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A tough choice.

On the one hand, I wouldn’t mind a bit if Peter MacKay left Canada to take up a job at NATO. On the other hand, do we really want him running an outfit like NATO? He’ll need to tone down or eliminate “the Russians are coming” screeching he and the Harper government have taken up recently, if he does somehow manage to win that position, as well as stop putting his foot into his mouth on other issues, as he has managed to do in Canada. Maybe if he was out from under the thumb of Harper, he might up his performance in an international role (though I have my […]

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Report: US wishes to have sole command of NATO in Afghanistan?

This story caught my attention. A report in the England-based newspaper The Independent from yesterday claims that the US is seeking sole control of the NATO Afghanistan mission against the Taliban:

The Bush administration is pushing for sweeping changes to the military command structure in Afghanistan, so that the head of international forces would report directly to US Central Command instead of Nato…The Independent has learnt that the proposal to streamline the complex chain of command, enabling US General David McKiernan to be answerable to superiors at Centcom in Tampa, Florida, rather than Nato, is before Robert Gates, the American Defence Secretary…Any move to make the Afghan war an American-run […]

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More on Afghanistan: or how NATO refuses to help

In light of yesterday’s story on how Hillier thinks it will take a minimum of 10 years to stabilize Afghanistan, (NATO’s head thinks it will take a generation), and the PMO hastily issuing press releases to disagree and claim everything will be stablizied by 2011, this editorial in the Toronto Star this AM was timely, as it showed us how Peter MacKay has utterly failed to convince any of the other member countries of NATO to help shoulder the load:

NATO plans to lease 20 civilian helicopters while military choppers sit idle at European bases. The Germans and French, shouldering easy duty, are willing to deploy just 250 more military […]

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Harper at odds with Hillier, NATO over Afghan stabilization timeframe

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.

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