Well, I'm not one to jump to conclusions, so I'm trying to understand what the heck Jack Layton is saying within his statement.
Okay, so apparently, as I understand it, the Canadian Forces mission to Afghanistan was largely one of reconstruction and stabilizing until last fall, when the Canadian Forces went to Kandahar and focused more on aggressive counter-insurgency. Okay, I understand this part: I can see people are upset with the change of mission and would like to see another change back to the first mission.
I also get the point the Jack Layton brings up these five questions about the Afghanistan mission:
- What are the goals and objectives of this mission and how do they meet Canada's foreign policy objectives?
- What is the realistic mandate of the mission and how is it being enforced?
- What are the criteria to measure progress?
- What is the definition of success?
- And what is the clear exit strategy for this mission?
Okay, so the points stating that the mission in Afghanistan has changed and that key question have not been answered are valid. So how the heck does the NDP make this leap?
NDP Leader Jack Layton today called for withdrawal of Canadian troops from the counter-insurgency mission in southern Afghanistan. Troop withdrawal should begin as soon as possible and be complete by February 2007.Now, I see the words "withdraw the troops" But what does this really mean? Does it mean withdraw the troops from the mission? Or from Afghanistan?
I support there being a change in mission most definitely. But I do not support total withdrawal from Afghanistan; I still think Canadian troops are needed for reconstruction and providing security to Afghans from insurgents.
The sad thing about all of this is that Gerard Kennedy, a useless Liberal leadership contender that only has the ability to spout cliche slogans, has a policy on Afghanistan that basically states the idea of trying to change the mission in Afghanistan. Of course, even he says that he wants to withdraw if a change in mission does not occur, which I'm not sure is the right thing to do either.
So at the very end of the statement it says:
Next week, our party gathers in Quebec City for our major policy convention. I'm asking New Democrats to send a strong message to all Canadians, and to the world, by supporting, in overwhelming numbers, motions that call for the withdrawal of our forces from the Liberal-Conservative mission in Afghanistan.As a delegate, I will tell you right now that I am not going to vote for any of these motions unless it is promoting a withdrawal of the current mission, not withdrawal out of Afghanistan. And considering that a large minority of members in my riding (as in 1 person minus a majority) have the same kind of thoughts as I do, I will feel comfortable voting in this way.