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Warnings then and now (II)


 

Peter MacKay acknowledges the demoralizing effect of detainee mismanagement, dismisses the suggestion his government didn’t do enough to deal with a notorious Afghan governor, declines to tender his resignation. CTV wraps the day’s developments together.


 

Warnings then and now (II)

  1. I'd give MacKay a marginal pass on this one. Unless something else comes out, I think he's correct, there's simply not much we could have done about the governor. Maybe a black ops mission of "misplaced" sniper fire or the like, but I'm not seeing many alternatives in how Canada could have gone directly against the governor.

    This leaves the key point of how long did we know this was happening, and why haven't we taken steps to have the agreement adjusted once again. I think I know the answer to the last question.. it's one thing to get a black eye under the agreement the Liberals devised. It's quite another to have to take your own black eye.

    • There's also the constants change of story in the past few weeks that's left unexplained.

      • "I'd give MacKay a marginal pass on this one. Unless something else comes out, I think he's correct, there's simply not much we could have done about the governor"

        I'm pretty sure i read smewhere that Colvin's report [ or sources??] states that our military brass quite liked the governor, at least initially.
        It's all a horrible mess. Nothing over there is black and white and it's never very clear whether someone is angel or devil…lots of half angels,half devils i suspect. If it was any one else i could feel some sympathy for them. But Mackay and this govt has used up whatever reserves of sympathy i possess long ago.

        • "But Mackay and this govt has used up whatever reserves of sympathy i possess long ago."
          You've hit upon the exact problem I have with the fractious way this government goes about its daily business: the cumulative effect. With all the attack ads, the cheap ten percenters, all the branding nonsense where they make you into an enemy of the state or a criminal sympathizer simply for having a different perspective from them, all the bad faith, scorched earth politics, it's like they've never heard of reaping what you sow. So, when it comes to those occasions when Peter MacKay, for example, might arguably stand to deserve the benefit of a doubt, no one's in the mood for giving it. They have no reason to believe that he or his kind would do the same for them were the positions reversed.

          • Coyne made this point a while back. When your backs against the wall and you need to go to the public you need to know that there is a well, a reserve of trust that you have hopefully created. Because if you don't then who's going to cut you some slack, other than fellow travelers?
            In my time Trudeau was the best at this. When the sh*t seriously started to hit the fan, he went over the heads of whoever, and by and large the public trusted him…Mulroney seemed to lack the confidence or the chutzpah to try this…and Harper has never got it…or he simply doesn't care. He's been fortunate so far in not having an opponent the people really do trust.

  2. "The revelation is shocking, given that the Conservative government has for weeks been hailing the 2007 prisoner transfer agreement as a vast improvement over previous pacts"

    Just when you thought young Peter couldn't possibly look more ridiculous…Hark! I believe i can hear the distant sound of a knife being sharpened somewhere.

  3. Well, hopefully the CPC will have the decency to drop the "support our troops" defense, since, as suspected by many, their bungling on detainees has plainly let the troops down first and foremost.

  4. Dear Thwim:- a marginal "pass"?
    How pray – do you split the definition of pass?
    That he didn't personally hand them over while he was in Afghanistan?
    That interim rules laid down at the beginning of a conflict – a conflict that changed hands and focus early on during O'Connor's / Mackay tenure didn't merit new rules of engagement?
    Remember – the first part of the Afghan War was run by the US – and they didn't intend taking prisoners..rather it was a saturation bombing exercise! Then the war changed – detainees – not all from face to face conflict but – like the ones cited in Gen. Natynszik's field notes – were just motoring along a road – in the wrong place at the wrong time when they were detained. We knew by then that the US was using torture in other places – so we weren't going to turn over detainees to them. We should have set up detainee camps – as the Dutch asked us to – and all this would have never been an issue!
    But they didn't and now their crows are coming home to roost!

    • Marginal in that his actions don't add to his standing, but at the same time I'm not going to hold them against him.. yet.

      What differentiates it from a full pass is that "yet" part. If it comes out that there was more we could have done about the Governor, then it drops. Until then however, it's just kind of sitting there in the back of the mind, like some sort of fat little gargoyle, waiting to pounce.

      As for the request of the Dutch, I actually agree. But that doesn't tie in very directly with this particular issue.. and as we're finding out he's already failed bigtime on that issue anyway.

  5. MacKay is still insisting he hasn't seen some of Colvin's reports. I thnk the time has come for his officials to make a binder and show the reports to him. MacKay may have no need to see the reports for military or policy reasons, but surely he has a political interest in knowing what's in them. He needs some better communications advice.

  6. Looks like there is some detainees cover-up blowback against the Conservatives going on in the polls:

    The governing Conservative Party is still leading in Canada, but the Liberal Party has gained support, according to the Canadian Political Pulse, conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion in partnership with the Toronto Star…Across the country, 36 per cent of decided voters (-2 since mid-November) would cast a ballot for the Conservative candidate in their riding if a new federal election took place today. The Liberals have clearly made gains and now stand at 29 per cent (+6)

  7. Yeah, if I was a Canadian soldier stationed in Afghanistan I would be demoralized too… by a Defence Minister who refuses to do the honourable thing and resign for his incompetence and for lying to Parliament.

    • Luckily though, you'll likely never pursue a career in the armed forces.

      Not that I'm defending Mr. McKay or anything, but to put it bluntly you shouldn't speak for other people whose outlook and experiences are probably not at all similar to your own.

  8. The Liberals have clearly made gains and now stand at 29 per cent (+6)

    Can you believe that the Liberals were at 23% in the previous poll? Just a few points ahead of the NDP? No wonder Mrs. Krieber was so upset.

  9. Brilliant move by Peter Donolo, hide Ignatieff, and the Liberals bounce an amazing six points.

    • But can Donolo keep hiding Ignatieff indefinitely? Eventually, the leader will start to wonder why Donolo keeps dispatching him to a church suppers in Rimouski when all the action is in Ottawa.

  10. The stimulus funding is pretty well over…isn't it? You didn't expect Steve to maintain that lead forever did you? I don't care anyway…next week the libs will shoot themselves in the head over something or other…although…Maybe, just maybe Donolo is starting to turn things around…i hear he's got Bennet tied up in his basement, that's a start.:)

  11. In all seriousness, I seriously do believe it's backlash to the Conservatives handling of this issue. There is no other issue going on since this poll was taken that would be considered a pressing issue that would cause a drop for the governing party and a gain of this rate for the Official Opposition.

    I don't think Canadians like how the Conservatives have handled this detainee issue, or the fact they're trying to cover facts up… or that they might have been trying to pull a "See no Evil, Hear No Evil Speak No Evil" line about Afghan torture.

  12. "Luckily though, you'll likely never pursue a career in the armed forces."

    Sounds like, TedTylerEzro, you are speaking for other people whose outlook and experiences are probably not at all similar to your own. Rock-solid reasoning, dude.

    My main point is, that anyone with a leader or boss in the armed forces, business, academia, government, etc. usually prefers to have said leader to be competent and to not hide his or her deficiencies behind PR-spin and faux-patriotism. Mr. MacKay is clearly doing the latter. He should resign.

    • See, the second paragraph in your last comment is much better. Just say what you think about an issue, rather than saying you speak for members of the armed forces, or that you have some sort of fellow-feeling for them.

      • Ya see, stating a hypothetical: "…if I was a Canadian soldier stationed in Afghanistan…" hardly counts as stating that I speak for members of the armed forces.

        However, I do have a reasonable amount of empathy for members of the armed forces since I, like many Canadians, have also worked for incompetent, self-serving leaders/bosses (such as Mr. MacKay)….

  13. I was serious. Otherwise, yes, I think the Government has been hurt (somewhat) by this issue, and the opposition critics have handled this issue with the respect it deserves. With that in mind, I've always wondered how the Liberals have not been able to out class the Conservatives, it should be easy.

    • I've always wondered how the Liberals have not been able to out class the Conservatives, it should be easy.

      Perhaps the Libs don't want to come across like bullies. I mean…really–watching them outclass the CPC would be like watching the varsity captain shove the calculus nerd into a mud puddle. It wouldn't be pretty.

  14. What most posters seem to be missing is that our armed forces – in every theatre of war – are governed by rules of engagement – much like – if you will – the wheel of appropriate force that our police forces learn in their training.
    Those rules are essentially laid down by government policy – via the Ministry of Defence. Anyone want to challenge me thus far?
    The military – at the pointy end – have clean hands in all this – in that – if what they do is within these rules – they are protected at all times.
    It is when their politic masters – like Bush and Cheney it seems – condone what can only be described as "don't see – don't tell" deliberately vague directives – and I hang this one on Hillier now – it is becoming very clear that his ambitions for the Armed Forces became politicized – and he began to work to please his political masters…
    Sad end to a career really!

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