Sunday, April 13, 2008

Canada's War: Still in the Planning Stages

War News from the Globe & Mail
Our top political war manager, Trade Minister David Emerson, has determined that "Ottawa will start releasing progress reports every three months on the mission, a move that should begin before the Commons rises in early to mid-June."
Well that sort of makes sense as Emerson is an ex-CEO of one of the largest lumber companies in North America and everyone knows progress and success should be measured quarterly. But the war is being managed by the Trade Ministry. We are new at this
One goal of these reports will be to shift the focus away from casualties – the only broadly watched benchmark currently tracked by news media – and toward other measures.
Well that would explain the not lowering the flag thing and we better get those people off the 401 over passes every time a dead soldier comes home too. What kind of way is that to support a war.
Mr. Emerson said new benchmarks aren't ready yet but acknowledged reducing Canada's proportionately high level of casualties will be one. The benchmarks, which the Tories hope to be able to point to in 2011 as proof they've accomplished their mission, will track development work, education levels and the Afghan government's capacity to run its own affairs and maintain law and order. Mr. Emerson said his job is to bring “all of the disparate moving pieces” of the Afghan mission “together in a coherent way” so the Tories can adroitly steer its progress. “That's my task and it's probably an impossible task,” Mr. Emerson joked.
Emerson was hesitant to predict precisely what kind of Kandahar the Canadians will leave behind, but emphasized that the hopes and expectations of the Afghans themselves are being taken into account. "We are consulting with them about what the key priorities should be in their minds," he said. "There's not much point having benchmarks that are critical to Afghanistan's future and Afghanistan doesn't buy into them."
Let me see if I understand this. We are not supposed to focus on casualties, but on other measures, that the government will tell us about every three months, as soon as the Afghan government decides what we are supposed to accomplish by 2011. Then he jokes that it is probably an impossible task. Give me a fucking break.
Meanwhile, the country's top military commander gave the House of Commons foreign affairs committee a cautious assessment of the insurgency on the ground. "The direct threat is still very real," said Gen. Rick Hillier, the chief of defence staff. "The mission continues in a positive direction, but that threat remains high especially in the south of Afghanistan and especially, from our perspective in the west and north of Kandahar city itself."
What fucking mission is Hillier talking about. I don't think Emerson and him are fighting the same war.

But don't worry The National Post: is on the job, with a story and quotes from two former low level US and British bureaucrats that think Steve is doing a good job and making Canada into a real country.
"Canada is the model NATO citizen. Under the Government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada has seen a steady increase in its defence spending and a modernization of its defence capabilities, along with an increasing willingness to play a full role in international security."
Thanks Steve, this one's for you

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