MHF agrees with Ignatieff. Harper lacks a strategy for Afghanistan. However she believes that this was evident all along and “Harpers lack of strategy is why I would have voted no”. This sets her and Ignatieff apart; both agree with the mission in principle, but she was more skeptical of Harper’s ability to pull it off.
Politically, this is a very clever approach and one Ignatieff and Kennedy should be very concerned about.
Ignatieff is found of saying that the Americans have made “every single mistake in Iraq and then some.” Other so called liberal hawks have said the same and over time a distinct line of criticism of the Iraq war has arisen. Namely, regardless of whether one believed in the Iraq mission in principle, Bush was never one to realize the hopes the pro war faction had for the war. Ignatieff has not yet gone as far as many other prominent liberal hawks in lamenting his support of the mission, but this line of criticism especially, in light of the most recent Lancet study estimating that upwards of 600,000 Iraqis have been killed in post war violence, leaves him with very little left to hold onto.
Where this bleeds into Ignatieff’s support of Afghanistan mission is that given Harper ideological closeness to the Neo Cons, his strong support of the Iraq war and yes his lack of clear strategy, Ignatieff, of all people, should have been suspicious of Stephen Harper’s ability to carry out the mission. Instead, despite a mere 6 hours of debate, he blindly threw his support behind Harper’s extension. Ignatieff should have been once bitten twice shy. Instead he backed both and laments how both missions have been prorogated; add to this his foot and mouth disease and it is little wonder why there are concerns about judgment – or lack there of.
MHF line is certainly an improvement on Dion’s line, for example. Under the guise that there was minimal debate in the house, Dion has still not offered an opinion on the mission. Dion is right; the reason he gave for voting no was a good reason. In a democracy, process matters. It is no reason, however, for not forming an opinion since.
As I said before, Kennedy should also be concerned about MHF line of questioning. Kennedy has raised questions about the mission and in many ways this has become the de facto Liberal position and the one MHF was taking aim at. That said, Kennedy has held out hope that the mission can still be transformed, but is his implicit belief that Harper, among others, can still right the ship, justified? MHF agreed with Ignatieff that Harper is not the right person for the job and I agree with them both. The problem for Ignatieff is that she is free to adopt this line and he, Mr. Johnny come lately, not.