The new Polish military adventure in Afghanistan will cost the cash strapped government 100 million dollars.
Leader of Samoobrona, Andzrej Lepper (photo above with rather large tooth pick), is scornful of the Afghan mission. After PM Jaroslaw Kaczynski came back from Washington following his very short meeting with George W. Bush, Lepper commented: “That’s the most expensive five minutes Kaczynski ever spent.”
"Instead of helping Polish pensioners, teachers and nurses, we are sending our soldiers to a war. It's a scandal," Lepper said. "Poland cannot afford such a commitment".
Other opposition parties have come out against the deployment. SLD leader Wojciech Olejniczak said Friday that Poland already had troops in Iraq and Lebanon and could not afford to "dispose of its forces with such ease. Poland is not a military power. We can’t afford this."
Another rural based party, PSL agrees. In fact, all the 'leftist' parties here are against.
A spokesman for Kaczynski's party, Law and Justice, said that the 1000 troop offer by Poland was decided “way before Kaczynski went to the US.” Poland initially offered 500 more troops but has since doubled the offer. The NATO conference in Warsaw last weekend was probably when the offer was made.
Poland offered that amount in the hope that other countries would start coming forward and offering more too. But so far, so little.
Afghanistan and the 2007 Budget Bill
At a time when Lepper and LPR’s Roman Giertych are pushing for more to be spent on agriculture and education – their two respective ministries – it must be galling to see 300 million zloty being spent on the Afghan adventure at the drop of a hand grenade.
Lepper has repeatedly threatened to leave the coalition if he does not get increases in public spending.
The government has said that government debt in the 2007 Budget must be capped at 30 billion zloty. Many economists think this is too high a figure as it is.
Others, like lowly paid teachers, medics, police... scratch their heads and wonder just what Poland gets from all this posing in war zones? No more money is being offered to the education and agriculture ministries but the defense ministry gets another 300 million zloty, to be spent on something with little tangible benefit for Poland.
Many think Afghanistan is a dangerous diversion.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Posted by beatroot at 9/16/2006