...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.