential houses, supporting work of the vital industrial plants, electric stations and irrigation structures…" (Zhitnuhin & Likoshin, 1990, p.169).

"I would not draw any analogies between our actions in Afghanistan and the American actions in Vietnam. There was no similarity in objectives or methods, nor were the results similar" (Soviet general Varennikov, CNN interview)

Canadians now

"We are not an 'occupation force' as some even here in Canada have stated, but backers of the legitimate Afghanistan government, which was voted in by a huge majority of Afghans who wanted their first democracy in 25 years. (column by Sgt. Russell Strong, CBC News Viewpoint, CBCNEWS, 13 September 2006)

"…comparison of current international efforts [in Afghanistan] and the Soviet invasion in 1979 is totally without merit… To compare today's mission [of Canadian forces in Afghanistan] to the invasion of a totalitarian [Soviet] regime is beyond comprehension" (op-ed "Unfair comparison" by Col. (ret.) M. Capstick, Globe and Mail, 2 December 2006)

On "fighting evil"

Soviets in 1980s

"…we heard shots. Run towards the village. Found three dead on the road: man, woman and a child. They we probably on the way home. This is the evil. That's why we are here - not to allow such [things] to happen." (from the journal of the Soviet soldier in Afghanistan, quoted in Komsomolskaya Pravda, 26 July 1986)

Canadians now

"We believe that we are engaged in a war on terrorism, a war on evil people, just as we were during the First and Second World Wars. We believe that these people have to be brought to justice," (Jay Hill quoted in Toronto Star, 20 April 2007)

On "our troops in Afghanistan"

Soviets 1980s

"We are giving our young years and our lives for peace"(from the journal of the Soviet soldier in Afghanistan, private Yuri Pahomov, published in Komsomolskaya Pravda, 15 December 1989)

"…my son …died a hero" (mother of the Soviet soldier killed in Afghanistan quoted in Krasnaya Zvezda, 17 March 1988)

"[he] died a hero …shielding his comrades from death" (Komsomolskaya Pravda, 25 April 1987)

"…sincere belief in the high meaning of their [Afghanistan] mission." (book "Star over Kabul-city", 1990, Moscow, p.171).

Canadians now

"He died a hero" (friend of Canadian Soldier killed in Afghanistan quoted in, Apr 19, 2007)

"[he]… died a hero, he died protecting his fellow comrades" ( message by Jason Carey on the death of Pte. Costall, 3/30/2006, DND website)

"…unwavering belief in the Afghanistan mission" (Toronto Star, 17 December 2006)





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