Thursday, May 18, 2006

A sad spectacle

It's hot and humid outside and freezing cold inside the conference centre, but that’s Orlando. Between trying to learn the difference between enterprise services architecture and service oriented architecture I've been trying to keep in touch with news on the Afghanistan debate back in Canada. And it sounds like it was a pretty sad spectacle.

As I posted the other day I believe we should be in Afghanistan. I’ve believed that from the start, and I’d been meaning to post about it for some time. I felt and feel that slipping public support was because the public hasn’t been engaged in a proper debate on the mission. That farce we had in Parliament was not that debate, and will do nothing to raise public support for the dangerous but essential work the men and women of our armed forces are doing there.

This was about politics, pure and simple. Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are playing political games with the deployment of our troops in a war zone, seeking to drive wedges into the Liberal Party in the middle of a leadership race. Smart politics? Sure. Good governing? Not so much. Disgusting? You betcha.

Why the rush to a vote? Why not have a proper debate, committee hearings where we hear from learned experts on the work we’re actually doing over there and where ordinary Canadians have a chance to make their voices heard? If Harper had really wanted to raise public support for the mission and show support for our troops, that’s what he would have done.

I was disappointed to see the number of Liberals that voted against the mission. I was disappointed, and I think they should still have voted yes, but I understand. Some of them are probably just against the mission on principle, but I believe many voted no because they couldn’t stomach the cynical political games that Harper was playing with a hurried, uninformed process. People should make no mistake: most Liberals support this mission. We launched this mission in the first place. What we don’t support is using troop deployments as political wedges for partisan reasons.

As to those who think we should just pack-up and go home, I respect your opinion but I disagree. Sometimes the mission needs to be peacemaking, not peacekeeping. It’s easy to say we’re for human rights everywhere; it’s harder to do something about it. Sometimes it means getting your hands dirty. I think, and I think our soldiers do too, that it's worth it.

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polarslam said...

I'm not sure if the Liberal MP's overall support the mission, I wish they did because our party is responsible for the mission in the first place. But without a government whip to mak sure they follow the party line they are resorting to their true feelings.

Yesterday was a bad day for my party on all counts.

Mike said...

Damn good post. I am one of the 'hawk' Dippers that also supports the mission and I agree with you assessment 100%.

Harper is being a jackass and has probably doomed this mission to lose more public support, rather than gain support, because of this.

What an ass.

s.b. said...

Bcer this is not the mission Chretien launched with the UN. We are in khandahar now, not Kabul under NATO not the UN. We replaced US troops so they could be deployed to Iraq, while our troops cannot be deployed to Darfur.

This two years carte blanche without proper information is a support of the US war on terror, a support of US troop deployment in Iraq and a refusal to help bring basic human dignity back to the people of Sudan in Darfur through the UN for at least three years.

It is disgusting that any Liberals voted for it, not withstanding the two days notice, rushed debate and incomplete information on the new misssion.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Bcer this is not the mission Chretien launched with the UN. We are in khandahar now, not Kabul under NATO not the UN.

Yes, I know, but this is the mission that was approved by the Paul Martin government before the election. I think we were wrong to do it without more public debate then, as I think it was wrong for the Cons to do it without more public debate now, but I still think we did it for the right reasons then and is still support the mission now.