the combat mission should end as scheduled in February, 2009, but suggesting troops could remain in the country to perform other tasks.
"We are open to other possible military roles in Afghanistan to continue training the Afghan National Army and police, protect Afghan civilians or for reconstruction efforts," Mr. Dion said in a prepared statement."But we will not accept the simple rebranding of the current combat mission as a training mission. Any new military role must be crafted in such a way as to ensure that other significant Canadian Forces deployments in other parts of the world are possible.
No one can accuse the Liberals of “abandoning” Afghanistan, nor are they endorsing the Harper stubbornness. The argument basically demonstrates some pragmatism, re-directing our effort in such a way to achieve the best results. Many independent military papers have concluded that Afghanistan can’t be won militarily, the Liberal position embraces this concept, while providing alternative assistance that moves towards stability. I think this position will resonate well with Canadians, because it articulates the conflicted view of wanting to help, appreciation that we have a role to play, but not engaging in some endless, tragic game of “whack a mole”.
On the negative side, the way in which the Liberal Party has handled the nomination in Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River translates to a complete public relations nightmare. For the record, I’m no fan of David Orchard, and I can understand why prominent Liberals resist his candidacy. However, usurping a democratic process, particularly when you have full knowledge of a potential vocal blowback, seems like a strategic blunder of the highest order.
If key Saskatchewan Liberals like Goodale don’t want Orchard, then they should do everything in there power to amass grassroot forces to back their preferred candidate. Interjecting someone, which alienates a wide swath of voters, in a riding which is decidedly close, is just bad politics. I’ve never agreed with the Dion quota system, what is happening in this riding is representative of forcing a round block into a square hole. The top-down approach, which basically tells the locals to sit down and do as they are told, is the last thing the Liberals want to present, in a climate where they are trying to re-invent themselves.