You've heard it for the past few years from neoconservative hawks in the US: "If we question why we're in Iraq, that just emboldens the enemy." Now we're hearing it in Canada, regarding our involvement in Afghanistan.
Jim Davis, father of Cpl. Paul Davis, a 28-year old Canadian soldier who was killed in Kandahar in March, ripped into Jack Layton after he'd questioned why we're over there.
Layton: "This is not the right mission for Canada. There is no balance. In particular, it lacks a comprehensive rebuilding plan and commensurate development assistance."
Davis: "That's ridiculous, and I can't believe he would do that, endanger the lives of our soldiers by saying such a thing."
The logic of Davis' statement doesn't add up for me. I can't picture the leaders of the Taliban picking up the Globe and Mail, reading Jack Layton's statements (he's the leader of the third-most powerful political party in a backward, snow-covered, hockey-obsessed nation) and saying, "Holy shit, fellas, we've got these bastards on the ropes!"
Even if the Taliban does subscribe to Canada's National Newspaper — which I doubt they do — I'm more than willing to let Layton's comments stand. We live in a democracy, and in democracies there are always going to be differences of opinion. Meaningful debate shows that we're willing to consider alternatives and, more importantly, willing to change course if things aren't working.
(This has unfortunately been largely absent in the US south of the border since 9/11, since questioning things apparently means "you're with the turrr-urrr-issts" in the black-and-white world of Dubya.)
Besides, I gotta side with Jack on this one. Why the hell are we in Afghanistan, anyway? The sceptic in me says we got suckered into being there by the US so they could pour more resources into the sinkhole which Iraq has become. But I'm sceptical like that.