Monday, July 23, 2007

Can Someone Please Articulate a Clear Strategy?

It's not new for O'Connor to change his story daily, but I honestly do not understand what is going on in the Dept. of Defense right now.

From staying as long as it takes, to no arbitrary deadline, to staying until our current mission expires in '09, to now pulling back in 6 months? Is there actually any planning going on here? If there is, it seems to change with the wind, (or the polls) and the new position is never substantiated by fact.

When the conservatives weren't accusing everyone who asked a question about the mission of being a Taliban supporter, they were big on saying you can't discuss a deadline because it's confusing to the troops. That was rubbish of course, because by accepting the current mission, we had accepted a deadline. Then of course Harper said we'd likely change our mission in 2009 and now O'Connor is saying by the end of the Van Doos rotation, (6 months), Canada will be in a back up role and focus on training. Even Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie, their biggest cheerleader, is saying this is folly.

Who is confusing the troops? As someone who has never been in the military, I'm honestly perplexed by O'Connor, or is it Hillier, or is it Harper?

Scott Taylor has a more realistic look at this new announcement.

Surely O'Connor's rotation is up? Wouldn't you like to sit in on the next NATO meeting? I'm thinking the agenda would be entitled, "What the Hell is Going on with Canada?"


Steve V said...

I just read a General Pace quote, wherein he anticipated a larger Amercian force in Afghanistan, because there was a serious need to help the Afghan army, particularly in training. Contrast that, with O'Connor's on the sidelines assessment and he makes no sense, nevermind the British position.

I think Canadians can accept a honest, sober strategy. What will really hurt the Conservatives, if they pull a Bush, raising expectations and creating false benchmarks that are doomed to fail. In trying to win support, O'Connor may well cause further erosion.

knb said...

I think Canadians can accept a honest, sober strategy.

I think you are right on that, but we're not seeing it.

It needs to be asked. Why didn't we see this under the Lib's? Graham was quite clear about what we were going to undertake. I wasn't happy about it, but he was somber and had sober comments.

Now? I haven't a clue where we are going.

I wish no harm to O'Connor, but he is not the right person to head this.

Louise said...

Steve, Canada cannot unilaterally set benchmarks. This is a NATO/UN mission. The benchmarks are contained in the Afghanistan Compact which NATO partners agreed to. You can view this agreement, which contains measurements here:
The document opens in MSWord. If the link doesn't work here, just Google Afghanistan Compact and you'll find it.

The Harper government has done a poor job in communicating with Canadians on this whole Afghanistan question. We should all ask our MPs to ask the hard questions when the House resumes.

Steve V said...

"Canada cannot unilaterally set benchmarks. This is a NATO/UN mission."

This is a three (maybe four) country mission, let's keep it real. Canada can allocate resources, like MacKay has announced recently, to speed up initiatives which we deem a priority. Canada is training the Afghan units, how prepared they become is our responsiblity.

You can't just absolve Canada, and if you do, I question the very nature of a mission where we have no say in direction, scope, or tactics. If that is the case, then count me out!