Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Here's to John Manley

I've gotta hand it to John Manley. Less than two weeks ago I was slamming his leader Stephan Dion for a pathetic press conference the two gave in Afghanistan. Tuesday, a panel headed by John Manley recommended that Canada extend it's mission in Afghanistan. According to the CBC, the panel found that Canada should maintain its current role in Afghanistan provided two conditions are met:

(1) The assignment of an additional battle group of about 1,000 soldiers to Kandahar by NATO and/or other allies before February 2009.

(2) That the government secure new, medium-lift helicopters and high-performance unmanned aerial vehicles for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance before
that date.

If these conditions are not met, "the government should give appropriate notice to the Afghan and allied governments of its intention to transfer responsibility for security in Kandahar . . . The hard truth is that an ISAF retreat from Afghanistan before that country's own forces can defend its security would most likely condemn the Afghan people to a new and bloody cycle of civil war and misrule — and raise new threats to global peace and security," the panel says.

"In sum, an immediate military withdrawal from Afghanistan would cause more harm than good."

I'm very impressed by the intelligence of this report, and I couldn't agree more with the conclusions. John Manley's role is even more impressive, he has willingly contradicted his own party policy to make a bold statement for the benefit of Canada's national interest and International peace and security.

John Manley's contribution should not be understated, take his words at a news conference:
"We've heard it again and again, 'This is NATO's most important mission.' Well, it's time for the rhetoric to end, either they mean it, that this is the most important mission, or they don't. If they don't, then we need to look to the well-being of our young people."
This is a master stroke. It's a bold challenge to other NATO countries to get involved in a meaningful way in the mission. Canada is willing to sholder more than it's share of the burden, but we can't do it alone. Manley has also effectively put the responsibility on Prime Minister Harper to pressure other countries to play their part.

John Manley, you've done an excellent job. Prime Minister Harper, gifts like this don't come along every day please make full use of it. NATO - prove this alliance relevant and ensure we accomplish this mission!

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