Monday, February 11, 2008

Extending the Afhghanistan mission

Polls have shown that there is a correlation between the body bag count and the support for the mission in Afghanistan. The Conservatives have used the Manley report to justify extending the mission to 2011. They are calling for NATO forces to provide an additional 1000 troops and they will provide the necessary military equipment (such as helicopters) to reduce the risk to soldiers. This seems to meet the Liberals demand for other countries to pull their fair share at the same time providing a realistic plan for keeping soldiers out of harms way as much as possible.

The Liberals have outright objected to this plan. They feel Canada has contributed enough to this war. They don't want to abandon the people of Afghanistan but it is time for someone else to do the fighting. The military is to continue to help in a non-combat role. Questions remain as to what the military would actually be doing and how they would be safer as sitting duck targets. Currently most of the Canadian deaths are from road side bombs which do not distinguish between soldiers that are fighting or on non-combat missions such as training security personal. The Liberals will be releasing their vision for Afghanistan this week.

The Conservatives seem to have struck a solid compromise to reaching the goals of helping to rebuild Afghanistan and keeping soldiers safe. Countries such as France have already indicated a willingness to bring in reinforcements. If the reinforcements are not available the government would be entirly justified in ending the mission. The Liberals will have a tough time carving out a middle ground that is both effective and realistic. It should be an interesting week.

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