The one good thing about a lifetime appointment
If you asked me to count the Canadian Senators I could identify, I'd run out of names before I ran out of fingers. Some might find it odd that the first person that jumps to mind when I think of our Upper House is a Liberal: Colin Kenny. It's because he doesn't really act like a Liberal: he doesn't fall into the caucus zombie-line with each and every PMO mistake-of-the-day, and in fact, he'll criticize his own party's government when he feels it's out of line; he speaks and writes publicly where many Senators are prone to live out their sinecure in affluence and indolence; and he focuses his efforts largely upon military matters, an area of good government most Liberals pointedly ignore.
In short, Senator Kenny is the one good example I can see of a lifetime appointment to the Upper House used to its greatest effect.
Today, yet again, our good Senator has challenged the Paul Martin placeholder administration to actually show some leadership, and explain why Canadian troops are in Afghanistan, what we're trying to accomplish, and how long we'll have to be there to achieve our goals.
Along the way, he floats some shaky ideas. Like "The Americans are notorious for storming in, winning bloody battles, and then failing to put forth the resources to sustain the peace." Really? Like where? The Marshall Plan in Europe, MacArthur in Japan, and a commitment to the Korean south that has guaranteed a fifty-year peace are all counter-examples. I'm curious where he can point to the Yanks storming in, winning a bloody battle, and then pulling out and letting things go to hell again.
Or "There is no doubt that Canada should play its part in attempting to suppress terrorism in particular, and global instability in general." I'm all for suppressing terrorism, but a little bit of instability might not be entirely bad for the world. Stable dictatorships aren't a good thing. In fact, there's an argument to be made that short-term instability now could be the best way towards long-term peace later.
But apart from these peripheral remarks, the thrust of Kenny's argument remains sound:
Being up front about why you're at war is called political leadership. It's what our soldiers and their families deserve, and it's what 32 million Canadians must have if they are to believe that this dangerous mission is being fought on their behalf and if they are going to cast aside their reservations about throwing their support behind it.
Unfortunately, most political observers have long ago given up on true leadership from the mob in power today. It seems a reasonable and civil debate on issues like Afghanistan really is too much to ask from the Martin Liberals.