11.09.2010 07:06 AM

In today’s Sun: the first casualty of war

If you are a bit confused by the Conservative government’s views on keeping our troops in Afghanistan, you’re not alone. I’m confused, too.

If it’s any comfort, I can tell you the Liberal Party of Canada’s position on Afghanistan is just as confusing.

Neither party is being straight with us about what will happen in 2011, when Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan was slated to end. Among other things, that doesn’t help Canadian taxpayers and, more particularly, it is unfair to the Canadian Armed Forces members who are over there, risking their lives to fight terrorism.


  1. James Curran says:

    Extension of Canada’s Afghanistan mission
    Since his election to Parliament, Ignatieff has been one of the few[65] opposition members supporting the minority Conservative government’s commitment to Canadian military activity in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Stephen Harper called a vote in the House of Commons for May 17, 2006, on extending the Canadian Forces current deployment in Afghanistan until February 2009. During the debate, Ignatieff expressed his “unequivocal support for the troops in Afghanistan, for the mission, and also for the renewal of the mission.” He argued that the Afghanistan mission tests the success of Canada’s shift from “the peacekeeping paradigm to the peace-enforcement paradigm,” the latter combining “military, reconstruction and humanitarian efforts together.”[66][67]

    The opposition Liberal caucus of 102 MPs was divided, with 24 MPs supporting the extension, 66 voting against, and 12 abstentions. Among Liberal leadership candidates, Ignatieff and Scott Brison voted for the extension. Ignatieff led the largest Liberal contingent of votes in favour, with at least five of his caucus supporters voting along with him to extend the mission.[68] The vote was 149?145 for extending the military deployment.[67] Following the vote, Harper shook Ignatieff’s hand.[69]

    Enough said. It’s time fot the members of the Liberal caucus to grow a pair and tell this leader that enought blood has been spilled by our loyal sons and it’s time to come home from the “unwinnable war”.

    • Derek Pearce says:

      If they’re just training Afghan troops, and thus not in a theatre of combat, they won’t be spilling any more blood. Not that spending the money on said training will be worth it– some hunch tells me the “Afghan National Army” will fall apart the second western countries have finally packed up and left.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:

        Derek Pearce,

        Bingo! And that’s why I won’t support any training extension unless it’s strictly and exclusively limited to police training.

      • Namesake says:

        re: “they won’t be spilling any more blood” in just a training role:

        that’s highly unlikely, acc. to the guests on P&P yesterday, which included Renee Filiatrault (a (now ex-) civil servant, who was recently based in Afghanistan as the spokesman for the DND), who explained that to actually train combat troops properly, they’ll have to go out in the field with them to watch what they’re doing wrong.

        Plus don’t forget, most of our casualties have been due to roadside bombs, not firefights; so unless the Cndns are going to just be airlifted in & out of (and not, um, from the UAE base) & stay as virtual prisoners there, they’re apt to be felled by IED’s.

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:


          Why will none of us be surprised when it starts to get hot and heavy for the Afghan troops that they’ll do their usual: cut and run as soon as the sun sets. High-tailing it the hell out of there goes all the way back to the Tora-Bora “success”…

  2. eattv says:

    I’m also a bit confused, but I’m not in any way surprised.

  3. I don’t get it. What is the difference between “Our Canada will play a role in Afghanistan after 2011. A different role focusing on a humanitarian commitment to help rebuild the country and strengthen hard-won gains.” and “We think that there is a justification for some continued mission in Afghanistan after 2011”? The way I read it, he says both times there there is a continuing role.

    I don’t understand the media confusion regarding McKay’s statements either. The idea of keeping troops in Afghanistan to train the Afghan army is exactly the sort of policy I was expecting.

  4. David says:

    You say ” I fully support our troops, without qualification”. Except of course when it comes to cancelling needed helicopters in 1993 by a government you worked for, which then results in said troops flying 47 yr helicopter off Navy ships today. I don’t think that kind of support is needed.

    • Warren says:

      So, what kind of copter do US Presidents use, smart guy?

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:


        Do you happen to know the age of the Sea King (Marine One)? It would be interesting to compare it with the shelf live of our helicopters.

      • David says:

        Warren I don’t claim to be a “smart guy”. That said some info I have found on wiki. The current fleet in Marine Corps Helicopter squadron 1 which conducts Presidential flying duties of VH-3D Sea King purchased in the late 1970s and VH-60D Seahawks purchased it the late 1980s both are scheduled to be replace in the near future.
        That is a far cry from what the CF is forced to use at present do to the cancelling of the EH101 program. Canada’s current fleet of Sea Kings which were purchased in 1963 and the first replacement project was started in 1983 and I remind you they are still flying today. So you are clouding the issue and not making fair comparisons.
        Why are they still flying today? Because not only was the replacement program cancelled by a government you worked for but then the same government never moved forward on a replacement of any kind! it was Mr Martin’s government that actually order new helicopter in 2005. Some support.

        • CHris Manzuk says:

          Wikipedia is wrong. VH-60D was never used for the Pres. I doubt it ever existed; the -60D model was a USAF SAR bird. THis may be a mixup with the VH-3D. The VH-60N is the presidential model of the blackhawk, a new build in the late 80’s, not a redesignation or modification of an earlier model.

  5. allegra fortissima says:

    London (dpa) – Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has advised the U.S. to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. The war was “not winnable,” Gorbachev said in an interview with the BBC.

    Gorbachev had been forced to announce in 1988 in his then function as General Secretary of the CPSU the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. The Soviets had been trying for ten years unsuccessfully to push through the course of the former communist leadership in Kabul militarily. Ultimately they could not break the resistance – also backed by the U.S. – of the Islamist insurgents…

    Gorbachev complained about the attitude of the United States after the Soviet troop withdrawal. There was an agreement reached with Iran, India, Pakistan and the U.S.. Therein Afghanistan was defined as a neutral democratic country which has good relations with its neighbours. The U.S. had indeed said that they would comply with the Agreement. “But at the same time they have trained insurgents – the same as those now terrorizing parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

    President Obama was right with his decision to begin the troop withdrawal soon. “As difficult as it may be,” said Gorbachev. The alternative was “another Vietnam.” (stern.de 10/27/2010)

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