the independent commission created by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to advise his government on the way forward is not expected to recommend any significant scaling back of Canada's commitment of 2,500 soldiers in the Kandahar region, or any profound change in their current marching orders.
It is expected that the panel's findings, to be released as early as Tuesday, will emphasize the need for Canada to continue contributing to the training of Afghan national army and police personnel.
Many people who have contributed submissions to the panel say they came away with the impression that Mr. Manley and his fellow members are essentially in favour of staying the course in Afghanistan. That is, continuing combat operations while simultaneously training Afghan security forces toward the mutually agreed NATO endgame of withdrawal at a later, undetermined, date.
The media has seemingly forgot the rules here, calling this an "independent" panel, we "eagerly await" the findings. This panel was never independent, what it was a pre-ordained, public relations exercise, that would solicit the desired response. Three of the five members are Tories, the token Liberal well known for his support of the mission. To now characterize this group as "independent", giving the government political cover, is a combination of revision and media incompetence.
I wrote on Oct 18:
The argument that we all need to cool our jets and see what Manley comes up with is interesting, if irrelevant, because I can sit here right now and I already know the outcome. Is there any doubt?
There was no chance that this panel reached any other conclusion, it was over before it started. What the media should focus on- why the government wasted millions of dollars of taxpayer money on a propaganda exercise. Harper was shrewd, putting Manley as the face, because it achieved the appearance of neutrality, even though the views were already vetted.
Now we watch, as the final report is released, and people digest the findings, as though a genuine process has concluded its admirable work. Harper has duped the media, who give this panel credibility. Harper has succeeded in his political goal, he can now argue that the "independent" panel has reached his conclusion, he will take his cues from their findings. The panel's real purpose was to neutralize, provide cover, endorse the governments arguments. Mission accomplished, optics trump truth, the media played like a fiddle.