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The Afganistan panel farce about to end with the conclusion everyone knew it would come to.

This news is about as surprising as being told that Christmas will occur this year on Dec 25, 2008. The Manley Afghanistan panel believes in the status quo:

Many people who have contributed submissions to the panel say they came away with the impression that Mr. Manley and his fellow members are essentially in favour of staying the course in Afghanistan.

Even less surprising; the fact that the panel had already essentially decided that to be the course of action while listening to submissions:

“I basically said we should stay and continue our role,” said Canadian military historian and author Jack Granatstein, summarizing his submission to the panel last month. “I had the sense listening to them and watching their body language they agreed with what I was saying.”

Many people (myself included) predicted back in October 2007 that this would be the end outcome when this farce of a Panel was formed. I’ll recap for those who don’t remember: Manley’s views on Afghanistan were well known to all that he supported continuing the mission. For those conservative readers of mine who then rush to say Manley is a Liberal, it doesn’t matter if he is a Liberal or not: he’s a well known hawk on foreign issues, and he’s pro-Afghanistan mission. That’s all Harper cared and cares about when he asked Manley to lead this – he wanted to make this panel appear “non-partisan” when it really was just a “pro-government position on Afghanistan” panel.

I wrote back months ago if Harper really wanted to make this objective instead of using it for his own ends, he would have appointed a person like Stephen Lewis or Ed Broadbent or even a progressive lefty Liberal like one of the Axworthy brothers to the panel. The fact that he appointed 3 Conservatives, a right-wing Liberal who supports the Afghanistan mission in its current form, and Pamela Wallin, who was on record as wanting Canada to support the US missile defence program shows the farce this panel was and is.

Lastly, the Ottawa Citizen (or at least, Mike Blanchfield who reported this story) should be ashamed of themselves for being naive enough or duped into calling this Panel “non-partisan”. It is anything but. The only one who should be more ashamed is John Manley, who may be doing this because he feels it’s the right conclusion, but has left his Party open to partisan attacks by Stephen Harper using his Panel’s report and its foregone conclusion to do so. He either is naive, or he doesn’t care that Dion and the Liberals position is now open to attack, and that the ends in his mind (that being the continuation of the Afghanistan mission in its current form) justify the means. He has shown himself to be more of a “Liberal hawk” then Ignatieff with his willing participation in this farce.


3 comments to The Afganistan panel farce about to end with the conclusion everyone knew it would come to.

  • wilson

    ‘…when we want the combat portion of the mission to end in 2009…’

    Cdn soldiers have not been on a combat mission since Sept 2006, Medusa (sp?)
    Any fighting they have endured has been defensive or training missions.
    The Cdn mission was refocused on Afghan training last year. Well reported, but obviously ignored.

    Dion did not come back from Afghanistan demanding a change to the mission,  because,  he discovered that those demands have already been met.
    Dion’s ‘intervention’ message was due to the frustration of continued casualties in a non-combat mission. 

  • That’s pretty good NDP spin, Jan.. I wondered where’d you’d gotten to of late.  I realize the NDP want the troops out now, but to say the Liberal Party position is "stay the course" when we want the combat portion of the mission to end in 2009 is just another example of the NDP supporters wanting to attack the Liberals instead of the actual Party in power – the Conservative Party.

  • janfromthebruce

    Well, the liberals do believe in continuing the mission, as they voted back in "the take note" debate in parliament. Remember, the libs supports the cons back in late 2006 or early 2007 in that.
    I remember watching this on TV, most of the elected lib MPs didn’t bother to show up, and the ones that did, well they were in support. Remember, Harper walked across the floor and shook Iggy’s hand.

    And there bill to remove the troops was just about out of the south, so really the libs, for all their "talk", their walk and stance is ‘stay the course.’

    I just can’t read this any other way, no matter how many progressive lib bloggers try to fracture this reality.

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