Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Canadian War Artist in Khandahar

(Originally published 10/1/09 12:34)

"The War is over. All that's left is withdraw troops; which is after all, the only way out of a war." *

Karen Bailey was asked by the medical corp. at Khandahar through the "Canadian Forces Artist Program" to come paint their phenomenal work. In an interview with Rita Celli on CBC's Ontario Today, Bailey paints a picture with words that tell me what kind of hell it is over there.

I paraphrase:

"..the first thing that struck me was that I expected to see Canadians being treated... ..but it was all Afghani, and children too"; and later, "It's a triage hospital... ".

Canadian Forces are not amused. Karen Bailey's depictions of civilian death helps to illustrate the reason for the Taliban's building momentum in the last year - civilian deaths. Afghans have no choice, they're caught in the middle and the Taliban are always near - as they are the sons fathers and brothers of the dead.

Tim Hortons III
Acrylic and silver leaf on canvas, 30 " x 30 ", 2009

"Blast Victims" in progress
Acrylic on canvas, 60" x 90", 2008-09

Images @

Bailey must have been in-country during the recent ISAF offensive. As is usual in war, the civilians are taking the brunt of it. This is ugly, by many accounts - including the British High Command, the Karsai government itself and General Stanley McChrystal, the top American General in the field - we have by now, or are on the brink of losing the hearts and minds of the Afghani.

From The Times Online September 21, 2009

"Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months)... risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible," writes General McChrystal.

For most Afghani this has become a war of National Liberation. The best strategy now is withdraw respectfully - leaving aid to no side; and be ready with aid and 'assistance' when a new Taliban inclusive coalition government re-appears.

The War is over. All that's left is withdraw troops; which is after all - the only way out of war (drawn from, "The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara").


FilterBlogs: Civilian Casualties Wiki Tries To Document Afghan War
You should go..

Wikipedia: Civilian casualties of the War in Afghanistan (2001–present)

"Ontario Today" with Rita Celli Thursday October 01, 2009 - War Artist Snubbed.
(CBC 30 Day Archive - until October 31, 2009. Runtime 8:33 - RealPlayer)


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