I hadn't read the papers or watched the news much the past few days, so all I'd read about these supposedly controversial comments Stephane Dion made about Pakistan was mainly headlines on news sites and blogs.
Based on those headlines, you'd think he's proposed carpet bombing or something. D-Day Part Deux. When I heard yesterday that the Pakistani Embassy was getting into the game, I thought it was time for me to find out what the heck is going on here.
And the best way to do that is to go past the spin and look at what was originally said. Here’s Dion’s original comments, in the context of making a point about Taliban insurgents slipping across the border from
"If [Pakistani leaders] are incapable of doing it themselves, it is something that we could envision with NATO forces — how to help
I just have missed where he talked about invading a nuclear state, as invasions usually come without the permission of the country you’re, well, invading. What Dion said is really quite logical. If
Last night Jason explored where things began to go off the rails; it would seem when the Conservatives decided to try to reframe Dion’s comments as plotting an invasion or something, a meme then picked up by the media and the blogger hordes. Once again, the Conservatives decide to distort reality and use
Every step of the way though, from a snap vote on a mission extension, from refusing to lower the flags, to banning the media from repatriation ceremonies and lying about it, to misleading the HoC on detainee abuse, to denying information to the public, to releasing confidential information that put the lives of Dion, Michael Ignatieff and the soldiers protecting them in danger, crass politics has been the game of the game for this government when it comes to Afghanistan.
And once the government egged the media into distorting Dion’s comments, they’re portraying his correction of their distortions as somehow “backing-down” from his original position.
But in an interview with the CBC's Peter Mansbridge Thursday night, Dion backed away from the suggestion that NATO forces be deployed to
, emphasizing instead a need for greater diplomatic effort. Pakistan
"It was diplomatic intervention with an effort that must be more concerted between
and our NATO allies," Dion said. Canada
"Part of what we are doing in the south of
Afghanistan, in the , is nullified by the fact that the insurgents, they cross the border. They ignore the border, and when we provide security in that area, they may come back any time from provinceof Kandahar ." Pakistan
He’s not backing away from anything, he’s nearly repeating and further discussing his original position. The
Perhaps the government would do better to actually look at the issue Dion raised. And it’s not exactly a new issue; it has been raised by many, within
And I do a political smear job when I see one too. This was no gaffe, and anyone that actually reads the original comments can see that clearly. Let's not let the Conservative spin machine divert attention from a serious discussion on the Afghan mission.
I'll leave the last word to Garth Turner, who I think puts it well:
For the record, the Liberals are not invading Pakistan.Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers
I heard Dion has stabled his white stallion, sheathed his sabre and holstered his pearl-handled S&W. We won’t even send any soldiers. But, as government, we’d likely stop playing footsy with a pampered dictator who has enough troops to suppress his own millions of citizens, but not the balls enough to kick Taliban butt on his own borders, thus endangering Canadian troops.