Saturday, February 09, 2008

Out-Flanked?

I don't share the enthusiasm that some have argued on the prospects of the Liberals fighting an election over Afghanistan. As a matter of fact, the more this story develops, the more it looks like the government is successfully painting the Liberals into a tight corner, that starts to look unrealistic.

The polls do show that Canadians want this mission to end, in it's current configuration. However, there is also a sense of some responsibility, the majority of Canadians are not in favor of abandoning Afghanistan. You could argue, and I've prescribed to this view earlier as well, that the Liberals have struck the right balance between demanding change and further commitment with their nuanced stance. That said, what has happened over the past month may have eroded that ground for the Liberal position, as the government has moved with vigor.

We can argue about Manley until the cows come home, but the bottomline, that panel has provided this government with a backdrop, a set of requirements, that if met, suggest "success". Harper is armed with Manley, a public relations exercise, that achieved the goal of setting out parameters that everyone can focus on. Should the government meet those objectives, it then presents a more attractive argument for extension.

At this very moment, the government is involved in intense negotiations with the French to secure the required troop increase, "demanded" by Manley. While this is occuring, word comes of Poland helping us with our helicopter requirement, not to mention MacKay suggesting there would "be more news" on that front in the coming days. Fast-forward to securing commitment from other NATO allies, you then have to wonder if it is realistic to then argue that Canada's combat role should end. Think about the optics, we have secured more troops and helicopters, others have stepped up to help Canada, then Canada turns around and says we are leaving the front, for less risky terrain. The spectacle of that diplomatic hypocrisy is something every Liberal should keep in mind.

Here is the Conservative motion, introduced yesterday:
Canada should build on its accomplishments and shift to accelerate the training of the Afghan army and police so that the government of Afghanistan can defend its own sovereignty and ensure that progress in Afghanistan is not lost...

House supports the continuation of Canada's current responsibility for security in Kandahar beyond February 2009, to the end of 2011, in a manner fully consistent with the UN mandate on Afghanistan, but with increasing emphasis on training the Afghan National Security Forces expeditiously to take increasing responsibility for security in Kandahar and Afghanistan as a whole so that, as the Afghan National Security Forces gain capability, Canada's combat role should be commensurately reduced...

The Conservatives leave room for a combat role, but put emphasis on a shifting mission that focuses on training and re-construction. The Liberals are essentially arguing the latter aspects, while stubbornly insisting that the combat portion be eliminated. The simple facts, if Canada remains in the volatile south, there will be casualties, there will shots in anger. It is almost naive to think that Canadians can remain this region, without the Taliban attacking the invaders. Common sense assumes that there will be some combat, maybe not offensive operations, but clearly a "security" component. I think it folly to dismiss the opinion of Hillier, when he says it is unrealistic to think we can entirely eliminate the military component, not in the south.

The government will emphasis the shifting emphasis on the mission, armed with Manley and the powerful commitment of other nations to "help" Canada. Where are the Liberals, if they demand an end, just when the conditions of Manley are met. Other countries, willing to fight with us, then we say "this isn't for us", we will do other things. I see that as a hard sell for the Liberals, given that Harper only needs 40% of Canadians to get on board. Harper has moved onto the Liberal position, maybe the best course for the Liberals is too jump on board, eliminate the issue entirely. Otherwise, the Liberals risk arguing the margins, while the thrust is mostly consistent, a stance that isn't necessarily the advantage many of us saw earlier. Right now, at this moment, Harper is out-flanking the Liberals.

86 comments:

Gayle said...

The liberals are not going to neutralize this issue by adopting the conservatives' position. There are a lot of people who believe we should get out of there.

What I hear the liberals doing is saying they want an end date, and that the conservatives wants us in there indefinately - which they do. That is a pretty good way to couch this issue.

liberazzi said...

Sorry it posted another comment from yesterday. Anyway, Dion cannot change his stance on Afghan, otherwise the Cons will be able to charge again with the weak leadership nonsense (another good ol Lib flip flop they will say). On the other hand Dion's stance allows the Libs to out-flank the left, who want to "cut and run". However, if Dion and Harper can find compromise (ya right), then the situation can be neutralized and the Libs can then focus on defeating the Cons on what looks to be a weak budget. Like I said yesterday, Libs must appear united (even if they are not), otherwise they are just giving the Cons easy pickings to play with. The Cons appear to be vulnerable at this moment, so why on earth would you publicly start to question your leader's judgement? On a side note, is there some secret polling that the Cons have that Barney Rubble (Van Loan) is the best spokesman for the gov't. What a pompous jerk!

Steve V said...

gayle

The wording of this motion does leave wiggle room for the Liberals.

Steve V said...

lib

I believe the motion does leave room for the Liberals. The mission moves to re-construction and training, more openness, but it allows for security, which seems reasonable, if we are to stay. The optics of this motion don't overtly endorse the "whack a mole" fiasco we have seen, but maybe Liberal amendments can better define what "security"
means.

We always argue that Canadians are concerned about our international reputation. I think it will look quite bad, if the Cons secure support from our allies and then we cling to the "we did our part" angle.

If we stay in the south, there will be a military component, to completely disregard that leaves a huge opening for Harper to exploit. It's just not a realistic view, and that fact will make Dion look weak.

liberazzi said...

I agree there is "room to wiggle", but you can play around with that when you are required to make a real decision. However, for now you must stand firm on your position polictically and play around later. I know that its not nice to play around with people lives, but there is a chess match to be played here. Its politics...

Steve V said...

lib

I don't see why the Libs can't frame this motion as a compromise. It essentially argues that we need to re-focus the mission, where the Liberals have argued from the start. Now, it doesn't end the combat role specifically in 2009, but it does lower the burden with additional support, another point we have made, the "disporportional" sacrifice. In the end, with some tinkering, there might be enough to claim victory- this is not the Con position, at least not the one they were arguing just months ago.

liberazzi said...

The Libs are going to have to tread very carefully if their are going to try and massage their position to come more in-line with the Manley report. You hear it from the Cons everyday in QP about the fact the Libs do not have a firm position on Afghan (and how they love the Taliban), so they cannot appear to be wavering at this point. On the other hand, if they appear to be siding more with the Cons, then that gives those on the left ammunition to play with. I'd prefer that they stick to their stance and let Canadians decide, unless they can reach a compromise with the Cons in the meantime. I believe with Gayle that we need an end date, regardless if NATO comes more on board or not. Afghan=quicksand.

The Grumpy Voter said...

Then motion calls for amendments but no amendments the Liberals make will suffice as Harper wants an election. From my perspective, we absolutely should have an election on Afghanistan since we've never really had a debate on our role there. What's missing from the Liberals is a clear policy other than "stay in Afghanistan, rebuild, but no more combat". The Tories have a clear policy and if it's a choice between Harper's policy or no real policy for Liberals, then Harper is in a good position. Liberals should craft together an alternative to the Manley Report and I'm surprised they never developed one because they knew this was coming since the day Harper appointed Manley. I'm also not entirely convinced Canadians want to end our combat role because they haven't had a chance to engage in a vigorous national debate about precisely what we are doing there and what the benefit might be. Here's one thing Liberals don't want to campaign on: pulling out to a *safe* area. As a former soldier, my initial reaction to that would be that a whack of Canadians got killed for no reason whatsoever. At least under Manley, they're fighting for something and there is a presumed value to their sacrifice. It's also important to note that the overwhelming majority of Canadian deaths haven't been combat related. Should Liberals advocate that Canada adopt a combat support role in Kandahar (which is my bet) there's every reason to expect that Canadians will continue to be killed by roadside bombs.

I don't think there is any wiggle room being offered because at the end of the day the Tories are saying "Do we stand and fight or do we skitter the fuck outta there with our tail between our legs because *we did our part*". The Liberal Party needs a position on our role in Afghanistan. It has to be equal to what Manley has offered in terms of it's scope and it must provide for a realistic appraisal of the challenges our troops face and how best to employ them. At the end of the day, I can't see Canadian voters wanting to end our combat role if there is no clear alternative being offered from the Liberals - particularly when Manley's report points to a set of deliverables that would need to be met for Canada to remain in Kandahar. Finally, I think Canadians feel a sense of obligation to finish the job or better yet, take a leadership role in getting the job done right. We'll only know, of course, if there is a good debate about or future in Afghanistan and for that reason alone, I eagerly look forward to a federal election on this hugely important issue for all of us. This has to transcend partisanship - Manley's report does just that. If the Liberals don't have a better alternative, it's going to be a difficult campaign for them.

ottlib said...

I am not convinced they have been outflanked. The Manley Report is not well known by ordinary Canadians and I doubt it will have as big an effect on public opinion as many believe.

And like I have said before there is as much in the Manley Report that will hinder the Conservatives as will help them.

Of course many of the pundits are quoting it and stating how it has put the Liberals in a corner but if the US primaries should teach us anything it is we should not trust what pundits say.

The nuances of the Manley Report would probably be lost on most people and the argument will probably come down to the Liberals stating the Conservatives want have Canadians on a never ending mission and the Conservatives denying it. Indeed, part of the announcement of this motion was that very denial.

As well, if Mr. Van Loan's statements in QP yesterday are indicative of the level of debate we are going to see over the next month then Canadians will turn it off and probably say a pox on both their houses.

Tomm said...

ottlib,

Forget public opinion, just this once, and think about what is a good long-term policy for Canada.

Grumpy is right, that's where the LPC should have gone if they had decided to dump Manley's Report overboard.

Tomm

Tomm said...

Steve,

You are correct.

There is certainly room in that motion for the Liberal position.

There is no reason for the Liberal's to fight an election over hard differences in Afghanistan.

In regards to politics and their left wing base that is pushing for a faster retreat; the guys that were going to leave the LPC and jump to the NDP because of that, already have. There are no votes to lose. At least from where I sit.

The LPC position can be painted as one that has gotten the CPC to soften its position so that we have a two year renewal and role evolution.

If the CPC calls that bunk, ignore it.

Tomm

liberazzi said...

I don't think we should continue to be in Afghan, so that we can pump our chests and say we didn't cut and run. Its not enough to stay there and kill those nasty Taliban. We need clearly defined objectives, beyond military ones that are measurable to some degree. We are supposed to be there to "improve" the lives, security and stability of the Afghan people. Not simply to wage war, us against them and so on. As of now, the results are very ambiguous. More girls going to schools, some rebuilding projects etc, but perhaps a corrupt gov't that has no real power, an increase in opium distribution and no real military success at this point. Will those Canadians be considered to have died in vain if we leave, perhaps. However, if we continue in this quagmire and we really achieve nothing in long run then those additional lives lost will also be in vain. Another point is whether by staying there, do we risk putting the greater Canadian public as a whole at risk, by increasing our risk of being a terrorist target? As a voter I want to know exactly what we are trying to accomplish for the Afghan people, how we are going to accomplish it and how we can measure those results. As a Canadian voter, I do not want us there simply to fight against the "evil doers" and in doing so, increase our risk of a terrorist attack at home. I do not want the discussion to degrade into childish remarks like "you must be a taliban lover", simply because you do not agree with the Cons position.

ottlib said...

grumpy,

"Do we stand and fight or do we skitter the fuck outta there with our tail between our legs because *we did our part*".

Although not couched in that fashion that sentiment has resonance amongst Canadians.

There is a sense amongst many Canadians that Canada has done more than its share of the heavy lifting and it is time for other NATO partners to step up.

So, putting forward a position stating Canada will stay in Afghanistan but in a less belligerent role would sound reasonable to many Canadians.

As well, as former CF member you would know the military meaning of the word "relief".

You are probably aware of the situation that if you leave a unit in a high stress situation for very long the overall effectiveness of that unit will be degraded to the point that it will become a liability. That is why most militaries rotate their troops through these areas.

Canada has done that but the size of our army dictates that the periods of relief for our troops are shorter than it should be if the relieved units are to recover full strength and effectiveness.

So from a purely military standpoint it is logical that Canadians should be relieved in Khandahar by another NATO partner.

The Liberal position is clear and logical on more than one level.

It makes sense militarily and it makes sense if you are concerned about the overall health of NATO.

I have noticed that many of those who have stated the Liberals do not have a position on Afghanistan are people who agree with the idea of extending the combat mission indefinately. In other words they disagree with the Liberals. They use the argument that the Liberals do not have a position on Afghanistan to deflect from the fact they they are not defending their own positions on its merits.

Any guess as to why that is?

Steve V said...

The pundits aside, all the news reporting is now framed with Manley as the defacto template. Even Layton is referencing Manley now, to try and argue his position. I believe this report is now the centerpiece, the media accepted the Harper ruse and the debate clearly revolves around it.

Again, how can we stop "combat", at the exact same time that others are coming to our aid? Hard to see that as winning position for the Libs, and Tomm is right the "get out now" crowd isn't voting for the Libs anyways, that pie is for the NDP and Bloc, for the most part. Harper has the hard hawk vote, and all these overtures are meant to make inroads with those that don't like what is happening, but recognize we have a role. If the emphasis is put on training and re-construction, then the question becomes no security, or some. Once you flesh that out, it seems counter-intuitive to think we can be in the south and not fire a shot. Goodale basically acknowledged this, and the Libs could argue we will fight, but only in a "defensive" sense, protecting terrority for re-construction, eliminating threats that attack aid convoys, etc.

liberazzi said...

Tomm, those truly on the left have parked their Afghan vote, but it is those soft voters of the left that the Liberals need to mine for increased success in the next election. Therefore, they need to very careful not to appear to be coming over to the Cons point of view.

Doz said...

Mr Dion's position seems to be that Canada should return to the role it played in Afghanistan when Mr Chretien was Prime Minister. That seems pretty reasonable to me.

As for the notion that the Liberal's short term electoral interests require them to hold their noses and prop up the Harper government, you have only to look south, and the contempt the Democratic party has earned for being afraid to stand up to Bush on Iraq.

Steve V said...

lib

If you look at the timeline here, the Cons have actually moved closer to the Lib position. It was the Liberals that were arguing for more emphasis on training Afghan forces, ramping up re-construction, more funding for infastructure, etc. If you go back a few months, the Con talking points are now quite different, the Libs pretty consistent.

Steve V said...

doz

I don't like the Iraq analogy, two different wars, fought for very different reasons. If you listen to the Dems, you don't hear them talking about pulling out from Afghanistan, in fact they argue that there should be more emphasis, using Iraq as a distraction from the real fight.

ottlib said...

Tomm,

If only four countries are willing to take on the hardest tasks in the Afghan mission the mission will inevitably fail.

The reason is public opinion. At some point military casualties and reports like those of tortured detainees and journalists condemned to death will cause opposition to the mission to hit critical mass at home. At that point no government with any sense of self-preservation will defy it.

One of the reasons why the Republicans have an uphill battle to win the White House is because the Republican incumbent did just that. I doubt the next President, who will want to win a second term, will be so bloody-minded so we could see a serious retrenchment in the US if public opinion goes that way. (Some polls in the US are already saying exaclty that.)

The Dutch have already set a deadline and it is doubtful their government will be able to finesse it when it arrives.

A debate similar to ours is taking place in Britain.

So Tomm, there is public pressure on three out of the four governments that have troops in the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan and pressure is likely to increase on the fourth and biggest before the year ends.

Tomm, how long do you think the mission can be sustained in that kind of atmosphere? Do you think the governments can hold off their domestic opinion for the decade or two it will take to stabilize and rebuild Afghanistan?

Afghanistan is not taking place in a vacuum. All of the countries there are very aware of their domestic opinion. Which is why some countries keep their troops out of danger and why those countries that have not done that are all having very painful and passionate debates about their presence in Afghanistan.

It is an interesting dynamic but it is one that inevitably dooms the Afghan mission to failure.

liberazzi said...

I guess the question is whether you can do all these good deeds, if you cannot keep the Taliban at bay? What the Liberals are saying is if you can get someone else to take over the fighting for the most part, then we can start to focus more on doing the good deeds. Obviously, the Canadians will need to still be allowed to defend themselves, but not be at the forefront of the fight. Quite frankly, we do not have the military resources to keep up this fight by ourselves with help from the Americans (i know there a few other countries providing some military help), but we still want a role, we still want to help. Perhaps, in the future if necessary we can rotate back in for a limited amount of time, but staying until 2011 in a military role is crazy. The other question is how much money is this costing the taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

A couple thoughts, if far-fetched

1 I do believe that an election over Afghanistan will mobilize a massive effort by the chattering class, academia, higher income earners etc.. to the likes that have not been seen since the NAFTA debate to support the Manley report and sway public opinion

2. The Liberals are pretty much screwed either way because of Dion's gamble to come up with a firm position before the Manley Report came out. I honestly do think that should he had waited it out, the Liberals could have framed the debate to their advantage.

Now, we lose a chunk of left votes to the NDP and a chunk of centrist votes (like myself) to the Green Party. I do support the Manley report in its entirety, but I cannot vote for Harper because his partisanship is probably what caused this mess.

-ITC

Steve V said...

ottlib

"If only four countries are willing to take on the hardest tasks in the Afghan mission the mission will inevitably fail."

Watch that logic, because we will probably pickup two more in the coming days. That's part of the equation here, if you can more to commit, then the "doing all alone" argument gets weaker, the mission takes on a more international flavor. The reason this government is ramping up the pressure, phone calls, meetings, etc, is because they have rightly calculated that more countries committed is both necessary for the mission, but also good politically. It just is.

Anonymous said...

Now, on the other hand, look at what the Liberals are saying

Mr. Dion said Liberal amendments to the motion will be in line with the party's position that the combat portion of the mission must end by February of 2009. The Liberals are willing to remain in Kandahar, but want to focus efforts on rebuilding rather than fighting insurgents.

How the heck can you stay in Kandhar and not have combat?

Unless of course, the Liberals are using this as an issue to get back into power, and then will support an extension in Kandahar and will argue to the Canadian public that even though our troops are engaged in combat, its in "defense" of the construction of schools and roads (Think we will elimate the GST all over again). You change the perception of the mission to your populace and presto.

I’ve always though that both successive Liberal and CPC governments have failed to the manage the perception aspect of this current war, and that is why 70% of Canadians are supposedly saying in 30 second phone conversation that they don’t support the mission.

Reframe the issue in the election, and then have a Democratic President in 2009 triple the effort in Afghanistan and call on the Canadian people to keep helping out....you get Canadians onside.

Of course, this is the way we thought during Chretien's time (I remember being there), maybe Dion has brought back some of his advisors?

liberazzi said...

Steve, I agree that the Libs have been consistent in saying Feb 09, Feb 09, so I am often confused when the Cons in QP state how the Lib position has consistently changed? Perhaps, the Libs should turn the argument around and point out how the Cons position has consistently changed? All am I saying is the Libs need to tread carefully, because the weak leadership angle seems to have traction with some voters.

Steve V said...

"How the heck can you stay in Kandahar and not have combat?"

And, there is the rub that Harper will use against Dion.

lib

What the Liberals should be doing is pointing out how the Cons have moved towards their position- if you want to be successful in Afghanistan you have to have well trained indigenious force, and you have to show the people the merits by improving the quality of life. This motion recognizes that, it speaks to a gradual change in focus, which seems reasonable on one hand, when you consider this is a process, you don't just stop on aspect because the calendar dictates. There is lots in there that is the Liberal position, why we don't recognize that, and let Harper move into our position is strange.

bigcitylib said...

How can the troops remain in Kandahar and not fight? Maybe they can't. So rotate them out and send in somebody else to take a turn. Maybe none of our allies are willing to assume the commitment. Then bring the troops home. That's the simple version of the Lib position, and the opinion of about 75% of the populace as well (mine too).

As for the Manley report, template schmemplate. The public doesn't give a fart, and the pundits + Manley have been unable to move the public on this issue. The last couple of days of bleating only shows they're getting desperate.

Moreover, this isn't just about politics, its about the best way to spend out military dollars and employ our military men and women. We ought to be redirecting these towards Arctic Sovereignity, but we're stuck in a land war in Asia.

wilson said...

Rotate them out in 2011 when the Afghanistan Compact expires.

ottlib said...

steve:

I will believe in more countries assisting Canada when I see it. It would not be the first time governments have made vague promises only to finesse them when the time comes to keep them.

Second, even if Canada does get assistance it will not be enough. The 1000 extra troops was chosen by Mr. Manley because it was feasible not because it was sufficient to actually make a difference in Southern Afghanistan.

So, if Canada gets the assistance and the situation goes on pretty much like before (which will be the outcome) public opinion will turn even quicker than if no help was forthcoming.

Mr. Manley is attempting to raise hopes in order to satisfy Mr. Harper's short term political goals. Which I think you and I can agree was the whole objective of this exercise.

They may succeed but when those hopes are dashed the backlash will be something else.

Steve V said...

"That's the simple version of the Lib position, and the opinion of about 75% of the populace as well (mine too)."

That's a very simplistic read of public opinion BCL and you know it.


Look, people can discount Manley, I've railed against quite a lot. You can say nobody cares, it's all just esoteric fodder for the pundit class, but the bottomline, people get their news from the media, and our media has now adopted Manley as the template. You can deal with, or put your head in the sand, but that's the reality. BTW, Harper doesn't need to move many people, he just needs 34-40% to get another mandate, hardly unachievable.

And, to this point about rotating out, that is valid. However, you don't hear the Brits saying they have done their part, and we have the prospects of new players, which undercuts that "we've done our part". If NATO comes up with the additonal troops, this argument is less effective.

Steve V said...

ottlib

We don't disagree on that score, but whether the 1000 troop argument actually makes a difference will become known LONG after the election, in the meantime, it buys Harper time.

Steve V said...

Can someone show me a quote where Dion says we should leave the south? I would add, Dion himself has said that "combat" means "pro-actively seeking engagement", it doesn't mean we won't fight, and you can find that video on Liberal.ca. Are we reduced to splitting hairs about the definition of combat?

bigcitylib said...

The Brits have lost maybe five guys. Of course they don't want to move.

Look, Steve, as far as I'm concerned your letting the columnists panic you. The Manley report has already become a template for the media and what's happened? The last couple of polls show the Libs in the lead. This debate over this will resemble the one over Iraq, I believe, because most pundits will be on one side of the issue and the vast bulk of the Canadian people on the other. Note that the Ipsos poll could only get about 45% of people in favor of staying in Afgh. past '08 by preceeding their question with a bunch of hypotheticals--if we get this or that NATO commitment. Since Harper wants to vote on this before we get any of those commitments, I suspect they will for the most part not be forthcoming (all ready the French are talking about announcements being "premature").

bigcitylib said...

Past '09 I that should say.

bigcitylib said...

And finally...

Ignatieff has said that the Canadian mission does not NECESSARILY involve leaving Kanadar, which I interpret as meaning leaving the South would be preference A.

Steve V said...

bcl

You're kidding right, the Brits have lost 87 soldiers, and aren't exactly on the sidelines in the south.

The columnists aren't panicking me (I actually haven't read much), but the news is certainly being framed around Manley, moreso than I would have thought, but there it is, and it isn't changing.

Iraq and Afghanistan are light years apart, about the only similarity, they fall under the blanket of a term called war. Other than that, I don't get the comparison at all.

I just posted on the last batch of polls, and the fact that Harper is really taking his chances, but my point is, don't listen to the spin from Kinsella and others, who arrogantly proclaim that this issue is our springboard. I find that laughable to be frank.

Steve V said...

bcl

Ignatieff's comment just confuse it more. If you have a policy, you sure as shit better outline the terrain. There is a hell of a difference here geographically, if we might stay in Kandahar, then what are we arguing here? You can't have it both ways, are we there or not, and if we are, then what??

liberazzi said...

Ipsos Poll (with a grain of salt), says that 45% agree with the Lib position, 37% the Dip position, so...I think Dion at this point is in the driver's seat.

MarkCh said...

Steve V, I think you are bang on. Did you listen to CBC's The House this morning? Coderre was destroyed by the host and the follow-up guest. The Liberals would be much better off saying "we got what we wanted" and being a little hypocritical, than trying to fight on this ground.

ottlib said...

Steve;

The punditocracy in the country has been pushing this war since it began.

Yet that has not prevented the steady decline in support for it.

Why do you think that is? Well it could be that their arguments are incredibly weak.

Judas Priest, Metallica and Motorhead, what is their prime argument? It changes so often that I cannot keep track.

Establishing democracy, women's rights, supporting NATO, strengthening Canada's voice on the international stage, retribution, the list goes on. Each are easily countered.

Believe it or not the opponents to extending the mission have a stronger argument because Canadians know that not everything is going according to plan in Afghanistan. And I would point out that Mr. Manley did a fine job of reinforcing that notion.

As I have be saying for some time Mr. Manley did not give an unvarnished gift to Mr. Harper. There is enough in that report for opponents to any extension to use to argue against it.

The Liberal position has been most reflective of Canadian public opinion for over a year and the Manley report and the pundits are not going to significantly change that. Indeed, it is for that reason that we have seen the Conservatives move closer to the Liberal position than vice versa.

And I would add why those pundits are really beginning to push so hard.

Joseph said...

Well, politics aside - honestly, I do think this motion represents a compromise.

I think the Liberals should support it. The conservatives would make a mistake by trying to paint their support as flip-flopping. The reality is the language does represent an evolution of the mission.

I think the conservatives would gain more by indicating that this motion showed their ability to govern responsibility and to "hear" the Canadian people while maintaining Canada's commitments.

In other words, they could use a success on this motion to represent their success not as an attack on the Liberals.

I don't expect they'll do that, but I think it would be wiser.

The moment they use this as a hammer on Dion, should it pass, they would lose whatever ground they might have gained.

Bottom line - Dion should claim the motion as a successful compromise - which it is - and support it. Compromise by its very nature is getting part of what you want but not all.

If this motion passes and nothing changes with the inherit situation for Canada's role in Kandahar, the Liberals can hold the Conservatives feet to the fire - as they should.

bigcitylib said...

Steve v,

You are correct about the U.K.

ABout Iggy, well this is subject to negotiation with the allies isn't it? If we can get x, we stay in the South, if we can only get y, we go someplace else in Afgh., if we get squat we come home.

Of course the CPC position is similarly fluid. Or at least, nobody has bothered to push them on what happens if we only get 700 or 500 or 250 extra troops etc. There is no advantage there.


Liberazzi, is that the same poll that I was referring to? I think only 14% agreed with Harper on this.

Steve V said...

"As I have be saying for some time Mr. Manley did not give an unvarnished gift to Mr. Harper."

We agree, plenty of criticism, calls for more openness, where the failures lie. That should make it more palatable then, in the end, you can embrace the criticisms.

joseph

There is no question this is a compromise, how far up for debate. This is not endorsing the Con position, because the position is far different from the one they offered previously. If it is the Con position now, it is only because they embraced the recommendations, or we let it be their position, failing to point out that in many ways, the report supports what the Libs have been saying all along, in terms of focus.

MarkCh said...

A big problem for the Liberals is that they actually are split on the mission. Look at the commenters here: ottlib and bcl are arguing in a way that can only support pulling out entirely ASAP, liberazzi says the mission is not important relative to the politics, steve v almost supports staying in. The current official Lib position, of staying there without fighting, has almost no support: no surprise, since it is militarily impossible, and is merely an attempt to bridge the gap among the various positions. I think the Liberal party needs to make up its mind on this one, and accept that it will lose either the left or the centre. A fake position, solely intent on bridging the gap, will lose both.

Steve V said...

bcl

"Or at least, nobody has bothered to push them on what happens if we only get 700 or 500 or 250 extra troops etc. There is no advantage there."

The real subtantive debate, which seems completely forgotten, who the heck said 1000 troops would do it? I never heard that reference before Manley, no study or military opinion, it just appeared. Now, it is just accepted as fact, which is curious. I honestly don't know if it helps, I'd like someone to flesh it out.

Steve V said...

mark

I agree, you can't satisfy all the factions here, the decision has to be a clear one. Staying in the south, without allowing for combat, is just not realistic, and that's the dilemna. To be fair, there is wording that suggests fighting, but it is down to semantics, not something easily understood.

mississaugajoan said...

The Manley Report is not a comprehensive report. Intentionally or not, it does not address what is really happening in Afghanistan. And that is...it has become a Narco Nation.

From 2006 to 2007, 400,000 additional Afghan citizens became involved in opium cultivation.

That's correct, according to the United Nations, 3,300,000 Afghan citizens are now directly involved in opium cultivation.

With a population of 23,000,000, over 14% of the population is directly involved in opium cultivation.

Thats 1 in 7 Afghan citizens is now involved in opium cultivation.

Any report that covers this reality with only one paragraph, buried on page 19, is a report that I as a Liberal am more than happy to discuss at the door of any Canadian voter during an election.

MississaugaJoan said...

The Manley Report is not a comprehensive report. Intentionally or not, it does not provide any time lines. It throws out what is a MAJICAL NUMBER, in this case, 1,000 (which could have been 2,000, or 5,000, or 500), and then can't even provide a corresponding time line to that MAJICAL NUMBER.

Any report that expects Canada to be in combat indefinitely, is a report that I as a Liberal am more than happy to discuss at the door of any Canadian voter during an election.

Let's get a sense of reality here. Going to 2011 means that NATO will have been in Afghanistan for as long as the Soviets were (1979 - 1989).

Afghanistan bankrupted (financially and morally) the Soviet Union and was one of the reasons for the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

Afghanistan is now doing the same to NATO.

MarkCh said...

Steve,

Yes, there is wording which suggests fighting. But I think it is intentionally left vague enough to try to convince people that there won't be any casualties.

miss, etc.:

There are many flaws in the Manley Report. But, to benefit from pointing them out, the Liberals have to offer an alternative which is at least equally coherent. It doesn't have to be right, but it has to be meaningful. The CPC, the NDP, and the Bloc have all done that. The Liberals have not, yet.

Dame said...

Dion is Right . We are there to provide help if They want it it ... No tanks No Guns No Whatever killing machines.. WE Should offer all what we spend on guns as a Humanitarian aid It would be a Bribe practically >... if they behave as a civilized country and That would be changing them the way we are trying to force them now.. Either way it takes time and patience ....

With Military Force we just incite the resistance and Death on all sides.
If Dion is changing his stance it should be NOW not 2009 when we take out COMBAT ROLE>..

Bythe way I don't think the Cnadian Public as a whole is taking all the little twists and nuances in Consideration /as we bloggers do... / they go after the basic gut feelng this is not working get out.....
So the liberals would be preferred ...

MississaugaJoan said...

Markch,

Have no fear, a thorough Liberal position is being prepared.

Unlike the Manley Report, it will reflect more Pearson (Canadian) ideals than Bush provocation.

Steve V said...

Here are some excerpts from a Dion speech last Feb, which helps us see just how far the Cons have moved toward the Lib position:

" If our efforts in the region are to be successful, we need more countries to be involved in combat and reconstruction operations in southern Afghanistan and a better coordination of these efforts. I will engage real diplomatic efforts with our NATO allies to share the burden in the south of Afghanistan"

"This is why we need to combine, more than we are doing today, our military, development and diplomatic efforts in Kandahar. Currently, total coalition spending on military operations in Afghanistan outpaces spending on development and reconstruction by 900%. Today, only 20% of Canada’s development assistance to Afghanistan is spent in Kandahar. This imbalance must be corrected."

"What is needed instead is to assign as much responsibility as possible to Afghan soldiers, police and officials. Canada should provide much more training assistance to Afghanistan’s army, national police, lawyers and judges."

"The situation is very dangerous in Kandahar. The Taliban, a highly radical ideological group that conducts guerrilla operations and suicide bombings, is not the only threat that we are facing.

The population is armed and endemic violence erupts in the form of banditry and violent quarrels between families and clans. Warlords exercise, in some parts of the country, more control than the government of Afghanistan."

Re-construction and training, while recognizes the "dangerous" nature of our presence in the south.

Mushroom said...

"Unlike the Manley Report, it will reflect more Pearson (Canadian) ideals than Bush provocation."

The sad thing is that Dion's talks with Layton did not go well. If it did, this consensus would not have the support of the Grit caucus.

Dion said that there has to be a role for NATO in Afghanistan. Thus, he rejects the concept of turning Afghanistan into a UN peacekeeping mission. With France providing the additional troops, the word is that NATO will fight on. No word on what Canada will do though.

Dion is saying that Layton is using the UN peacekeeping fig leaf to justify a total pull out of Afghanistan in February 2009, something he believes its unrealistic. It is becoming evident that using this principle while conducting major combat operations in Kandahar province is difficult, unlike others who are in less dangerous spots.

Anonymous said...

"Unlike the Manley Report, it will reflect more Pearson (Canadian) ideals than Bush provocation."


Great, invoke the principles of a past figure that only 10% of Liberal MP's truly understand.

The fact that you equate Afghanistan and the Manley Report with "Bush Provocation" should be sending off warning bells should that statement be the guiding principle of Dion's foreign policy team.

Bush is old news.


-ITC

Anonymous said...

I think the Liberal party needs to make up its mind on this one, and accept that it will lose either the left or the centre. A fake position, solely intent on bridging the gap, will lose both.


Dion's position guarantees we lose both, and the CPC laughs as 70% of Canadians split between the LPC, NDP and Greens.

Outcome? Another CPC minority.

The Budget/economy would be MUCH better to fight over then the war.

Anonymous said...

Have any of you read Simpson's column in the G&M today? He has probably been the best, realistic columnist on the issue of Afghanistan, and he was unusually harsh on Dion

Both the Liberals and Conservatives are giving themselves less and less room to manoeuvre. Both parties are insisting the other is intransigent. Both are convinced they can win the election: the Liberals with a minority, the Conservatives with a majority. But both have no assurances they are right. And if they are wrong, as is quite likely, the consequences will be bad for both.

The Liberal positioning is mostly about the party's lack of coherence and, more important, total lack of confidence in its leader. Mr. Dion has almost no caucus support, and he must know it. His standing in public opinion polls is low, especially but not exclusively in Quebec. He is living on the Liberal brand name, not his own.

So, like leaders before him who felt themselves mocked by others, Mr. Dion tends to take fixed, non-negotiable positions to show everyone how strong he really is. But it is a phony, misguided strength that illustrates weakness. It is also part of his (and many other Liberals') fear of the NDP that causes the Liberals to forget time and again that elections are won and lost in the centre of the political spectrum, not on the extremes.



-ITC

MississaugaJoan said...

Let's see...

How many Taliban or Afghan citizens were among the 19 9/11 hijackers?

Zero

Bush's wars will be with us for years to come (if not another decade).

Anonymous said...

Let's see...

How many Taliban or Afghan citizens were among the 19 9/11 hijackers?

Zero

Bush's wars will be with us for years to come (if not another decade).


Let's see, which country was used as a safe haven to plan attacks on the WTC in 1993, US embassies in Africa, the USS Cole?

It is scary that you equate the nationality of an attacker with that justification to attack that country.

9/11 taught us that individuals and organizations with international agendas transcend national borders and governments. Ever heard of globalization?

Pearsonian principles don’t apply to world where nation state wars are becoming increasingly irrelevant

Do we send "peacekeepers" to keep the peace between government forces and a building occupied by Al-Quada?

-ITC

Tomm said...

Mississauganjoan,

Yikes!

Do you run what you write through your brain?

You remind me of Ronald Reagan. The guy could spew platitudes and bypass his rationale/cranial centre before it danced off his tongue.

Dion has painted himself into a bad place (no need to blame anybody else for this) and the Liberal Party now has to figure out a road forward. As it has in the past two years, the LPC will likely do what is expediant and not what it truly NEEDS to do.

The LPC would rise 5% in the polls if it quit trying to rub up against the CPC with sandpaper on every position taken.

A perfect example is Sharon Carstairs trying to convince the Canadian people that the House of Sober Second Thought needs to think deeply about the age of consent bill. Good grief, this isn't a principaled position, it is lashing out when the correct position is not to dither but a hand shake.

Tomm

Anonymous said...

Bush's wars

Iraq is Bush's war. Afghanistan is a NATO/UN authorized mission.

Please vote for the NDP in the next election. You're on the fringe. Thank you.

I can understand the merits of those who oppose the war due to a lack of resources for proper execution of nation building. But when idiot's throw around terms such as "bush's" war.......

-ITC

Mushroom said...

Mississaugajoan will have to vote Grit in the next election, thank you very much. No use splitting the vote when the NDP has no chance of knocking off the CPC candidate. Any votes lost to the NDP guarantees a Con victory there.

The fallout from the Manley Report has brought to the Grit party is now being demonstrated. Some are calling for Keith Martin to be fired from the Shadow Cabinet and would want Dion to form a coalition government with the NDP. Other Liberals are afraid of losing seats to the NDP etc. Can we all get along?

Scott Tribe said...

Sorry Steve, but I far better trust a strategist like Warren Kinsella and his advise over the chattering classes in the media.

The thing is with Warren, he is removed from the federal Liberals and he also was initially supportive of the Manley Report.. but I think one must take heed of what he says:

"But, in my limited experience, elections mostly are about one issue, and a couple of collateral issues, and that’s it. So if the ballot question gets framed by Dion this way – “Hi, I’m Stéphane, and I think we have more than done our bit in Afghanistan, and we think it’s time for other countries to step up to the front line, and if you elect me, we will push for that. But if you want to be over there forever, with no end date, by all means vote for the other guy. Oh, and the economy. The other guys have no economic plan for the tough times ahead, none at all, and we do,” etc. – (but pithier, naturally), then he can win. He can win!"

- “Joe and Jane Frontporch don’t remember John Manley, and they don’t know a goddamn thing about what his report says. It’s a good report, but so what. This is politics. If you have to throw John Manley and a couple MPs overboard to win a frigging election, you do it.”

"• The Manley Report doesn't give them the cover they obviously think it does. The Tories are rolling the dice, big time.
• The country feels we have done our bit, and it's time for other countries to step up to the plate. The Liberals could win the election, big time."

All wise words of wisdom to me. I say Dion needs to ignore the Nervous Nellies in the caucus (and those in the blogosphere, Steve ;) ) and let's not compromise on this. I'm ready to fight an election on the merits of Afghanistan and our position - a position supported by a plurality of Canadians, if not a majority when you bring in the ones who want outright withdrawl.

We also are forgetting we can frame this as a referendum on Stephen Harper and the Cons. on those 1 or 2 other issues that Warren mentioned - the Environmental policies is an obvious big no-brainer one. There are others I'm sure we can all think of.

Mushroom said...

Scott,

I agree with you. In fact, you highlighted the key points.

Throw Manley and those MPs overboard first and above all, ASAP. Better have a bloodbath this weekend then on the eve of the election campaign.

Kinsella learned this from Chretien, the great Grit party boss. What he is talking about is the whole concept of leadership, something that Dion needs to convey soon as the election rolls around. He has thrown Wajid and Comuzzi overboard in the past, so he may need to do it again.

bigcitylib said...

I think Warren and Steve are right on this. I see no downside to the Lib Afghan position and I think the latest polls reflect that. Also, FWIW, my gut is fine on this. Tories have been kicking the can down the road on Afgh for a year now--that's because they know its a weakpoint. The fact is half the nation would end the mission NOW, and another 25% don't want to see it go past '09.

Plus, politics aside, Manley is two more years of status quo with helicopters and extra bodies. And, you watch, Harper will take less than the Manley report from NATO (the French are already backtracking a bit)

Mushroom said...

Mind you, Warren has no love lost for certain Liberals who have sidetracked him in the past. Throwing them overboard may bring him back to the forefront instead of being the columnist for the National Post.

Steve V said...

I don't see how anyone can extrapolate the polling as some indication of the Liberals on Afghanistan, but if people want to spin it that way so be it.

Big mistake, you could say that about any issue. And, if people aren't that engaged, how in the hell are they going to understand our nuanced position?? You can't have it both ways, if they aren't paying attention to Manley, then they aren't paying attention to our protracted argument, that demands some understanding.

As an aside, I don't read Kinsella, I find him to be mostly a self-absorbed blowhard, I heard his comments via someone else. I only referenced him because apparently everyone seems to care what the sage says. Cough.

Steve V said...

"Plus, politics aside, Manley is two more years of status quo with helicopters and extra bodies."

I'm hoping one of the Liberal amendments demand some clarity on percentage of allocation. Exactly how much for re-construction, how much for training, and how much for counter-insurgency/security. If we can get a commitment there, it doesn't leave Harper free to decide on his own. That much has to be clarified, not the ambigious language of Manley.

Gayle said...

For what it is worth, I do not think the average voter really pays attention to the details of each party's position on Afghanistan, nor are they prepared to allow a bunch of journalists decide this issue for them.

I think they see Harper wants to stay and keep fighting, Layton wants us out and Dion wants us to return to peacekeeping. I know this is not an accurate description of any position but that is how it is perceived.

Furthermore, I think most Canadians believe we are not winning, and we are not going to win. Front page photos of little babies crying because their father is going to war, like the one of the front page of today's Edmonton Journal do not help. I used to see photos like that and feel bad the kids will not see their father for 6 months - now I wonder if the kid will ever see his father again.

As far as all of us debating the finer points of each party's position, I think we will be better off waiting until we see the liberal amendments.

Tomm - for someone who likes to claim you are not a conservative, you certainly like to spout off their talking points, regardless of their accuracy. Didn't you learn anything about the age of consent issue from our last discussion on the subject?

ottlib said...

I guess to get back to what is the topic of this post, I would say no.

First and foremost, Afghanistan is not the hot-button issue we all think it is.

The environment and the economy are still what is on the minds of Canadians and they are probably going to stay there.

Ms. May's high profile fight against Mr. McKay will give her alot of opportunities to push the green agenda and Mr. Dion will be pushing it as well.

The continued weakening of the economy will also be prominent on the radar screen. If during the course of the election the TSE suffers another one or two triple digit losses it will push much of the rest aside.

Simply speaking, Afghanistan will not be the ballot question for enough Canadians. So if the Conservatives actually do convert some of the doubters (a big if) it will probably not be enough to compensate for its shortcomings in other areas.

Which brings us back to the reason why the Conservatives want to have an election now. Their support is eroding, they are building a fine set of chains to drag them down and there is a widely held perception that the economy is headed for the ditch.

So this motion really is not about winning an election. There is no concensus amongst Canadians on how to deal with Afghanistan and no party is likely to build one based on the Manley Report or anything else. So this motion is about triggering an election and nothing more.

Anonymous said...

Big mistake, you could say that about any issue. And, if people aren't that engaged, how in the hell are they going to understand our nuanced position?? You can't have it both ways, if they aren't paying attention to Manley, then they aren't paying attention to our protracted argument, that demands some understanding.

As an aside, I don't read Kinsella, I find him to be mostly a self-absorbed blowhard, I heard his comments via someone else. I only referenced him because apparently everyone seems to care what the sage says. Cough.


Couldnt have said it better myself.

I would dare Dion to throw out "a couple" MP's as has been foolishly suggested by some of you and Kinsella (who, would only do such a thing to increase the prospect of returning to power, which speaks volumes in itself). You would have a Chuck Strahl vs Stockwell Day situation all over again. And of course, its Martinites in the caucus who are still supporters of the mission


So this motion is about triggering an election and nothing more

Ok, so why trigger it over an issue that is certainly going to be messy and most likely wont get any traction for the LPC? War debates tend to turn into a "pull out or stay", black and white issue. Reason gives way to passion and emotions

One only has to look at the 2006 Senate elections and 2004 Presidential elections in the US

Besides, the left will eat itself out over this debate

The LPC should have neutered this issue, and gone on to fight over the economy and environment

Tomm said...

Gayle,

You are certainly right about where I get my influences. For example I'm probably the only person on the thread here who applauds Chuckercanuck.

Regardless, it is what I think.

I'm one of those people that doesn't want endless debate only firm decision making based on principaled positions. So from a personality persepctive I UNDERSTAND Harper much better than Dion.

I come here because I enjoy the discussion and respect the opinions. I think my thoughts become better balanced after reading some of the discussion here.

Tomm

Gayle said...

Tom - that is fine to say, but when you post this:

"Good grief, this isn't a principaled position, it is lashing out when the correct position is not to dither but a hand shake."

I presume you recognize the person being unprincipled is Harper, because it is utterly hypocritical to complain about a short delay in the Senate when Harper is responsible for delaying this bill for a year in the House.

That's it. Sorry for going OT Steve.

Back to the topic...

"Ok, so why trigger it over an issue that is certainly going to be messy and most likely wont get any traction for the LPC?"

But you really do not know this. It is possible when the electorate sit down and listen to the different positions Dion's is the one they find most palatable, particularly since the polls seem to point that way.

That said, I think the reason Harper would choose this issue to trigger an election is because it is the one he sees most likely to divide the liberal caucus. In the past several months the liberals have been far more united, and Harper can see the effect that has had on the polls. Like it or not, people naturally tend towards the liberals in this country. They need a reason NOT to vote for them more than they need one TO vote for them.

Mushroom said...

"I find him to be mostly a self-absorbed blowhard"

How many of these people are there in the political business? They are the ones who run elections, while us in the riding associations try hard to sell party memberships. Sometimes it makes me wonder, why do we continue as rats in partisan politics, knowing full well we will be led occasionally to the river bank to be swept up in waves.

Mushroom said...

Gayle,

Harper set up three landmines, one of has fizzled out. Only a political novice would know that if the budget somehow passes, the only way Dion can take him out is a non-confidence motion on climate change, Mulroney-Schreiber, the economy etc. Something you can't do as PM, fight for survival like Paul Martin, rather than go on the offensive like Harper.

It is much easier for a government to fall from power, than be defeated. A maxim all politicos must consider while in Opposition.

Furthermore, Harper got most of his agenda through this session via Liberal abstentia. Not good for us. The longer this situation lasts, the heavier the millstone for Dion.

Tomm said...

Harper wants to govern Canada.

If his bills are not getting through he rightly should be annoyed. If he has priorities (money bills, Afghanistan, Crime Bills) that are not being approved he has every right to call it a confidence motion.

That is all he has done. The rest of this just has to do with politics, polls, and power.

I am so tired of the LPC saying that Harper is goading them into dropping his government. If they don't like his bills, then vote against them. But to vote "for" the Crime Bill and then allow it to languish in the Senate and defend the ridiculous delays (apparently the Tories tried twice to speed it up in December and January (see CBC:The House), is something the media should be all over them for, and aren't.

Afghanistan is important to Canada, why wouldn't it be a confidence motion? Would you prefer the CPC cabinet to make the decision in camera like previous Liberal cabinets?

All of this is exasperating and not being fairly portrayed.

Why do Liberal supporters have to be so partisan and mean spirited?

Build some policies on your own and when you've got good ones, take them to the people. But to play politics with everything Harper does is just immature.

There, I gave you some material to throw around.

Tomm

Steve V said...

I'm by no means suggesting Afghanistan will be the only issue in a campaign. However, much of is discussed is largely a result of timing. If we go into an election, with this motion unresolved (the budget vote), then one of the big questions will be the direction of the mission. If the Liberals don't support the motion, and that is the non-confidence, seems fairly intuitive that it sets the tone of the debate.

mushroom

I love the rats analogy :) On last comment on Kinsella, nobody every listens to the bass player ;)

Gayle said...

See Tomm, this is what bothers me about your post. This:

"But to vote "for" the Crime Bill and then allow it to languish in the Senate and defend the ridiculous delays..."

is a lie. It is not languishing in the Senate. In fact the Senate has agreed to sit extra days, and for extra hours to try to get the bill through. That, despite the fact this is a huge bill with a lot of material to cover.

When are you going to suggest Harper be held accountable for delaying his bills for a year? Instead you persist in sticking to this lie.

It is tiresome, and a bit hypocritical for you to lecture the liberals on partisan politics when you refuse to acknowledge the facts.

ottlib said...

"Harper wants to govern Canada."

Tomm, thank you for the laugh. I still have tears in my eyes from that gem.

MississaugaJoan said...

Anonymous,

You claim:

Iraq is Bush's war. Afghanistan is a NATO/UN authorized mission.

Please vote for the NDP in the next election. You're on the fringe. Thank you.

I say:

Were you even old enough to read in 2001 or are you exhibiting some form of dementia.

Wikipedia has it right:

"Following the September 11, 2001 attacks the United States launched Operation Enduring Freedom, a military campaign to destroy the al-Qaeda terrorist training camps inside Afghanistan. The US military also threatened to overthrow the Taliban government for refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden and several al-Qaida members."

That's right, it was the United States and Great Britain that attacked Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, not the United Nations.

Way back in 2001, almost all people agreed with the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan to eliminate Al Qaeda. The United Nations did not authorize the October 7, 2001, invasion.

Two months later, on December 20, 2001, after the United States and Britain took control of most of Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force (10) (ISAF) was established by the United Nations Security Council. ISAF was established for the security and development of Afghanistan.

I agree with, and I believe that the majority of Canadians agree with me, with the Liberal preposition that Canada should be more involved in the development of Afghanistan and less in the security (combat) of Afghanistan.

I do not agree with the NDP preposition that we totally withdraw out of Afghanistan.

To end, I AM NOT ON THE FRINGE of the Liberal Party, YOU ARE (but I will not be an idiot and recommend you vote Conservative or NDP).

MississaugaJoan said...

By the way, my idea of development includes training Afghanistan police forces and army personnel.

By the way, my idea of development includes using Canadian army personal to protect themselves and Canadian development projects.

By the way, my idea of development DOES NOT include aggressively seeking and eliminating the Taliban in a combative manner.

knb said...

Steve, perhaps for different reasons, we agree. I wish I'd seen your post earlier.

I confess, I haven't read all the comments, but this caught my eye:

Harper wants to govern Canada.

Tomm I think wrote that. I'd replace govern with rule, but hey that's me.

I think I understand it. If 2/3 of the country is against your ideas, you must fight.

Sad that they don't recognise where they are.

Mushroom said...

"By the way, my idea of development includes using Canadian army personal to protect themselves and Canadian development projects.

DOES NOT include aggressively seeking and eliminating the Taliban in a combative manner."

Would you support the use of special operations to rescue foreign aid workers kidnapped by the Taliban, warlords etc?

Something that could be justified under the UN peacekeeping banner, given the sad lessons learned from Srebrenica and Rwanda. Layton would agree with this point, but not sure on a post-2009 Afghanistan peacekeeping mission.

BTW Steve, Huckabee won Kansas today. The bass player is still bouncing around like the Energizer bunny.

Anonymous said...

Were you even old enough to read in 2001 or are you exhibiting some form of dementia.

Sorry, if you can’t get a basic fact right, and revert to idiotic terms such as "bush's war" (or for that matter, rely on wikipedia)....Ill stop at that and keep this civil


http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2001/SC7143.doc.htm


UN resolution 1368 passed on September 12, 2001 by all in the Security Council

“3. Calls on all States to work together urgently to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these terrorist attacks and stresses that those responsible for aiding, supporting or harbouring the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these acts will be held accountable;



“4. Calls also on the international community to redouble their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts including by increased cooperation and full implementation of the relevant international anti-terrorist conventions and Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 1269 of 19 October 1999;


“5. Expresses its readiness to take all necessary steps to respond to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, and to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations;



“6. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”


How do you interpret such a thing? Please let me know

By the way, my idea of development DOES NOT include aggressively seeking and eliminating the Taliban in a combative manner.

And that’s where we disagree. You don’t eliminate them, they come at your forces and construction workers and destroy every symbol of progress. Schools, hospitals, government facilities. It’s very simple. Read an insurgency strategy book.

What are their long term goals? To re take control of the government.

Of course, you allow reconciliation to those that want to take it and give fighters a way out. But until the ANA is actually ready, western forces need to provide security WHILE development occurs

Defense, Diplomacy, Development. We have been sorely lacking in all three.

Anonymous said...

By the way, my idea of development includes using Canadian army personal to protect themselves and Canadian development projects

I really dont get this notion of "protecting yourself" while being attacked. So, Taliban fighters attack, and then retreat and regroup knowing that Canadian forces will not come and seek them out?? Repeat the process?

And this is supposedly to happen in Kandahar, according to Dion?

In that case, I would rather Canadian forces completely withdraw, rather than have such ludicrous rules of engagement that would put soldiers lives at stake. It’s as stupid as having UN peacekeepers in Rwanda without a mandate to kill, or sending them into Darfur without permission from Russia and China that they can’t fire at the Janjaweed. (Which the NDP conveniently forgets to mention when saying “we should be in Darfur and not Afghanistan)

Sorry guys, nation state peacekeeping died in the 90’s.

JimmE said...

Great posts!!
From my perch
1. The Afghan issue is simple 2009 or 2011?
- 2011 means accepting Steve Harper and the Ditto Heads view that 2011 will become the McCain view of Iraq: 100 years if necessary.
- 2009 means we've done our duty to God & the Queen.
2. Fineness by Dion on Afghanistan means Dion sez uncle - result: Steve Harper and the Ditto Heads forever tape the "kick me" sign to Dion's back in the minds of the Tim & Tina Horton's of Canada.
3. Steve Harper and the Ditto Heads see they have no traction in the polls so they ask: "What would Chrétien do?"
4. If in this position (he wouldn't be) Chrétien would see his best option would be to go to the polls sooner rather than later against an untested opponent on an issue he thinks he can win.
5. Steve Harper and the Ditto Heads are cocky on this issue, when Steve Harper is cocky, he slips out of the bubble & he shows his real mean nasty wicked horrible, & true nature - that lost his first national campaign.
Let's review the lay-O-the-land shall we?
- A national campaign kick-off is selling an unpopular war - a war where even many supporters think we've done our bit.
- The bubble Steve will try to campaign in will be popped at any and all opportunities by a national press who feel they have been treated like crap
- The specter of a Mulldoon inquiry (even if no inquiry Karl Heinz, Norm Spector & Robin Sears & even the great man himself ain't going to shut up)
- Global Warming, Steve Harper and the Ditto Heads will be hounded by a circus of all manner of folks in all manner of costumes reminding us of Bali
- Income Trusts a chunk of Steve Harper and the Ditto Heads' base will be reminded of this by Ralph Goodale & will sit on their hands or vote Green or independent in protest
- Not one of the Goomery recommendations implemented - how does this play? ('member why Steve Harper and the Ditto Heads got their hands on the keys to the car?)
- No secondary tour 'cause there are no "Stars" amongst the Ditto Heads, & the press will be all over any minor off-message slip
- Given how they've been treated, the civil service will see this as open season on leaks, there will be a Chalk River every week
- The votes "lent" to the Dippers in 2006 will be returned - with interest - in the context of: "The NDP - proudly electing Tories since 1964!" Say good-bye to Olivia-do-nothing-Chow.
- Oh, and let's don't forget Alberta. A Tory free Alberta may only happen in my fondest dreams, but look at what is happening on the ground. From what my pals, my SoCred Mother-in-Law, Preston Manning, Ralph Klien, Rod Wood, & Peter F-ing Lougheed & the Calgary & Edmonton media(!), the "time for a change" sentiment is THE ISSUE - & folks may actually mean it. An Alberta without a Tory majority is a real possibility. (BTW Ron Wood has a Freaking LIBERAL Sign on his front lawn!) What does an Alberta wild card do to the resolve of Steve Harper and the Ditto Heads?

Me? Given these cards I think I could run Bubbles and some of his kitties and beat Steve Harper and the Ditto Heads this time out.

Tomm said...

Steve,

I tried to be helpful. It looks like I stirred up a little debate.

Gayle & Ottlib,

It looks like we're going to be into an election because
a) the LPC either doesn't have the cojones to control their senators, or
b) they would prefer to split hairs and split the country rather than support the Manley Report, or
c) defeat a budget they haven't seen yet.

That is just pathetic and not fair to Canadians.

I wish the media had the guts to report the truth about all this. At least Tabor today tried to show Dion that his policies are nonsence and he was acting like a bully; he must be taking lessons from Coderre.

Liberals have got to show some leadership and stand up FOR something; and not just against something else.

Tomm

JimmE said...

Tomm,
At the risk of keeping this going on too much, but with respect, I find your last post somewhat odd.
a). Gayle hit it on the head, & BTW the crime bill would be the law of the land by now if Steve Harper & the Ditto heads had the sand not to have prorogued the House.
b). Not a question of splitting hairs, (see my post) we end the mission in 2009 or 2011 - if that two years means one fewer brave Canadians killed, MOST Canadians want that.
c). I got nothing - that's just an odd statement dude.

Bully? um, I think what you're describing is ahh, what's it called again? you know, when one takes a position and defends it with facts & conviction? - Oh yeah, Leadership!

What is not fair to Canadians is to have Steve Harper & the Ditto heads stamp their feet and pout and cry confidence all the time when they can't get anything done. I think there might even be a term for this tactic, something like a blustering browbeating person or one who is habitually cruel to others wait! wait! don't tell me! something like ruffian, or antagonist, no, harrier? nope, nuisance? nahh, thug? Oh wait! that's right you already used the word - bully!

Just a gentle reminder, Canadians didn't vote for a majority government, that means the government must compromise or face the electorate. Just so you know, them's the rules. I mean just ask the Dippers, they were happy to tell Canadians a minority government was in Canadians best interest because of the compromises they could squeeze out of Steve Harper & the Ditto heads. I think it might be better for you to save your pathos for all Canadians who got fooled into voting for the Dippers 'cause I don't think whatever they were for, they are not so very happy with all the movement towards the great Socialistic nirvana since 2006.