Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise ... Or Not

Strange that Canadian MP's would be surprised that the Canadian military is starting the process of withdrawing from Afghanistan.  The MP argues that the military's job is not to set policy--that is the government's job.  Sure, but the military has been told that Canada is withdrawing from Afghanistan--that is the essence of the last mandate.  So, the military must prepare for its departure.  If the Harper government is afraid to utter the word Afghanistan, then the military must go by the existing guidance--a withdrawal.

It may be the case that the Chief of the Defense Staff, General Natynczyk is forcing the decision by making it clear that he is preparing to reduce the number of troops on the ground to zero.  I had previously speculated that the Canadians would keep several hundred troops at the Provincial Reconstruction Team base so that Canadian aid and governance types could continue to do their work without having to ask for an American escort every time they left the base; and I thought that Canada would still provide 40-100 troops to staff one or two Observer Mentor Liaison Teams [OMLTs or Omelets] that are embedded in the Afghan National Army.  But over the past few months, various noises made by the Minister of Defence and others suggested that no Canadian military types would be in harm's way--which means no escorts for the civvies and no OMLTs. 

So, I guess I am as confused as the MPs.

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