Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Coyne nails it

Not a lot of time for blogging this morning, but I did want to draw your attention to Andrew Coyne's excellent editorial in this morning's National Post, Harper's J-turn on Afghanistan.

...Perhaps my decoder ring is not working as well as Lawrence's (Martin), but I don't see any U-turns in this. What I see, rather, is a J-turn. It's straight out of Jean Chretien's playbook. You run into too much resistance with a given policy thrust, you take a couple of steps back. Lacking a flashpoint, the issue subsides, your opponents relax their guard -- only to see it come crashing back months or even years later, when the time is right...


...There's another sense in which it is a good thing to seek "consensus" from the opposition. Read the last part of the Prime Minister's remarks: "I don't want to send people into a mission if the opposition is going to, at home, undercut the dangerous work that they are doing in the field." Translated: that's exactly what's happening now.
The Taliban read the Western press. They are looking for the weak link in the NATO chain, and having found it, they will exploit it -- by killing as many soldiers from that country as they can. If critics of the war should not be accused of supporting the Taliban, neither should critics of the critics be accused of suppressing debate if they point out that there are consequences to their fecklessness. The Prime Minister has invited them to grow up. They should accept.



Ironically, those very values that our sons and daughters are fighting for - democracy and freedom of speech - are putting them at greater risk. The Taliban will strike where it senses weakness.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

"But - but - (bluster) What about my freedom of speech? Harper's infringing on the freedom of the press! (Harrumph snort). You're - You're - um - a - A RACIST! - (Yeah! That'll work!) A RACIST! That's what you are!

Crabgrass said...

You're either with us or against us.

We're gonna stay the course.

Tony said...

The Afghanistan mission has put the Prime Minister into a real bind. For the opposition, nothing will ever be good enough.

If he sticks to his guns, then he is accused of adopting US President George Bush’s war policies and not listening to the people. If he reverses course and says that he will not extend the mission beyond the parliament approved mandate of 2009 without their consensus, then he gets accused of flip-flopping.

I think that this announcement and change of course is a very courageous and pragmatic thing for him to do. He is facing mounting opposition to the mission, not only from the opposition, but also from the Canadian public. It would be folly for him to continue without consensus.

To all of those Liberals and NDP who are criticizing PMSH reversal on this issue, here is a challenge. Name one Prime Minister who has not reversed a decision or changed course while in office.

Anonymous said...

It's also possible that the PM's thought process works like a lot of Canadians who are in 100% support of our troops but have doubts about the sustainability of this NATO mission. Afghanistan is a black hole that will only start to improve if they can start to achieve economic freedom so the NDP and Liberals need to convince their union allies to invest their pension dollars in establishing manufacturing plants in Kabul and Kandahar, after all they keep telling us war is not the answer.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

so the NDP and Liberals need to convince their union allies to invest their pension dollars in establishing manufacturing plants in Kabul and Kandahar, after all they keep telling us war is not the answer..

Bingo! And then perhaps Afghanistan can get away from the heroin trade.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Tony, on your last point, great piece by Chantel Hebert today in the Star.

Few regimes – including the most successful – have let campaign promises stand in the way of evolving political needs.

She then goes on to list those who have changed their tune after campaign promises to the contrary. I'm sure we could come up with more.

Crabgrass said...

"...the NDP and Liberals need to convince their union allies to invest their pension dollars in establishing manufacturing plants in Kabul and Kandahar"

Shouldn't the CPC convince their union allies to do the same? I've heard that lots of them are hard-working families who pay their taxes.

Gabby in QC said...

Andrew Coyne writes " ... Perhaps my decoder ring is not working as well as Lawrence's (Martin), but I don't see any U-turns in this."

And there in a nutshell is the difference between Coyne and other columnists like Delacourt, Walkom, Martin et al.
The former offers an analysis and a point of view on the merits of the particular case in question; the latter - D, W, M - have their own agenda, which is to tear down the PM's credibility at every opportunity.

Unfortunately, they are also helping the Taliban, whether that is their intention or not.

Anonymous said...

they are also helping the Taliban, whether that is their intention or not.




Damn Taliban lovers! I say we roll them up in a carpet and toss them off a bridge. That'll teach them to raise concerns about the handling of the mission.

Anonymous said...

Jack Layton & the Liberals may prefer that we fight suicide bombers once they are in our subways, on our airliners and blowing up shopping malls.

But grown up Canadians know that it is better to go over there to fight them than to wait until they come here.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Jack Layton knows he will never have to back up his words with government policy. He can therefore be as irresponsible as he likes.

Dion however, will have to be accountable for his actions.

Mark, Ottawa said...

I'm afraid, with heavy heart, that the combat mission is over unless there is a Conservative majority by next spring which is about the latest time we can tell NATO what we're going to do. A guest-post at "Daimation":

"Afghanistan: What our lack of stomach means"
http://www.damianpenny.com/archived/009727.html

Mark
Ottawa

Joanne (True Blue) said...

From the Globe:

'The gates of hell itself'


By MICHAEL DAVIE

Wednesday, June 27, 2007 – Page A18

Ottawa -- Having recently returned from a six-month tour in Afghanistan, I can assure you that planning to withdraw the majority of our combat forces by February of 2009 is a mistake (It's About Time Mr. Harper Listened To The People - June 25). With some of the best equipped, trained and capable combat soldiers in NATO, Canada will only diminish its stature with its allies by reducing its involvement in this important role and will risk letting the progress achieved thus far slip away.

The ordinary Canadian is asked to sacrifice little in this mission; he or she just needs to look outside our borders and recognize the importance of what is trying to be achieved. You can rest assured the ordinary Afghan demonstrates a great deal more clarity.

To reduce our role in Afghanistan is only to shirk our responsibility. A "we've done our part" feeling simply isn't good enough.

Gabby in QC said...

"... That'll teach them to raise concerns about the handling of the mission."

It is one thing to ask pointed questions about the mission, e.g.,
• how many schools have actually been built
• how many Afghani police have been trained
• how many shops have opened
• how many children have been vaccinated ETC.

But to suggest on the basis of one reporter's account that our Canadian Forces were *complicit* - that loaded word has been used by both the Liberals and the NDP - in allowing prisoners to be tortured is indeed helping the enemy.

Go ahead and believe whom you wish to believe. Other members of the Canadian Forces have fought in the past for you to be able to do so.

I choose to believe my duly elected government instead of questionable reports given by criminals and/or detainees.

In an ideal world, everyone would stay in their own (figurative) backyards & tend to their own blooming gardens. Unfortunately, that is not the kind of world we live in.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

In an ideal world, everyone would stay in their own (figurative) backyards & tend to their own blooming gardens. .

Well said, Gabby. Funny how the Liberals and NDP are usually the parties that say they advocate for the welfare of women and children, but it seems they have a time-frame for doing so.

Brian S. said...

It may also be a ploy to encourage the Afghani's to start getting their act together. Eventually the responsibility to defend Afghanistan will be theirs, and they are nowhere near capable. A little push always helps.

The Liberals got us into this, and both Bush and Blair will be gone, so who exactly are the lefties going to be pointing the finger of blame at when our allies begin asking us to stay once 2009 rolls around.

Mark, Ottawa said...

brian s.: "It may also be a ploy to encourage the Afghani's to start getting their act together."

We hardly have that amount of influence. Those that really count are the US, UK, France and Germany. The Afghan government is very thankful for what we are doing but know we have no serious influence with the rest of NATO, except a negative one if we bug out.

The Dutch parliament is voting later this year on whether to extend their combat mission in Oruzgan beyond 2008. I'm afraid our apparent unwillingness to extend our commitment may encourage them to give up too.

Mark
Ottawa

adolf said...

Sieg Heil, Obersturmf├╝hrer Coyne.

http://myblahg.com/?p=2143

http://myblahg.com/?p=2144

Tomm said...

adolf,

I like your style.

You will no doubt join me in booing Herr Layton off the stage then.

Let's get our troops out and negotiate with the Taliban. That's a hell of a plan.

Let's negotiate whether improperly dressed women should be beheeaded or stoned. How about the route of the Victory Parade. Perhaps the latrine and kitchen facilities in the "re-education" camps for western collaborators.

There would just be so much to negotiate.

Tomm

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Adolf, interesting quotes but irrelevant.

I prefer Coyne's:

...The NDP's at least has a kind of coherence. They are against fighting the Taliban, preferring to negotiate-- though what incentive the Taliban would have to negotiate after we had declared we would not fight them would be interesting to hear...