it does raise the question of whether Manley had already made up his mind long before he took the job.Of course he had. A-doy. That's why he got the job. And, as O'Malley notes, Harper would have had more than enough time to figure out what Manley's opinions were before he hired him. It was a charade from beginning to end.
As for the contents of the report itself, this too is just another low form of political cowardice. We, as a country, clearly don't want to be in Afghanistan much longer, if at all. But we spent a great deal of effort building up a self-image of not being like those other countries, who leave the Americans holding the bag in their wars. (Here, look at the slanderous treatment of Spain from most corners of Canadian opinion after the Socialists pulled troops out of Iraq.) That is to say, we've invested a lot of energy in building up an irrational image of ourselves.
But, well, war sucks, this war sucks as much or more than most, and we don't have the stomach for it anymore. So how to get our asses out without making it clear that's exactly what we're doing? Oh, I know, we'll stomp our feet and demand other people send their own kids, siblings and spouses to die for a shitty war in a shitty place, or we'll take our bat and go home. And when the rest of NATO quite wisely tells us to shove it up our ass (the Belgians will presumably be more diplomatic) we get to not only get out troops out of harms way (which is what we wanted all along) we get to blame our shiftless allies in the process. Brilliant politics, awful principles.
Honesty (anyone? anyone at all?) would compel us to simply say we have neither the inclination nor the ability to maintain a presence in Afghanistan as long as we have, so long as Canadians lack a national consensus around the war. We are leaving for the only reason anyone ever leaves a foreign war like this: domestic political reasons.
Honest media coverage of the Manley report, that dealt with the context of NATO diplomacy, would have amounted to a two-sentence headline: "Canada will leave Afghanistan, blames everyone else for it"
Not a proud day for the country.
That said, if it brings the troops out of harms way, I'll be happy. I would simply prefer to live in a country that was mature enough to call a spade a spade. Maybe it's time to learn another language...
Me llamo John...