The defence lobby's counter-offensive

The right wing defence lobby launched a counter-offensive against our work to push for a parliamentary debate on the failing military mission in Afghanistan.

From his office in the “Calgary School,” David Bercuson had a centre-spread op-ed in the Globe and Mail Friday, declaring that if the Liberals’ motion to tell NATO that Canadian troops will end combat in Kandahar in 2009 passed,

Canada’s reputation as a reliable ally, only now beginning to recover after years of Liberal neglect, would be shattered. Canada’s national interests would suffer grievous harm. And all for nothing, because such a notification, delivered now, would be wholly gratuitous.

Bercuson dismisses the debate as merely a stage show put together by opposition parties just to embarrass the government (his column sounds like spin from the Conservative Party).

But he and I would both agree that if the resolution were to pass next Tuesday, it would be a political defeat for Harper (though he would march on anyway) and it would send a strong message to NATO,

It would be taken — rightly — as Canada’s judgment that the Afghanistan mission is already a failure without actually having any impact on the mission itself.

Bercuson is a fellow and Director of Programs for the hawkish, Calgary-based think tank, Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute. Its sponsors include a list of defence contractors as long as your arm, including Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics.

To its credit, the CDFAI has built a very close relationship with the news media: especially the Globe and Mail.

Last year, Globe columnist Christie Blatchford accepted an award from the CDFAI, and the Globe’s Deputy Comments Editor Natasha Hassan is touted proudly by the the CDFAI as a member of its advisory board.

Nice catch for the CDFAI, though I’m not sure what the Globe and Mail gets out of it, except maybe a reliable supply of op-eds from David Bercuson.


Tags: Afghanistan, Defence lobby