2003 December 04 Thursday
US Has More Troops In Afghanistan Than NATO Partners

The United States has over twice as many soldiers in Afghanistan as the rest of its NATO partners combined.

Since August, NATO has had more than 5,000 peacekeeping troops in the capital, Kabul, while some 11,000 American troops mop up remnants of the Taliban and search for Al Qaeda leaders. The US needs its forces in Iraq and wants Europe to create a larger military presence in Afghanistan, especially as Taliban forces appear to be sabotaging aid and election work.

Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture? NATO has extended the reach of the national government of Afghanistan all the way to the outskirts of Kabul. What about the rest of the country?

Canada's cited reason for not sending troops to Iraq was that Canada was committed to a role in Afghanistan and had no troops to spare. But Canada says it is tapped out just supplying 2000 troops for one whole year.

The Canadian military is committed to two six-month rotations of 2,000 troops in the capital of Kabul as a stabilization force.

The Canadian government is trying to find another NATO country to take its place.

Defence minister John McCallum challenged his NATO counterparts yesterday to find a replacement force for Canada’s troops in Afghanistan when their mission ends in August after noticing little movement among other members of the alliance to take over.

The Canadian soldiers have to get back home before their military collapses.

The report by the influential School of Policy Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, said Canada's armed forces will face "massive obsolescence" within two years.

Canada has a very small military.

According to the university, the Canadian armed forces needs an additional 4000 soldiers, a little less than 10 percent of its current manpower, in order to be fully functional.

The US ought to pull its forces out of the Balkans and force the European countries to deal with it. If the Europeans are going to take so little of a role outside of Europe then the US ought to at least force them to deal with problems in their own backyards.

Update: Out-going NATO Secretary-General George Robertson thinks NATO ought to be able to deploy more troops abroad.

To Robertson, it is unacceptable that an organization with 1.4 million men and women in uniform and more than 1 million reservists feels overstretched with only 55,000 troops currently deployed around the globe.

But where are these troops deployed? With 5,000 in Afghanistan that leaves another 50,000 still to count. Some of them are probably the British, Polish, Spanish, and Italian troops in Iraq. But that still comes nowhere close to adding up to 50,000. Probably there are more in the Balkans than Iraq. Are there any NATO troops anywhere else? Perhaps European naval deployments around the Horn of Africa are counted in the total.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 December 04 04:11 PM  Chaotic Regions

Bob Badour said at December 4, 2003 5:40 PM:

I seem to recall that Canada's public sector accounts for 55% of the GDP. (Something from the Fraser Institute, if I recall correctly.)

Think about that: 55% of Canada's economy goes to the monopoly on violence, and Canada cannot mount a credible defense of Ottawa let alone Canada.

Does anyone else find the immorality of those facts repugnant?

(Please, Someone--Anyone! Help me escape the clutches of this Evil Dominion!)

Alene said at December 4, 2003 5:54 PM:

Canada's lack of military capability is an ongoing theme for Newfoundlander Paul Jane(accent acute on the 'e'). This link should go to category "militaria".

James Jones said at December 4, 2003 6:55 PM:

So, "Canadian" equals "defense free rider." What a sad situation for a nation to be in when it has a proud military heritage like Canada's. Nations that are unwilling to take care of themselves will be taken care of by others, sooner or later.

Looks like a good time to push the northern phase of North American unification.


Trent Telenko said at December 5, 2003 3:24 PM:

Canada would be beaten in a straight up fight with the N.Y. State National Guard.

At Canada's current rate of decline, in 7 years the N.Y. City police department could pull off the same trick.

Bob Badour said at December 5, 2003 6:20 PM:


I found Jané's blog interesting, but it does not address the important part of the equation. Yes, we spend a pitiful amount on defense, but we spend 55% of our economy on the monopoly on violence.

If we don't spend that 55% of our economy to use violence against our enemies, who do we use the violence against? Think about it, and let me know if you find the answer as horrifying as I do.

P.S. I have a nit to pick with one of Jané's comments. Rather than slingshots, the sniper rifles the Princess Pats brought to Afghanistan as light arms were the only piece of impressive equipment Canada supplied.

James & Trent,

Yes, Canada fails to pull its weight, but more importantly: What do you think about having an Evil Dominion on your northern border?

Trent Telenko said at December 10, 2003 3:34 PM:


There likely not be a Canada in 15 years.

Odds are that Canada will break up either over Quebec or over Ontario's alienation of the Western provinces by then.

Bob Badour said at December 14, 2003 9:37 AM:

Thanks for your response, Trent. I'll have to update my position on Canada.

(Please, Someone--Anyone! Help me escape the clutches of this Evil Dominion before it collapses into anarchy and ethnic violence!)

politcentr said at April 25, 2004 3:53 PM:

Imagine in 15 years from now :

(voiceover with a strong Ukrainian accent)

--Vnimanije, vnimanije! Govorit Pekin! (Chinese Capital) Govorit Pekin!
Segodnya nashi pobedonosnyje (victorious) vojska pod komandovaniem Generala Joe Meyersa vstupili v ( voice getting louder, stronger, changes into scream) stolicu Egypta - gorod Kair!!! Urrah! Urrah! Urraahh!!!

I just wonder about that scary-sounding thing -typepad.com/trackback ...
Is it tracking me back, and if so, do I have some protection, or is it too late and I'trapped forever in this maze of paranoia, propaganda, and greedy stupidity of today's media moguls and oil barons.? Help me!

http://www.geocities.com/dialektomat/speeches.htm - read what President Bush shares about his sensations. Another lost soul ...

Alex Rupert said at February 19, 2008 5:21 PM:

I believe that above all else, Canada is not at war with Afghanistan. I am a Canadian citizen and it seems clear to me that i have a clearer grip on politics and warfare than you all do. We are peace keepers and have over the past 20 years, donated more than 7oo million dollars to the middle east alone. We originally had 15,000 troops in Afghanistan, merely to stabilize the country, and had a plan to reduce that number over the years. I belive that in this completely useless and pitiful attempt at glory by George Bush, Canadians are doing more than "pulling their weight". And now in 2008, it seems that the Canadian economy is coming out on top of things and that America is falling into recession. Go ahead try to take us over. But i know that we'll put up more of a fight than you all may think.

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