Dion, and the Liberals, are starting to take some flak for their Afghanistan position. The Liberals are opportunistic, short-sighted, hypocritical, partisan, putting into question Dion’s reputation as principled. The Conservatives have attempted to undercut the Liberal position, with the vague claim of the 2009 consultations with NATO. If the Liberals are too remain relevant on Afghanistan, beyond typical sniping, then the negativity has to be accompanied with an alternative.
It is fine to say the combat operation with cease after 2009, but what is the plan beyond 2009? If you are demanding the government tell NATO about our plans, because 2009 is fast approaching, isn’t it also incumbent upon you to inform them of our detailed approach beyond 2009? The same logic applies, if you use Dion’s arguments for informing our allies.
We have heard talk about continued re-construction and training, but those are easy words, that really lack much substance. The Liberals need to tell Canadians how they see the post 2009 era, what are our goals, what are the troop levels, what is the military role, if any…. For instance, would the Liberals favor putting Canadian troops on the eastern border to help stop the flow of foreign militants and supplies? Would our troops exclusively deal in training of the Afghan army?
The Liberals need to offer specifics, a coherent plan that gives Canadians a vision, beyond “no combat role after 2009”. Such a plan would silence much of the opportunistic criticism, and in my view make the Liberals a serious alternative to the Conservatives, rather than merely snipping from the sidelines, which is dangerous politically.