Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dion in Afghanistan

So today we learn that Stephane Dion made a surprise visit to Afghanistan.

All the usual suspects have the predictable comments. In spite of the relentless taunts by Harper supporters...when is Dion going to have the guts to go to Afghanistan?, are now of course are crying, How dare he? and all manner of derogatory remarks. The problem with being a hypocrite is that you take the side of convenience. It's impossible to realise that you are deviating from your original stance because you never believed in it in the first place. It simply suited you at the time...period, full stop.

Anyway, I see this as a good move. Most of our country is in favour of ending our combat mission in 2009, (around the 60% mark if memory serves) and to have an opportunity to discuss that with Karzai I see as a good thing.

I've never believed for a moment that Harper wants to stay on to make a difference in that country. His stance provides him with the macho foil that he believes he requires for a majority. (Yo, Steve, have you checked out the female following of your party?) It's not working obviously looking at any of the recent polls. Here's the latest.

I'll leave my feelings out of the mission for the moment. A military analyst, Sunil Ram said the following today. I'm paraphrasing, but he said the military mission for Canada is unsustainable. Our fleets require replacement having been in that climate for so long and our Army, which is small to begin with, is having it's core burned out. He commented that these issues are rarely made public, but seemed to imply that Dion would be aware of this.

If Dion is aware, you know Harper is. We're not being told that part of the story of course. It's all about presenting a tough image for Harper. That said there has to be some caution in speaking to these issues in my opinion. No one wants to demoralise those who are there for they are simply following orders and we are all proud of them.

Here's the thing though. If they are given new orders they will follow those too with the same dedication and honour.

We've done our shift people. You cannot expect anyone to work overtime forever. Had Harper listened to Dion, NATO would be negotiating from a different place imo, though there is a discussion that must be had about how effective NATO has been thus far. I do not want to nuke it, but it must be re-evaluated.

Knowing that the Canadian troops were not going to stay after 2009, NATO would have had a different negotiating base with which to pressure other members. Harper attached nonsensical terms to Dion's strategy, mainly because it did not and does not suit his.

I'll wait to see what more we can learn from these meetings, but on the surface I see Dion doing in Afghanistan what he's done across Canada.

It's downplayed of course, but this man has spent a year listening. He's not listening to what he wants to hear, he's listening to us.

I think Dion is being mis-underestimated, ;), by the media. They love to make it short and sweet, but this man is doing his homework.

Contrast Harper coming into government. Totally unprepared.


Anonymous said...

About the poll does anyone really think that the Conservatives dropped 23 points in the Mecca of conservatism in this country "Alberta" of all places? That the people there cannot tell the difference between the P.C. party of Alberta and the federal Conservatives. Come on please! It's like saying that the Bloc dropping 23 points in the Mecca of separatism in the Lac-Saint-Jean region here in the province of Quebec not possible not going to happen and you know it.

For Dion going to Afghanistan the point was to meet with our troops I did not read this anywhere did you?

P.S. I know you mentioned the female vote, but I'm criticizing the whole poll itself.

knb said...

John, to be honest, that Alberta stat is crazy. No, I do not buy it. In fact you'll notice I'm pretty cool as it relates to polls.

Back off on your criticism of the trip though, until you've seen the whole thing. I'm not claiming victory here. I just think it's a good thing that he has gone to Afghanistan.

You were one of those who was screaming for him to get there. He's there now. He's done what you said he would not, but of course you have to find something to crow about again. I guess you missed the hypocrisy part of my post.

Anonymous said...

"You were one of those who was screaming for him to get there. He's there now. He's done what you said he would not, but of course you have to find something to crow about again. I guess you missed the hypocrisy part of my post."

No sorry correction KNB
I have always said that he should be going to see our troops there. I didn't see anywhere or heard any news that he went and has seen our troops. This is what I have been screaming about all this time.
So he has not done what I asked of him, that is meet with our troops.

Anonymous said...

KNB I would also like to mention that I do enjoy your blog immensely. Even if we disagree over 98% of the time.:)

Anonymous said...

I'm just glad Churchill didn't say "we're only going to fight the Germans until February of next year then we're out of there"... or we would all be speaking German now. Oh, and that Communism the Liberals and NDP love so much -like the wonderful Cuba - that would be ours too.

Some war strategy. Like, is Dion so entrapped in the insular world of academia and theory that he thinks the real world operates in school terms. OOPs. The bell rang - we're gone. Have a nice life little Afghanis.

I feel like the Liberal brain trust has come right out of a nice little textbook, soon to be a published theory by the professors.

Too bad the reality of today's world is not quite so neat and tidy isn't it.

knb said...

John, I'd like to see that happen too to be honest. I say we wait and see.

It will be contingent on how much security and freedom Harper allowed of course.

knb said...

anon, are you 12?

You're toeing the party line of course, but you're comparing apples and oak trees.

This is a mission that DOES have term limits. Harper keeps extending them at our troops expense. Guess what NATO is supposed to mean? Shared risk, balance, one for all, etc.

We have worked our shift man and it's time for a break.

Will we have to go back at some point? That is conceivable in my view, because that is what rotation is all about and sadly, I think this is a never ending war. Hopefully that will not be for years and if necessary it will be on a true rotation basis.

This is not conventional war and to position it as such is not only juvenile, it's completely ill informed.

wilson said...

Of course Dion will visit the troops. Why wouldn't he?
And of course PMSH will 'allow' him to.
Tho I think that security decision is with the military, not Harper.

I highly doubt that Dion would 'request' a visit to the front lines, tho. He seems more the 'assemble the men in the canteen' type to me.

It's funny how when PMSH visits the troops Libs/msm brush off the visit because ''it's all about the photo op'', and when Dion goes it's sooooo sincere.

Perhaps Steve and the evil Bush have arranged for the extra 3000 US troops to replace the 2500 Cdn troops....them being best buddies and all.

knb said...

wilson, according to CTV.

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion has completed an unannounced tour of Kandahar Airfield, including a trip out to a forward operating base.

I don't think it pays to underestimate this man. Harper certainly hasn't, that's why he's created the cartoon that many of you seem to have bought.

As for photo op's, Dion is of course taking advantage of them too. I'm still pleased that he felt the need to experience what is going on in Afghanistan, first hand.

ottlib said...


Churchill's Britain was directly threatened by a country that possessed a big and capable armed forces. To put time limits on their war effort was to invite destruction.

Those are not the conditions faced by Canada in this war. If you seriously believe otherwise I would suggest you commit yourself to rehab or at least share with the rest of us.

Canada's presence in Afghanistan will have a minimal impact on the final outcome of that conflict and even less impact on the security of Canada and its institutions.

However, the effort to rebuild Afghanistan is a global one so I have no problem with a Canadian presence. My problem is we have done our bit. As knb says, "we have done our shift". It is time for someone else to do the heavy lifting for awhile.

wilson said...

from the artile you refer to:

''On Sunday, Dion and Ignatieff also visited Camp Nathan Smith in downtown Kandahar City.''

This (and Tim Horton's) is not the front lines knb.

knb said...

No it's not wilson, but a forward operating base is.

Can you jog my memory? When did Harper go when he was Opposition Leader?