Harper is conducting his year-end interviews with selected media. The one interesting tidbit that came out of his interview with Canwest, Harper acknowledged that the security situation in Afghanistan wouldn't improve next year. Harper also said he hoped to continue the mission beyond 2009, inferring it was unrealistic to demand much progress in the nearterm. The Conservative argument has consistently said that massive re-construction can't take place in the south until the security situation is resolved. So, in essence, Harper tells Canadians that our forces will largely spin our wheels for the next two years, maintaining the status quo.
Important to remember, the mission in Afghanistan is already five years old. Harper casually adds a couple more years to the equation, with no sense of progress. This admission begs the question- what exactly is the timeframe here? Is there an endgame, and if so can you please articulate it? If you admit that the security situation will not improve, then you essentially admit that we are failing. Fast forward to December 20th, 2007, what will have changed? If the answer is nothing, as Harper admits, then clearly it is time for a serious re-examination of our strategy.
The problem I have with the Conservative position, isn't the support for the mission, it's the single-minded rhetoric that doesn't seem to understand the fluidity. If you aren't making progress, then "stay the course" seems a strange ideal to embrace. Harper calmly says there will be no improvement in the coming year, but offers nothing new. On any other issue, is standing still considered acceptable?