Afganisthan and the Dutch politics

Current hot topic in Dutch politics is whether we should send troops to Afghanistan. As you might have read in the newspapers, the USA has requested NATO to take over some of its activities in that region as its resources are stretched.
The Netherlands, as a loyal member of NATO, has been asked whether we could send some 1.100 men to the province of Uruzgan. The Dutch government has more or less said yes, only after getting reassurances from other the NATO partners like the UK and Canada that they would assist if our troops would get into trouble. This is of course a two way agreement. The UK and Canada are also providing troops in that region and want assistance from the Dutch if they get into trouble.
The topic became hot when the Dutch government didn’t say; yes we as a member of NATO we help, but said; yes – maybe, but we first have to ask our parliament. Dutch government is a coalition of three political parties; Liberals, Christian Democrats and some other Democratic fraction. Representatives of that last party immediately said they would block that request if the question came before Parliament. So if Parliament says ‘No’, the only thing the Government can do is go home. A crisis is imminent.
By the way, we are already in Afghanistan.

Jan Marijnissen

This crisis is of course wonderful material for the opposition in Parliament. One of the opposition members, Jan Marijnissen, writes on his blog (link);

On the one hand you would like to free the Afghan people from the Americans. They are not the best PR representatives of the Western world. On the other hand, the Americans were the ones who invaded Afghanistan. The same America who has squandered its respect it had with the Afghan people. America which now has such a high deficit that even they will have to cut cost. The country is not very interesting for George Bush as there are no valuable natural resources in Afghanistan. It would be very convenient if we were going to pay for it. Especially if we were going to pay it with our lives as George cannot afford additional deaths anymore’.

He goes on to say that the Americans should leave and that the EU should support Afghanistan financially and ‘keep an eye on it’ but we should send any troops.

I don’t know where he get’s it from! Just the idea; if you support them financially all problems will go away. Especially as we know how unstable Afghanistan is. Furthermore, after 9-11 the NATO agreed to support the US as it was it was an attack on one of the members of NATO. I agree that was in 2001 and it 2006 now. But we also promised the Afghans to rebuild there country and bring them democracy as it was the best medicine against oppression and terrorism. We said that it would take at least ten years before we would see some results. We are five years further and the country is still not stable enough and far from rebuild. So please, let us send troops, engineers, medical people, teachers, materials and other stuff they need.

Links here; link1, link2, link3.