Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Manley's False Choice

The people who defend the Manley panel’s relevance, point to the report’s demand of 1000 NATO troops to assist Canadian forces in Kandahar, as evidence of a hard-nosed approach, evidence the status-quo is unacceptable, moving forward. Yesterday, I pointed out that this demand was more bluster, than actual position, because the panel already had indications that NATO, specifically the Americans, were already on side with this troop increase.

Today, it comes as NO surprise to read the following:
Sources at NATO headquarters in Belgium and in the United States have indicated in recent days that two marine battalions being sent to southern Afghanistan for seven months this spring with specific orders to assist the Canadians are likely to be followed by even more marine battalions in 2009 and 2010. This was possible because the Pentagon has begun to slowly wind down combat operations in Iraq and because the marine leadership has been pressing hard for a bigger role in Afghanistan.

The officer, who did not wish to be identified because he was not authorized to speak about the issue, said U.S. help for the Canadians had been in the works for several months.

“In the works for several months”, which confirms the disingenuous demand. Manley presents the demand, as though Canada’s future participation is contingent, and yet he knew full well that the support was already in the cards. In other words, the threat was a ruse, designed to make it appear as though Canada was hardening its position, Canada would accept nothing less.

The fact that the Manley panel presented the NATO troop increase as an unknown, something to be decided, when the panel knew otherwise, speaks to the fact that this endeavor is nothing more than a public relations exercise. If the panel was honest, it would have acknowledged the reality that plans are already in place to provide Canada with what it requests. Instead, this point is omitted, which projects a false premise, clearly meant for political consumption, rather than an accurate read of the situation. This demand is nothing more than appeasement, present a stance which makes it look like Canada’s continued role is conditional, when really the path is already determined.

Instead of applauding this report, people should be asking why Manley presents a false choice, why he fails to acknowledge that NATO already has plans to do what he “demands”. This disingenuous choice speaks to credibility, speaks to motivations and is intentionally misleading.

UPDATE

Two panel members admit the demand is easily achieved:

In a meeting Wednesday with the National Post editorial board, Mr. Manley suggested it should be relatively easy to muster the additional troops.

"It should be achievable, it should not be that difficult," he said...


Derek Burney, another panel member and former Canadian ambassador, said both the United States and France are likely candidates to provide additional troops. He noted the U.S. last week committed to sending 2,200 marines to southern Afghanistan for seven months.

If just half of those troops were stationed in Kandahar permanently, it would fulfill the panel's proposal, Mr. Burney noted.

Translation, much ado about nothing.

23 comments:

Woman at Mile 0 said...

I agree something's fishy.

northwestern_lad said...

Just like I said yesterday, Manley is Harper's new toy. This just goes to further prove that.

Anonymous said...

This was a waste of Tax payers money, and a huge attempt of manipulation.

thescottross.blogspot.com

bigcitylib said...

Too be fair, news of U.S. reinforcements possibly going to Afgh. has been around for a month or two. Still hasn't happened yet. I'm not sure what I would think, though, if it was announced as a sure thing.

Raphael Alexander said...

I disagree. In subsequent interviews, John Manley has been extremely humbling, suggesting repeatedly that Canadians understand that this is a consensus approach which will require understanding and participation from all the parties. He also spoke about the need for an understanding of the required sacrifice, both in young lives and in our willingness to accept the risks.

I think you might consider your cynical insights into this report speaks more to your bias than to John Manley's. As I mentioned on Wendel's site, the CBC even thought the report was a scathing indictment of Stephen Harper.

Steve V said...

bcl

Gates wants those troops in by April, so it's not a question of if, just when.


raphael

"I think you might consider your cynical insights into this report speaks more to your bias than to John Manley's."

You've already conceded this panel wasn't "blue ribbon" and Manley's views were well known. Just because all the former skeptics seem to have forgotten their history here, and revisionism reigns, doesn't mean anyone should endorse a process, which was stacked in the first place, then misleads with false arguments. Manley knew darn well the Americans were prepared to fill the gaps, instead he makes it a line in the sad argument.

It would seem others, with a bias, want to endorse this plan, because it supports their view of how we move forward. I argue the process has been stunted through this exercise, this panel was meant to sidetrack any meaningful debate by our elected officials.

wilson said...

Manley called for a NATO country to 'partner' with Canada in Kandahar. Canada is the only country to NOT have a partner.

The US will send in marines for the spring offensive, as a temporary measure.
The US is not a NATO country.
Canada is on a NATO mission, UN sanctioned.

What do Libs think about the Manley recommendations for PMSH to:
set up a War Cabinet,
take direct control of the mission and be the first PM or President of a NATO country to do so...

Steve V said...

"The US is not a NATO country."

Are you for real here?

Raphael Alexander said...

Manley knew darn well the Americans were prepared to fill the gaps, instead he makes it a line in the sad argument.

Do you not find it vexing and personally embarrassing that the Liberal action plan will be "let the Americans fill in the gaps"?

I'm not endorsing the Manley report because I have a bias; quite the opposite. Unlike the partisan shilling against Harper, I believe in the genuine success of a mission critical to the security of the Middle East. All Manley is asking is that we weigh that concern against our expectation of losses. To expect the Americans to pick up the slack is galling, since the Liberals have no end to rhetorical damning of American hegemonic neo-imperialist motives behind everything.

PMSteve said...

Manley yes, but I like it too

The Report of the Independent Panel on Canada’s Future Role in Afghanistan is a triumph. It is a Triumph of the Will of the New Canadian government.

But more importantly, it is a Triumph of the Spirit of Canadian bi-partisanship - a Liberal and Conservatives coming together to defeat a common enemy in time of war.

Not the Taliban but another fanatical cult that is a greater threat to the Canadian military -- the pacifist cabal of Liberal leader Quasimodo, Bloc Cheesehead and the Moustache that Roared. When will these fanatics wake up to the fact that sometimes you just have to kill poor people to help them, it's the only humane thing to do.

...Some terrorist-huggers and pacifistopaths are trying to make a big deal of how GI Johnny plagiarized his Chair's Forward to the report from an article he wrote in Policy Options last October. How absurd, how irrelevant can you get. Even closet wikipedophiles should know that the definition of plagiarism is stealing someone ELSE's work -- it is impossible to plagiarize yourself.

Secondly, these mind-numbing morons obviously have no idea how democratic governments work. The whole point of an "Independent Panel" on policy options is to produce a report with predetermined conclusions. What better way than to have an pre-existing article from the Panel Chair that serves an introduction to the required report.

...read more at www.notstephenharper.com

Steve V said...

You mis-characterize the Liberal position, which leaves room for troops to train and for re-construction. That is a path, it is not abandonment, it is a strategy. Manley asks others to "fill in the gaps", so I'm not sure what your point is here.

You also acknowledge what you want to happen in Afghanistan, which is why you are willing to accept this panel's conclusions. I would counter, that a flawed process can't produce credible conclusions. Anyone who uses this forum as a "guide" is guilty of legitimizing something which was political to start with, a tool to mitigate any electoral losses for the government. Nothing more.

Steve V said...

pmsteve

Someone with pre-determined conclusions, endorses a process with pre-determined conclusions, that just so happen to mirror his own view. Really quite shocking that you view this as a "triumph", but also quite telling that it is the government who "triumphed", because that essentially proves my point- this was an exercise to validate Harper's desires.

Raphael Alexander said...

You also acknowledge what you want to happen in Afghanistan, which is why you are willing to accept this panel's conclusions. I would counter, that a flawed process can't produce credible conclusions.

Steve, we had a process that wasn't perfect. You may call it "flawed". It wasn't the most ideal one, but it has nothing to do with getting the Conservatives reelected. Stephen Harper doesn't need Afghanistan to soundly thump Stephane Dion right now.

What's important is to give Afghanistan a chance to bear out some form of meaningful gains, and the Manley report addresses that, whether plagiarized or not, reiterated or not. There are points which have been made all along, but at least now they've been thrust into the fore of the Canadian consciousness.

I'd argue that the reasons for staying are more compelling than the nonsensical reasons given by the NDP, which are based primarily on politically-motivated anti-war segments of the population, and a strange kind of anti-American hatred which taints the mission. And then they rather disingenuously say the Americans can pick up the slack. Before long they'll be accusing the Americans of being an occupying imperialist force, something they themselves advocated through Canadian withdrawal.

Raphael Alexander said...

Experts commend 'balanced' findings From the National Post

Panel's findings step up pressure on Tories, opposition

Steve V said...

"It wasn't the most ideal one, but it has nothing to do with getting the Conservatives reelected. Stephen Harper doesn't need Afghanistan to soundly thump Stephane Dion right now."

That is where we differ. Remember when Harper changed his go it alone perspective, bragging he would fight an election over the mission, to let's have a "consensus". People rightly concluded that this shift represented a political calculation, that Harper could well be harmed by taking a unilateral approach. There is no doubt in mind that this panel was created to take Afghanistan off the table, allow Harper to defer to something other than his own view. The panel was meant to neutralize, plain and simple.

There were two issues, identified by Conservatives as well I might add, that were considered problem spots for the government- the environment and Afghanistan. I view this panel, the same way I view the billions the government started throwing around on the environment, a desire to eliminate the problems.

Steve V said...

raphael

One of those links comes with applause for recognizing that diplomatic pressure must be exerted on Pakistan, to stop the flow of insurgents going back and forth. To that I say DUH, I didn't need Manley to tell me that, and if our government did- god help us all!

Anonymous said...

I was just watching CNN where Barbara Starr, their Pentagon correspondent, was reporting that the Pentagon are considering sending in 100's of troops into Pakistan to help the Pakistani army on security fighting/issues.

Sound familiar anyone? Someone said NATO forces should work with Pakistani forces........Dion - may have been right after all.

The Grumpy Voter said...

Partisanship has taken priority over foreign policy and ultimately, soldiers lives. There is no mushy middle of the road or politically safe way through the Afghanistan morass. (Okay staunch defenders of both Mr. Dion and Mr. Harper... this is where you blame each other as being the source of partisanship cuz, you doods are sooo fookin predictable it makes me want to puke.)

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I go back a few years. I remember when LBJ kept asking Congress for just another few thousand troops for Vietnam because another X,000 would be all they'd need to turn the corner. We all know how well the escalations worked. So poorly, that the very term "escalation" is now avoided by those who want to boost efforts with "surges" and "additional troop strength."

While we in Canada may not view the conflict as a clash of civilizations, many people do -- especially, the enemy. The great Satan is the US and if we are planning on them being the 1000 magic bullets, we're setting ourselves up for trouble. The Merkans made a mess of EyeRack with over reliance on air power and a failure to even attempt to win hearts and minds. Heaven help us if we get them beside us in Kandahar.

The Canadians side-by-side with the crusadin' Merkans plays right into the war on Islam mantra.

JB

Mushroom said...

Steve,

If you see the response of Rae and Goodale to the Manley report, it seems that the Grits are willing to support Harper over this issue. This depends if the Cons will politicize this issue.

My sense is that Harper would be willing to let the voters decide. Unfortunately, some Liberal hawks would not mind seeing Dion lose and the mission continuing with Harper at the helm and a different Grit leader.

Raphael Alexander said...

My sense is that Harper would be willing to let the voters decide. Unfortunately, some Liberal hawks would not mind seeing Dion lose and the mission continuing with Harper at the helm and a different Grit leader.

That would be the best of all worlds, of course, although it would be a shame to see Dion go. He's been an entertainment.

Erik said...

"I agree something's fishy."

How much I enjoy understatements.

Carter said...

Just in case you bozos don't know this. The US is one of the founding members of NATO.