I have to make a confession - one that could end my blogging career.
I lack a strong opinion on Canadian participation in Afghanistan.
Shock! Horror! I know- a blogger without a strong opinion isn't really a blogger. But what can I say? On balance, I think Canada should be there, helping to try and put that country back together. And this necessitates a certain amount of military forces, especially in areas where the unreconstructed Taliban are still strong.
That said, Afghanistan is a long way from here, and my usual rule for Canadian military participation anywhere still holds:
1) Can military force help?
2) Can Canadian military force help?
The answer for Iraq (as prosecuted by the Bush administration, certainly) for both questions, is, was, and always will be no. That is not to say that the answer for both questions in Afghanistan is yes. I'm far more optimistic about our mission in Kandahar than anywhere else. But if either question is answered "no" in the case of Afghanistan, then I have to assume we don't belong there. (There is, of course, a third question - Is it worth doing even if it's a success? I think Afghanistan deserves our help, so I say yes.)
More depressingly, our new Prime Minister has taken a page from the Bush manual of "how to lose a war without trying" by a) making a secret trip to go buck up the troops, and b) has started describing the debate over Afghanistan with mindles sloganeering, such as "staying the course" so we don't "cut and run." The Conservatives and their supporters should realize that empty slogans haven't helped in Iraq, and they won't in Afghanistan. Free tip: The way to win the war is to actually win the war.
Anyway, for now I won't be able to express a strong opinion either way. But when I'm ready, have no fear - the accusations of treason will fly fast and furious, to make up for lost time.