A dispute has arisen over how long it will take for Afghanistan to be stabilized so it can fend for itself.
General Hillier said earlier today it will take a minimum of 10 years for the Afghan army to be trained. The NATO Secretary went even further then that; he believes it will take “a generation” to develop and nation-build. (A generation is about 25 years last I checked)
Contrast that to Harper and the Conservatives, who are claiming it will only take 4 years to do so. They are either wearing rose-coloured glasses, or are trying to paint an overly-optimistic picture of Afghanistan to help soothe voters fears (or both).
And, as to be expected, the government is hiding behind its new Afghanistan commission of “non-partisans” so that it doesn’t have to answer questions about this apparent discrepancy between the military guys and themselves:
Skeptics have warned that the commission, whose recommendations are non-binding, will serve only one purpose: helping the government avoid questions on Afghanistan for a few months. Today, that warning appeared prophetic.“This government has established an independent commission to study the issue and provide advice to this government,” Tory House leader Peter Van Loan replied when pressed on the matter.
Again, I remind everyone that John Manley has helped enable this. For a reported salary of 1400$ a day. A commission whose creation now will be used by this Conservative government to avoid answering questions about Afghanistan, and which will then issue a report everyone already knows will come down mostly on the side of the Conservative government’s point of view, and then be used as a partisan device to attack the opposition parties with – including Manley’s own party.
All I can say is to Mr Manley, don’t try running for the Liberal leadership next time it’s available, because you’ll have even less support (if that’s possible) then when you investigated doing the attempted run after Chretien retired.
EDIT: For the record, I don’t object to Canadian advisers and trainers staying there for 10 years or “a generation” to train the Afghan Army, nor do I oppose stabilization and peacekeeping efforts. If Hillier is implying we need to stay there 10 more years in a combat role, and NATO’s top person hinting it might be longer then that, then I do have a serious problem with that, and with the Conservatives trying to claim to Canadians everything will be just fine in 4 years.