I have read several MSM articles on the NDP's decision to forcefully back an Afghanistan withdrawal. Several musings on how, politically, the NDP is now the only "anti-war" party, with the Liberals chronically divided. The suggestion seems to be that clarity is advantageous, while any sense of discord is a liability. The Conservatives are staunch supporters, the NDP are now equally rigid opposers, while the Liberals don't know where to turn. In my mind, this condition actually benefits the Liberals if it is framed properly.
I accept the premise that most Canadians are conflicted on Afghanistan. There is a general sense that this is not Iraq, there are in fact logical and moral arguments that support our participation. However, there is also a growing belief that the mission is unbalanced, directionless and trending badly. This tension makes the question a complicated one that needs to be debated. It would seem that the only place for this debate is now squarely within the Liberal Party. The other parties can call it division, as though a weakness, but the Liberals would now seem the only party able to navigate the complexities.
I think most Canadians would fall somewhere in between the idea of immediate withdrawal and open-ended commitment. The moderate view has one home, the Liberal Party. If the question becomes which party best reflects the view of average Canadians, then the idea of division becomes desirable. I don't think this mission is cut and dry for most people, why shouldn't a political party reflect that internal debate? On this issue, rigidity is tantamount to marginalization, whereas pragmatism allows for movement. If the Liberals need to stake out a dominate policy on Afghanistan, I think politically Kennedy's has the most to offer. A firm stance, which allows for differing paths, contingent on the circumstances. The Kennedy position has the room required that best reflects the debate in the hinterlands. Replace "division" with "debate" and the Liberals come off fine.