Sunday, February 17, 2008

Great post of the day 

Duncan Cameron at Rabble writes about Harper's attempt to make Afghanistan an election issue:
Conservatives are road testing their election strategy: while Stephen Harper is a real leader, St├ęphane Dion is not . . .
The laughable part of the strategy is the idea that splitting the country over the war constitutes leadership. In Canada, leaders unite a large number of Canadians, bringing citizens from far flung regions together around a vision, a project, a story, a common purpose, something with meaning that resonates with citizens. The tragic part of the strategy is playing politics with the war, using a failing military mission to win an election . . .
Manley, helped along by his continentalist colleagues Derek Burney, and Paul Tellier, played the fool perfectly. Instead of asking the obvious question: what Canadian interests are at stake in Afghanistan? And giving the obvious answer: none; Manley bravely called for the prime minister to step up, take control of the "file," and convince some NATO allies to commit 1,000 combat troops in support of the Canadian forces.
Nobody can be expected to believe that another 1,000 troops are going to make a difference. After all, the Soviet Union had six times the troops in Afghanistan that NATO does today, and it still lost.
Harper must now deliver. If he wants a never-ending war role for Canada in Aghanistan, he can consult with his pollsters and party advisors as long as he wants. He still must convince Canadians to vote for him, if he wants to continue to send our soldiers into battle.
While Harper can force an election if he wants, the public, not the prime minister will decide who passes the leadership test, and on what grounds. If the Conservative leader thinks he is smart enough to win an election on the war, he may find out a great many Canadians have decided he is not smart enough to deserve their vote.

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