The exit strategy is success -

The exit strategy is success


Wisdom from John McCain:

Setting exit dates from conflicts such as Afghanistan “defeats the entire purpose of sending people over there,” according to United States Senator John McCain, who said Monday that establishing security is paramount for success in the country.

McCain, who spent the weekend at a security conference in Halifax, told CTV’s Canada AM that the primary goal of warfare is “to break the will of the enemy.”

However, with the Canadian mission scheduled to end in 2011 and the Dutch and the British threatening to withdraw troops if President Hamid Karzai doesn’t take steps to tackle rampant corruption, militants know all they have to do is hang in until the pullout dates.

“If you announce that you’re leaving after a certain period of time, then of course you have the opposite effect on the enemy, who decides they’ll be there and they’ll just hang around until you leave,” McCain said.


U.S. Senator John McCain says military exit dates and exit strategies in Afghanistan should not even be discussed until NATO gets the upper hand in its fight against Taliban militants.

McCain told the Halifax International Security Forum on Saturday that “success” in the war-torn country is the way out of the conflict.

“The exit strategy is success,” he said. “It’s when you succeed and start to draw down.”

I seem to remember certain Canadian politicians saying much the same thing, once. But there were statesmen then…


The exit strategy is success

  1. I would like to see the government repeat these statements. Setting dates for something like this is not smart. We need to leave when the job is done, or when the Canadian forces are replaced by another NATO ally.

    • "We need to leave when the job is done…"

      Who's "we" here? You?

  2. McCain is half right.

    The exit strategy is either upon success or upon the realization of failure. Either one works.

    What does not work is to set an exit strategy when the outcome is still in doubt.

  3. U.S. Senator John McCain says military exit dates and exit strategies in Afghanistan should not even be discussed until NATO gets the upper hand in its fight against Taliban militants.

    And if that never happens do we just keep pouring blood and treasure into what would be nothing more than a giant sinkhole?

  4. McCain izs right of course however he forgot to delineate that all is a matter pof perspective. NATO is fighting the war and we are part of NATO and how NATO conducts the combat is by it's partners sharing in the combat portion of the mission by ROATING in and ROTATING out so the exit strategy really depends upon whether or not you are talking about the war in which case NATO is repsonsible and the combat mission which is a shared responsibility and MUST have definite exit strategyfor it's partners to continue – we are exiting our rotation and NOT abandoning the war!

  5. I'm not sure why the Taliban would care if Canadians leave and get replaced by somebody else. McCain's comments seem more relevent to the end date of the NATO mission.

  6. I agree completely. Leaving before the mission is completed is equivalent to failure. Offering an exact date for the end of military operations gives the Taliban something to hold out for, and to survive for. This gives them hope that if they keep fighting till military pullout they will have victory. This does nothing to demoralize the enemy, but instead gives them hope.

    Support our troops! Continue the mission in Afghanistan until the job is done.

  7. The problem is defining what constitutes "success".

    Without laying that out together with a means to achieve it, all else is pointless.

    • Thank you. We can't possibly assess what strategy makes sense until the mission (or "success" or "victory") is defined.

      McCain is talking tough but he's conveniently avoiding addressing the one question that really matters. For that matter, so does every other "leader", north and south of the border, who's responsible for defining policy.

  8. “The exit strategy is success…”

    Sure. And if "success" is deferred indefinitely–for, say, a thousand years–you simply remain in a state of perpetual war, like Orwell's Oceania, whilst mouthing vapidities about "the light at the end of the tunnel" and "turning the corner" every few years. "Wisdom" indeed from a man who still insists that the U.S. could have won the Vietnam War.

    But there were statesmen then…

    No, there were not, and the notion that the Canadian Dominion has–at any time since 1988– been graced by a "statesman" (or "stateswoman") whose prestige extends beyond the car parks of Southern Ontarian Future Shops is, of course, literally laughable.

    Canada is unquestionably less internationally relevant now than it was during the Borden era.

    • lol Who in your opinion was our last statesman Sir Francis, and why?

      • KCM:

        Mulroney, as much as I hate to say it.

        He was quite a bit less of a statesman than Trudeau, obviously, but his anti-Apartheid leadership, his FTA initiative (for good or for ill) and his constitutional gambits certainly qualify him for statesman status. Since then, Canada's been sleepwalking, essentially.

        • Yeah i'm agree with that assessment myself. I think Mulroney's a SOB, but he was as you say our last statesman. He could have been our best modern PM if it wasn't for his galactic ego.I loved Trudeau.I loved Chretien…but he was no statesman…and no gentleman either. I wonder if Harper will be remembered as a conservative Chretien? Ditto on the sleepwalking.

          • I wonder if Harper will be remembered as a conservative Chretien?

            Absolutely–as a Chrétien wanna-be, that is.

            Actually, Harper is what you get if you throw Chrétien's ruthlessness, Mackenzie King's shady gamesmanship, and Richard Nixon's paranoid inferiority complex into a petri dish. It ain't pretty…

  9. This "success" thing is a moving target. Wasn't the original purpose to root out Osama bin Laden? Has that not been accomplished?

    We've added a long list of new goals ranging from human rights and democracy to education for girls, but we haven't been able to get past the whole "security" thing, so I guess what we're saying is we aren't leaving unless the Taliban win.

    In other words McCain may be the only American left who learned nothing from Vietnam.

  10. Um, are you suggesting that we should be listening to John McCain on such matters? Probably not a good bet if you ever want to not be at war with someone. Research Project: Find evidence of McCain supporting an option not to invade or to end or to withdraw from a military operation (see, e.g. "We are all Georgians"). Dude loves war. It's what gives him the freedom to be all Mavericky on other issues that he doesn't care about.