The end is the beginning is the end -

The end is the beginning is the end


Defence Minister Peter MacKay comments from Kandahar.

MacKay said Natynczyk’s interpretation of Parliament’s instructions to withdraw from Kandahar was “reflective of what everyone from the prime minister on down views as those instructions.”

But MacKay was unclear on what direction the mission would take after 2011 and whether it would involve regions of the country outside of Kandahar. “The military mission is changing,” he said. “It is obviously transitioning at 2011 to emphasis on reconstruction, development, things that we are doing now but we’ll be able to do more. And clearly, there is discussion as to how this is going to take place. We’re tasked with that now.”

The previously stated positions of Gen. Natynczyk and the Prime Minister’s Office are here. Full audio of the Defence Minister’s comments are here. And a rather interesting interview with Hamid Karzai is here.


The end is the beginning is the end

  1. So I guess were staying in Afghanistan then. Put away your suitcases boys.

  2. Does anyone understand Aaron's perspective on this issue? Everyone is debating what the mission should look like in 2011 – President Obama is struggling with a serious strategic rethinking of the mission, with conflicting, public advice from his top military and diplomatic people in Afghanistan. Is there some reason Aaron keeps highlighting the fact that Canada is withdrawing from Kandahar but hasn't decided with its allies exactly what will happen in two years?

  3. Maybe someone knowledgeable in armed services logistics would know for certain but surely it matters where Army is withdrawing to when they are planning their withdrawal. There must be a difference between getting ready to move to a different area within Afghan then preparing to move back to Canada.

  4. 'Is there some reason Aaron keeps highlighting the fact that Canada is withdrawing from Kandahar but hasn't decided with its allies exactly what will happen in two years?'

    Aaron givesLibs something to howl about, nothing deeper than that here.

  5. Maybe we could provide an example for Afghanistan and the world by involving the people of Canada in deciding what our role, if any, should be in that country.

    Having a 10 year war wasn't part of anyone's platform in any of the 3 election campaigns we've had since 2001. The "debate" in the House of Commons presumed a continuing Canadian role in Afghanistan, and government representatives have consistently sneered at anyone who wanted to do otherwise. The representative branch has shirked its responsiblity to deal with a difficult subject openly and honestly and the government is reluctant to have any examination of its decisions, including prisoner transfers, costs, or a clear idea of what its plans will be next.

    Wouldn't every Canadian be more comfortable with a decision that was democractically sound not just technically legitimate?

  6. Nobody wanted a ten-year war in Afghanistan, but certain events diverted a lot of military investment away from the country. Current policy is driven by a Parliamentary resolution that was debated in Parliament and supported by a majority of MPs. Two of the parties in Parliament are open to a Canadian military role there, two are opposed. What was undemocratic about that? Are you proposing we have a referendum on Canada's role in Afghanistan? Should we do that before or after President Obama announces the American government's preference?

    • I'm proposing the parties bring their positions forward in any one of the handy election campaings we have regularly
      and include Canadians in the conversation not just have their pictures taken in front of helicopters. I'm proposing we have a real debate, not a fake debate about a resolution that is so unclear it could actually mean a military mission in Hellmund Province instead of Kandahar.

      And no, I'm not proposing a referendum. Unlike the current Government (and maybe the Official Opposition on this point) I actually believe in representative democracy, I'm just saying that we aren't getting the representation.

      And Obama's preference is largely irrelevant to our decision. That's how we got stuck in Kandahar, trying to appease the Americans who believed (and still believe) that we harboured the terrorists who hit the twin towers. We pretended that our mission in Afghanistan was about defending democracy and human rights, but really it was about gaining influence with the US and that is shameful and dishonest.

  7. The parties have brought their positions forward, both in campaigns and in Parliament. There's even the Manley report that provides the basis for the Liberal/Conservative resolution. For some reason, their contrasting positions have not been explained to voters, or voters haven't cared. The basic issue is when is it sensible for us/NATO to occupy another country, and how does this apply to Afghanistan.

    The New Democrats believe we should not occupy other countries, and that Canadian troops should withdraw from Afghanistan immediately and NATO should negotiate with the Taliban. They've also been clear about denouncing air strikes.

    The Liberals believe we should occupy other countries for a mix of humanitarian, security and geopolitical reasons (i.e. our relationship with the US and support for multilateral groupings). Michael Ignatieff has reiterated the humanitarian impulses that led him to support the invasion of Iraq. These goals have not been met in Afghanistan.

    The Conservatives believe we should occupy other countries for similar reasons, with less emphasis on humanitarian concerns. Their goals might be more easily met in Afghanistan.

    For both the Liberals and Conservatives, the US decision on Afghanistan is crucial.

    For some reason, these differences between the party's positions have not gotten much attention in the press, there has been little discussion of how NATO's policy should evolve and there's instead been a lot of Aaron Wherry-style silliness about Harper's "hidden agenda" on this.