Saturday, September 13, 2008

Fixed Afghan withdrawal date...fool me once

A thought occurs on Stephen Harper’s climb-down on Afghanistan with the announcement earlier this week of 2011 as a firm end-date for Canada’s military involvement:

Canada's war in Afghanistan will come to end in 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared in the kind of unequivocal statement he's resisted making for over two and a half years.

Harper said that 10 years' of war in the desert wastelands and mountains is enough.

``You have to put an end date on these things,'' Harper said during a breakfast briefing Wednesday.

``We intend to end it.''

This is the same prime minister who famously intoned that Canada would not ``cut and run'' as long as he's in charge, and who had steadfastly refused to declare a firm exit date until he was forced to do so by an independent panel that reviewed the mission.
You know, the last time Stephen Harper made a promise on fixed-dates it was regarding a fixed-election date for 2009, and we all know how that one turned-out. Don’t get me wrong, I welcome Harper moving closer to the Liberal position. But if we couldn’t believe the Conservatives on fixed election dates, can we really believe them on fixed withdrawal dates.

They may well have their fingers crossed this time too.

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Anonymous said...

Considering Dion promised withdrawal before 2009 I don't think Liberals, thanks to Dion, can say anything.


wilson said...

PMSH simply reaffirmed what Parliament agreed to.

'House votes in favour of extending Afghan mission
Thursday, March 13, 2008
CBC News
'...It also includes a firm pullout date, calling for Canadian troops to leave Afghanistan by December 2011.'

the motion;
"This extension of Canada's military presence in Afghanistan is approved by this House expressly on the condition that ... the government of Canada notify NATO that Canada will end its presence in Kandahar as of July 2011, and, as of that date, the redeployment of Canadian Forces troops out of Kandahar and their replacement by Afghan forces start as soon as possible, so that it will have been completed by December 2011."

patricia said...

Couldn't agree more scott. Liberals (Dion in particular) have no credibility on the Afghan file. Like so often they say one thing (particularly during an election) and don't deliver when push comes to shove. The NDP has been consistent in its position. They wanted out and they voted against the extension. Dion caved on his earlier position because he was too scared to face the electorate and prove that he deserved an opportunity to govern. His decision sealed his fate. Canadians have no interest in a leader who does not live up to his commitments or hold true to his convictions.

Beijing York said...

The NDP have flipped-flopped as well, sadly enough. They had a brief period where they demanded the withdrawl of Canadian troops. Except for the brief window, the rest of their rhetoric is to move the troops to a safer location within Afghanistan and a less aggressive role (like "reconstruction" and "training"). My sense is that the NDP is divided on this issue and that's why they have effectively ignored it on their web site and campaign. Let's not kid ourselves, it's been a long while since any party has taken an anti-war stance.

Deb Prothero said...

So Dion makes an announcement on Afghanistan in the morning. Harper reiterates the announcement and he gets credit for the idea. Wow and its a real, shiny new proposal...previously negotiated between Dion and Harper.

Let's all just clap for both of them and get back to the other issues. This one was already solved on March 13, 2008.

Next, please.
Economy, environment, health care, etc.

patricia said...

The NDP always said that they believed that our role should be as peace keepers or a role focused on development. I actually don't see a flip flop in that. I believe that the position is still that the troops would come home for the retooling of the mission. That is the last thing that I heard when I listened to Jack speak on this issue. Seems pretty consistent to me.

penlan said...

At the same time Harper spoke of "withdrawing in 2011, nothing new there btw, he added "...that of course we will have to leave some soldiers behind as advisors".

Probably most of them I'm sure. I don't believe Harper for a second. If he is re-elected, minority or majority, he will extend the mission & worse - we'll probably end up fighting alongside U.S. forces in Pakistan or possibly even Iran. The multi-national forces in Afghanistan are soon going to be under the complete command of the U.S. military.

Harper is a war boy who likes to play with all of those war toys. And he loves the U.S. way of doing things. It doesn't matter who wins the U.S. election as even Obama has said he wants to go into Pakistan after Taliban & possibly beyond.

Patrick said...

I just saw a few of your YouTube videos. Great work!

I'm just trying to promote my own, creating quite a stir I hope - and some laughs!!

Keep up the good work,

Mike514 said...

On a side note: Any thoughts on the Liberal campaign thus far? You've been focusing mostly on the Tories and NDP, and largely ignoring Liberals. It would be nice to get your opinions on the Liberal campaign as well.