I’m certainly no fan of Jack Layton, but methinks that Steve V. is being too hasty by assuming that the Canadian Press included a full and accurate quote of the NDP leader’s comments re: Liberal Defence Critic Denis Coderre’s unofficial trip to Afghanistan. [Update 10.07 10pm EDT: Jack Layton was quoted accurately. Layton was even asked if he thought the refusal was out of fear that Coderre would ‘upstage’ Bernier and Oda, but deferred from answering, instead claiming he didn’t wish to speculate – mb] That said, I agree with (*gasp*) Don Martin (phew, the universe didn’t implode*exhales*):
It should…be noted Mr. Coderre is among the greatest of all parliamentary publicity hogs, a man who would walk through Taliban headquarters wrapped in an American flag if there was a media scrum on the other side.
But he does serve as official Opposition defence critic and is a member of the Privy Council. As such, Mr. Coderre has a lot to learn about Canada’s most important military mission in 50 years which, in my view, legitimizes a first-hand look at a mission his party hopes to disband in just 16 months.
It seems only fair that Mr. Bernier [have found] a seat for his official critic on the government plane. The Afghanistan deployment is clearly the defence decision of the decade, if not the last 50 years, and non-partisan eyewitness input can be useful.
Regardless, I think we can all agree that this has to unequivocally rank as one of the most asinine spin-doctoring jobs by a Conservative this year:
According to the Canadian Press, International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda went before skeptical Afghan journalists and said roadside and suicide bombings indicate that the insurgents have made a shift in tactics. She said that shows the success of the NATO mission.
Oda said that she spoke with senior Afghan officials and they “identified that the difference in the challenge in Kandahar today can be seen as, to a certain extent, success.’‘
Oda said that such that although suicide bombings and roadside bombings were common in southern parts of the country, their shift to the capital shows that insurgents have become desperate.
Yes, it’s quite evident how a similar “desperate” tactical shift several years back has improved the security situation in Iraq. Takes a lot of chutzpah to try and portray the import of asymmetrical guerrilla tactics as a positive development (mmm, tasty lemonade!)
[mb: edited to add Martin quote, which, for whatever reason, disappeared during the initial proofreading stage. Oops.]