Still, even that is far from a fighting force capable of replacing the combat punch of the heavily armed Canadian battle group with its tanks, artillery, night-fighting ability and tight integration with helicopter gunships and fighter-bombers capable of raining death from the skies. And it's far short of the 3,000 combat-ready Afghan soldiers that Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor predicted would be operational early next spring.
When you look at the raw numbers, and see that the Afghan army will essentially triple its independent ability (500- 1400) by next spring, that translates into progress, period. The article includes glowing reviews and ample indication of real potential. However, underlying all that positivity is the stench of a standing army that is half of what O'Connor predicted. In other words, by over-stating the truth, O'Connor detracts from a potential "feel good" storyline.
When O'Connor first made his comments, you could just sense that they would come back to bite him. Smoke and mirrors, overly optimistic assessments, will never fly in the long term, as evidenced OVER and OVER stateside. O'Connor set a bar that was destined for failure, his self-inflicted framing completely irresponsible. In effect, O'Connor sabotaged the optics of progress. Truth isn't the enemy, particularly when you actually have something concrete to show.