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Harper leans toward Dion’s and Liberal position on Afghanistan

Well, this is noteworthy and dare I say it, encouraging, from a Prime Minister who hasn’t exactly been known to be the master of compromise:

Mr. Harper said his government will seriously consider the Liberal proposals, which include an end to combat operations in 2009 and full troop withdrawal from Kandahar in February 2011. Mr. Harper said the Liberal commitment to a continued military presence in the country post-2009 is “really very close to the government’s position” and he raised the possibility the Conservatives would introduce a new motion on the matter

Knb said over at her blog it will be interesting to see how the Cons. and the supporters spin this sudden flip-flop on accepting the Liberals position (if they do indeed accept them), which as you note, does contain a definitive end-date. I agree with her that it will be interesting to watch the reaction, particularly when their position has been to argue you can’t set an end-date on combats (such as noted conservative cheerleader Aaron in my comments section in the prior blog-entry saying apparently we should stay there till we win – a la John McCain wanting to stay in Iraq 100 years if necessary. That ought to be a big winner in 2008 down south.. cough… but I digress)

So, if Harper accepts this as part of the Liberal amendments, does that mean Aaron and folks like him all of a sudden think end-dates are good, merely because Harper said it was ok to like them, or will he and his neocon friends skewer Harper for betraying their principles? On another note, I also agree with Jay from the Sleveen Institute, who said over at Knb’s site that Dion has shown real leadership on the Afghanistan issue.

Update: Aaron has clarified at Far and Wide in comments that he still opposes the fixed date of ending the mission. At least he’s being consistent. It will be amusing to see the reaction of him and other Blogging Tories imploding if Harper actually accepts this amendment.

UPDATE 2: One Liberal MP anonymously says in that Globe article this will all be a moot point anyway, as the Liberals will probably bring down the Harper government on the Budget before the Afghanistan motion is brought to the House to vote on. True, but showing in greater detail what you proposed for the mission and showing you were willing to work with the Harper government rather then oppose for the sake of opposing will count for a lot on the campaign hustings.


4 comments to Harper leans toward Dion’s and Liberal position on Afghanistan

  • I don’t really mind the mission end date so much as I do the idea that the Libs believe some magical mystery tour will fly in to Kandahar and take over combat operations while CF hands out candy canes and teddy bears and builds hospitals. It’s fundamentally flawed in strategy. I definitely cannot read this captcha thing either…

  • ALW

    If you’re going to call me a "typical neo-con" for refusing to run away from a group of people who threaten innocent civilians with violence, I guess it would be fair for me to call you a typical cowardly liberal for wanting to cut and run. But I won’t do that. It would lower me to your asinine level of debate.
    Earlier today you were implying that myself and others would be hypocritical and you would not hear a peep from us if Harper changed his position. Now you’re saying we’re all going to vent and howl. Which is it?
    Yes, you’re "encouraged" by Harper’s response, and then proceed immediately to find some hyperpartisan way to spin it as Harper caving in, being weak etc, while of course Dion is showing tremendous leadership. On the same issue! On a day when even Stephen Harper and Stephane Dion can set partisanship aside, apparently you still feel the need to get a few jabs in. Such class.

  • Aaron.. a) typical neo-con response… "endless" war til we win, whenever that is… and no accountability for either NATO or Karzai. You fit right in with that sad-sack lot south of the border.

    b) it will be amusing to watch all the Blogging Tory heads explode as they vent and howl how they were betrayed by Harper. Personally, I’ll wait till I see Harper actually say he will accept this first, because I still have my doubts. If he does though, I’ve got my popcorn ready to watch the Blogging Tory horror show.

    c) I never said Dion was "only" going to get credit. Show me where I said that. I said Dion has shown real leadership here. That’s just you failing to read my blogentry correctly, or reading what you think you’re reading (or want to read – you skipped over the  first line in this entry where I’m encouraged by Harper’s response.) 

    That said, all we’ve heard is how Dion is "weak leadership material" or his position on Afghanistan is not tenable. I was giving him props for willing to work with  the Conservatives, yet standing firm on his core beliefs and keeping his caucus together on this. I’m allowed to give him credit, Aaron, whether you like it or not.

  • ALW

    1. We most certainly should "stay until we win". Otherwise Afghanistan loses – and Canada’s credibility goes into the toilet (i.e. what good is a promise to the Canadians to help a country in need if they bail out when the going gets tough?) Then again, my position on this comes from principle, not political popularity.
    2. I don’t see why it would be ‘amusing’ to see my reaction if Harper accepts Dion’s amendment lock stock and barrel: my reaction is entirely predictable, which is that I wouldn’t like it, because it don’t agree with fixed end dates, which is what I’ve said all along. And I will say so. (It’s more likely there will be a counter-proposal and both sides will concede something anyway)
    3. The notion that only Dion is going to get credit for compromising is laughable. Both Harper and Dion will get credit, and they both deserve it. I don’t suppose you see the irony, Scott, of you trying to take a partisan angle on a compromise that is an attempt by both Dion and Harper to rise above partisanship.

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