We're extending! We're pulling out! We're staying! WTF? One wonders how all of this fits into Sandy Crux's list of Harper government "accomplishments."
FOLLOW THE BOUNCING TORIES: From that CBC piece, it's fun to watch the frantic dissembling and re-definition of the English language:
"I would caution you against saying dozens or hundreds or a thousand, there will be exponentially fewer," Soudas said.
"Whether there's 20 or 60 or 80 or 100, they will not be conducting combat operations."
OK, that sounds clear -- no combat operations. You're sure about that?
Soudas said the government would shift focus from combat operations and in-the-field training of Afghan police and soldiers to a development and reconstruction mission.
OK, then, that's settled -- we'll be doing "development" and "reconstruction." Sounds good. Um ... hang on:
The military's training mission will continue, but it will take place in the safety of protected facilities, he said.
So ... the military will still be doing, you know, "military" type stuff, like training. And that relates to development and reconstruction ... how? So tell me more about this training:
The combat-mentoring role currently undertaken by Canadian troops would end, according to the plan.
Um ... OK, I'm confused, the combat-mentoring is going to end. Right? Wrong again:
"You can do training in training facilities," Soudas said. "And when I say training, I mean Canadian soldiers will not be doing combat training of Afghan soldiers in harm's way."
All right, let's make sure we understand this -- we will definitely still be doing military-type stuff, but with lots less people and in a protected environment. But, still, it is military type stuff, yes?
Speaking in Welland, Ont., Friday afternoon, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters the government would not seek to extend the mission authorized by parliament in 2008.
"Well, let me be very clear …" Harper said, "Canada's military mission in Afghanistan will end in 2011."
I give up.
BY THE WAY, would it be rude of me to remind readers of this from only a few weeks ago?
Harper holds firm to Afghanistan pullout date
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada is firm in its commitment to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2011, even as a report from the mission's NATO commander says more resources are needed in the war-torn country.
"I was very clear in my meetings in the United States last week that that remains Canada's plan," said Harper, who was in Guelph, Ont., on Monday at a funding announcement media event.
And now you know what Stephen Harper's word is worth. Quelle surprise.