Wednesday, January 18, 2006

He was doing so well until he opened his mouth

Babble on.

Jack Layton and the NDP have absolutely no clue how a nation's military functions - both internally, and as a tool of foreign policy. If they did, Jack wouldn't be spouting such utter nonsense to national reporters:

"We're very concerned that we could be heading down a path into a longer term war in Afghanistan as opposed to the role that was initially established, which was a peacekeeping role," he said.

"Our view is that the peacekeeping role is one that Canadians support. Offensive roles are not roles that Canadians support, and certainly our party does not support."

Now this isn't the first time I've commented on Moustache Man's ignorance as to Canada's recent military history in Afghanistan. But let's put aside his convenient memory lapse when it comes to Op's Anaconda and Harpoon. Let's disregard his willful ignorance of JTF2 and its ongoing use in offensive missions.

Let's ingest the appropriate hallucinogens and take a short vacation in Jackland. Let's pretend he's right, that there was a peace to keep in 2002 when we first sent troops over, and that our mission in Afghanistan was purely peacekeeping.

How do you keep the peace? In a country struggling to establish a democratic system of government, do you let armed anti-democratic factions retain control of neighbourhoods, provinces, whole sections of the countryside? Do you stay holed up in your base and hope they don't lob mortar shells down on to your barracks? Do you allow them to terrorize the general populace, stone women in the streets, shoot unbearded men?

Most folks with a smidgen of sense can see what a dismal plan that would be. Unfortunately, Jack's not one of them. Offensive operations are essential in a situation like this. It's not Cyprus, where we're monitoring a ceasefire. We need to create a peace before we can keep it, and that means flipping over rocks and stomping hard on whatever comes scurrying out.

Until the NDP can get a grip - a credible and serious grip - on issues of national security and the use of military force as an integral tool of foreign policy, they will continue to be rightly dismissed by sensible Canadians to permanent opposition.

Jack needs some better advice on military matters. Because a man who was properly prepared to step in as Canada's next Prime Minister wouldn't say what he just did.

Babble off.


At 11:48 a.m., Blogger pale said...

I'm calling it premature Jack Layton!

At 11:57 a.m., Blogger AlbertanFromBC said...

The thing with the dippers is, they seem to be content with their permanent place in canadian politics, their policies and the views of the electorate dictate this. They seem to be content to be some minor thorn in the other parties side for some reason.

I remember back in the Broadbent days, if I recall correctly old Eddie did quite well in one of the debates and their numbers soared immediatly after. This caused a flurry of activity in the dipper camp and they were soon revising long standing policies such as pulling out of NATO etc.. to make themselves more palatable to the general public when they realized, somewhat surprisingly, that they actually had a shot at being the official opposition.


At 12:15 p.m., Blogger RippleRock said...

Good post! The problem with Jack is that he doesn't HAVE TO say anything sensible and logical because no one actually expects him to form a government, including himself.

He says things that no sane person could disagree with on the surface (I mean, who doesn't want sunshine and lollipops?) but underneath that, he's a man of very little substance and vision.

At 12:23 p.m., Blogger Mark said...

Right on Damian.

Was going to crack this nugget this morning but got uber busy at work.

Thanks for this.

At 4:51 p.m., Blogger Mike said...


To be fair, this comment is more about ensuring that we have a debate on how to use the military and that, in a democratic nation, that debate takes place in the House of Commons not in the back rooms at the PMO. I for one continue to support our troops in Afghanistan as do most members of the NDP. That being said, its ok to have that re-affirmed in Parliament every now and again, just to be safe.

As for the NDP military stand, I actually prefer the platform from the last election. And though I know you won't believe this, the NDP came very close to having a very similar policy to the Conservatives this time round. But a few months back it was made clear to people in Federal office that that kind of plan was unrealistic due to logistics - where would those new troops come from and better yet, who would train them etc?

So for what its worth, it could be that the NDP would in fact support a stronger military, similar to the Cons position but listened to the advice of the military folks that said it was unrealistic.

As for his comments, well, I can hope he simply want to ensure that our troops have a clear mandate. There is nothing wrong with discussing it and that does not mean he or the NDP doesn't support the military.

At 5:15 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

Mike, with respect, I'll have to disagree with what the thrust of Jack's remarks were.

I agree with the idea that overseas deployments - heck, our foreign policy in general - need far more attention from Parliament as a whole. In fact, I wrote about it in this post, which I linked to when I originally criticized Jack for similar remarks. Credit where it's due, and all that.

But I don't think improved debate was Jack's point in bringing this up now. It was pandering to a support base that thinks Canadian soldiers should be hopped-up crossing-guards in disadvantaged nations, and nothing more. It was showing either an astounding ignorance as to what Canada's mission has been over the past four years in Afghanistan, or a contrived attempt to mislead Canadians about that mission.

As far as the NDP defence platform, as far as I can see this is it:

Jack Layton and the NDP would establish two clear priorities for Canada’s defence policies: the assertion and protection of Canadian sovereignty, including the protection of Canada’s offshore resources; and the promotion and protection of international peace and security through participation in peacekeeping, peacemaking and humanitarian and environmental support operations. Our foreign and defence policies must reflect Canadian values, rather than becoming an interchangeable part with the U.S. military.

Jack Layton and the NDP will:
- Insist Parliament review important defence agreements such as the 2006 NORAD renewal agreement and Canadian Forces’ integration with the United States military.
- Reorient Canada’s defence procurement to support the priorities of peacekeeping, peacemaking, humanitarian and environmental support operations. Total defence spending would not be reduced. Good pay, family support, and good basic equipment are priorities.
- Commit Canadian troops to overseas operations only under the auspices of international peace and security organizations.
- Speed up the identification, location and cleanup of all DND chemical dumpsites (both on land and at sea).
- Speed up the investigation and compensation of military and civilian personnel exposed to Agent Orange/Agent Purple.

I think this makes my point: the NDP has no idea how to employ a military as an integrated part of foreign policy. This isn't a serious platform. I can only trust you when you say last election's platform was better.

...the NDP came very close to having a very similar policy to the Conservatives this time round. But a few months back it was made clear to people in Federal office that that kind of plan was unrealistic due to logistics - where would those new troops come from and better yet, who would train them etc?

You're right, I do have a hard time believing that advice came from the military. I'm acutely aware of the recruiting/training paradox, but I don't know a single follower of military matters who would advocate giving up in the face of that demographic challenge.

With decades of neglect behind us, the process of rebuilding our military as a strong component of Canada's foreign policy will be a long and difficult one. The CPC platform puts us on that road, rocky though it may be. The NDP platform does not.

At 8:36 p.m., Blogger Paul Kimball said...

Layton is always keen on pointing out the more radical elements of the Conservative Party, always forgetting to mention his own (see:

The difference between the two is that the Tories keep theirs in check, because they actually want to govern. Layton and the NDP do not.

Paul Kimball


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