Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Spinning Our Wheels

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?

6 comments:

Canadian Tar Heel said...

Hi,

If you admit that the security situation will not improve, then you essentially admit that we are failing.

I'm not sure about this contention. Perhaps, this statement was summarizing Harper's logic. Because, I thought that security was only one issue among others for liberals. For example, rebuilding the economy and fostering democracy at the same time as providing security were liberal objectives. This is not necessarily a "one-step-at-a-time" process.

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.

I completely agree.

Steve V said...

Tarheel

Harper, O'Connor and Hillier have all said you can't do reconstruction on a large scale until you have security. If you admit we can't have security in the next year, then where does that leave us? The Conservatives talk as though it is "one-step-at-a-time", with everything else predicated on security.

Anonymous said...

Bush today said that even if with an increase in US forces in Iraq the next year will bring more painful losses and little or no probable improvement.

Happer says nothing is likely to improve in Afghanistan over the next year.

Both are still eager to throw blood and treasure into the sand with no particular re-examination of priorities or strategies.

Why must Canada waste the lives and health of our armed services on a mission (uniquely appropriate word that) with precisely zero chance of success as currently defined?

If what we really, really want to do is foster democracy, rebuild the economy, yadda yadda, why can't we at least be honest with ourselves about how long it's going to take and how much it's going to cost or what the losses to the services will be?

Why must it be based on this on going series of dissimulations and empty platitudes?

If we don't have a straightforward, honest national conversation about the realities we're facing in taking this on we're going to fracture. It's a certainty.

Dana said...

FYI, that last post from anonymous was me losing patience with the new blogger's foolishness about log ins.

Steve V said...

dana

Do you mean having to constantly re-do your password and such?

Dana said...

No, Steve, not so much de-do my password as re-instigate the log in procedure from scratch.

If I log in at TGB and then go from there everything seems fine but if I'm not logged there I'm stuck in a kind of netherworld.

Of course, that prompted me to realize that I'm not logged in over there so I just went over and did it so now we'll see if that helped this.