NDP Leader Jack Layton says Canada should pull its troops out of Afghanistan by February...
It has no clear goals, no exit strategy and no criteria to judge success, he said at a news conference Thursday.
"This is not the right mission for Canada," he said. "There is no balance. In particular, it lacks a comprehensive rebuilding plan and commensurate development assistance."
The focus in Afghanistan has changed from reconstruction to open war and Canada should have no part of it, he said.
"Stephen Harper wants to take Canada in the wrong direction."
The timing of Layton's new position is curious. You could speculate Layton is trying to outflank the Liberals from the left. While Kennedy demands a re-focus, Layton advocates a immediate withdrawal- period. February seems somewhat unrealistic, given our commitments and the logistics involved. Layton's call could well provide some cover for Kennedy's position, in that his view now looks relatively benign. The suggestion of an eventual pullout, predicated on conditions, is far different from declaring the mission lost and immediately leaving. I tend to see Kennedy's view as prudent, while Layton seems to allow for the "cut and run" criticism. Layton's new position smells of grandstanding and political gamesmanship (i'm shocked!), but it is useful in that it changes the tone of the debate.
It looks as if Canadian forces are planning a Fallujah like offensive in Afghanistan. Telling villagers to evacuate translates into big munitions, razed towns and widespread destruction.