Thursday, August 31, 2006

What The Hell Is The NDP Trying To Say About Afghanistan?!

Most of the time, I agree with the policies of the NDP. That's the reason why this blog is named "Northern BC Dipper". But I'm finding myself confused about the NDP's statement released regarding Afghanistan. It seems that the NDP is calling for troop withdrawal.

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?
This questions are valid, they should be answered, and they have not been answered in regards to the second Afghanistan 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.


wilson61 said...

NDP did not back the vote re:extention of mission, so this isn't news.
However, there was a vote, and it passed, and Jack should respect that he lost the vote, troops will be Afghanistan for 2 more years.
Demand answers, yes; demand withdrawl of troops is playing to the Greens, and rather sad and pathetic.
to clarify your leaders demand:

OTTAWA (CP) - NDP Leader Jack Layton says Canada should pull its troops out of Afghanistan by February.

Northern BC Dipper said...


From what I remember, the reason why the NDP did not vote for the "extention of mission", or the "new mission" as they called it, is was they were concerned that the focus shifted from reconstruction and stablization to aggressive counter-insurgency measures, so I still think that withdrawing from Afghanistan is a major leap from that.

But I'm sorry, I can't say the Macleans link really clears anything up; besides I prefer first-source material (when I can get access to it). I believe that I have highlighted the confusing parts of the source material in my post.

The JF said...

"Playing to the Greens", now there's a new one...

The JF said...

Oh, and I wasn't being sarcastic, I think that's an interesting, new accusation held against the NDP. I think we'll hear it a lot on the Tory and Liberal side: "Jack is only doing this to get Green votes, blah blah"

I also don't think the troops should be pulled out, but to better define the mission would be a smart move.

Northern BC Dipper said...

What Green votes? ;)

wilson61 said...

Buzz said that the NDP is too far right. The only thing left of the NDP is Liz and the Greens.

Jack has to be worried about splitting the left further, at least he should be with all the talk of the Greens surpasing NDP next election.

wilson61 said...

Jack's statement:
That's why I'm announcing that as a first step, New Democrats are calling for the withdrawal of Canadian troops from the combat mission in southern Afghanistan. Withdrawal should begin as soon as possible - working with our international partners to ensure a safe and smooth transition - but with a view to having it complete by February 2007.

wilson61 said...

''withdrawal of Canadian troops from the combat mission in southern Afghanistan''

So he wants us out of the fighting and manning the Tim Hortons.

Or, he wants our soldiers to be out of harms way and on construction crews.

Or, he wants the troops to go to Darfur, even tho white guys are not wanted there, and it is oh so much safer (not)

What the hell does Jack want?

Northern BC Dipper said...

Who cares about Buzz says? It looks like the man does not have much up in the brain department anyway, supporting the Liberals then calling the NDP not left enough. I'm glad he and his union are gone from the NDP.

The Greens are not going to get anywhere, despite the wishings of right-wing columists everywhere. They only have like 8,000 (about 3,000 who voted in the leadership race) members and 5% of the popular vote. The NDP has, well 52,000 that voted in the last leadership race, so total amount of membership is higher, 20% of the popular vote and 29 seats. The Greens are not going to surpass the NDP anytime soon.

What the hell does Jack want [regarding Afghanistan]?

Well, that's that the title of the post is asking...

Lobster Thermidor said...

NBCD: While I disagree with you views on Afghanistan and Kennedy, I must tip my hat and congratulate you for being willing to criticize your party's policy. The blogoshpere is polluted with dull partisan hacks, and to your credit, you are not one of these.