On the one hand, the National Post's Don Martin gets it (emphasis for various amusements added):
Martin: Canadian base becoming a favoured destination for politicians under fire
A strange new pattern of Canadian political behaviour is gaining momentum - when under heavy fire, flee to Kandahar.
The base for 2,500 Canadian troops has become the runaway photo op of choice for the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers and government MPs trying to duck the harsh glare of their own poll-driven frailties and foibles back home...
The highlight of the first day was Mr. Harper visiting the same school where two of his ministers had already posed for pictures on separate visits. The school for the underprivileged received $39,500 from Canada last year, precisely matching the cost of Canadian International Development Agency Minister Jose Verner's visit with students there last October.
The only difference seemed to be that Mr. Harper gave the students pencil cases to put into the backpacks handed out by Ms. Verner...
These prime ministerial trips are logistical and security nightmares, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars to fly politicians and their entourages halfway around the world to give the appearance of personal risk while wrapped inside a protective military bubble.
And the sheer number of politicians flying into Kandahar in the last year has undoubtedly inconvenienced the military base in hosting a blitz that smacks more of damage control for the Conservatives than morale-boosting for the troops...
Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor has been to Kandahar three times with every trip taking off across the Atlantic just ahead of a rumble of calls for his resignation in the House of Commons. He was there just two months ago and is back there with the Prime Minister now...
If the Prime Minister and his ministers could report real progress, articulate a pressing reason to be there and actually listen to soldiers instead of unleashing the contrived rah-rah of their political thunder, there could be an argument to support their military manoeuvres.
If MPs went into the field of operations, visiting the forward lines to see the military's equipment, or lack thereof, in action, there could be acquired military intelligence.
But given they mostly stay inside heavily fortified zones, file no reports on the result of their visits and wrap the costs in the hazy transparency and hidden accountability that are quickly becoming the hallmarks of this government, they become a legitimate target.
And then there's the entertaining pontifications of the junior high school set:
Nothing wrong with Afghanistan Visit.
Frankly, I think Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to Afghanistan shows exactly what type of committed leader this individual is when it comes to our military...
Why the criticism? Because the Prime Minister cares?
The Canadian Cynic: because after we report on how the grown-ups feel, it's only reasonable to point out what the 8-year-olds are thinking as well.
It's what we call being "fair and balanced."