Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Does Dion think Afghanistan is a Holy War?

There are a lot of criticisms against the current Afghanistan mission. The at-times confused report of the Manley Panel even added to them today. The mission lacks criteria to measure progress, a definition of success, and an exit strategy. It’s unbalanced. It lacks broad support in NATO. It lacks support at home.

But until now, one of those criticisms hasn’t been to equate the mission to a holy war “from a Christian/Crusader heritage.” But that’s before Elizabeth May spoke up.

Maybe May meant to say that more non-Western nations need to be involved. Maybe she meant something else entirely. But that’s not what she said. Instead she compared the Canadian Forces to a Caucasian religious army on a war to bring Christendom to the heathens.

This isn’t the first time May has shown simply awful judgment in choosing her words. One need think only of her recent Nazi quip, which she even waded back into in the new year. In politics, the way you say things is sometimes more important than what you are saying. May doesn't seem to grasp that.

No one knows why the Liberals didn’t comment on the Manley report today, but you can bet they wish they had now. Because tomorrow they will have to explain why they don’t agree with their coalition partner’s equating Canada’s army with an ancient Pope's holy warriors.


Scott Tribe said...

May speaks for herself and her party, just as the NDP do for her party, as do the Liberals for their party, as do the BQ for their party. I don't see the problem, though this post once again illustrates your willingness to go after any other party but the Conservatives.

Woman at Mile 0 said...

Exactly Scott.

Blogging Horse said...

Don't suggest for a second that Dion's staff didn't cringe when they saw that press release.

The Liberals have endorsed Elizabeth May as the candidate in Central Nova. Dion respects her so much that (against better advice) he has ordered the Liberal Party riding association to stand down in that riding.

For all intents May is a Liberal candidate. Liberal supporters may prefer to not see it this way, but the rest of us do.

Good blogging is about what's interesting. Rejoice that Dion and his running mate are still that.

Frank said...

Hey Scott Tribe: Why do you defend people who say stupid things? Isn't it possible that calling Afghanistan a holy war was not particularly bright?

Oh wait, I forgot... you are soulless and have no principles, ergo your support for the Liberal party.

Elizabeth May is going to continue to bring herself and the Red Greens down. This brilliant plan developed by some unelected and accountable geriatrics in East Block is now circling the bowl...

ericbwalton said...

Nice try but not a credible spin on Elizabeth May's comments.

The use of the "heritage" as in "Christian/Crusader heritage" clearly indicates Elizabeth May is referring to the past and not the present. Last time I looked "Crusaders" were around the 9th Century not now.  It is this past historical context that the Taliban are  using in their propaganda which is why it is relevant to mention.

j said...

lol! Yup. A bit of a stretch assigning Dion the responsibility for another person's comments.

Is this desperation or stupidity? Progressives would be better served by cooperating.

Blogging Horse said...

Eric, you make a good case for precisely why May should have chosen other words than she did. Her analogy was at best clumsy and at worst offensive. Sadly, it is a pattern.

J, where were you for May's Nazi comments? Liberals had to wear those, you will recall. Even her buddy Glen Pearson had to admit she put her foot in it.

And check over here (http://www.conservative.ca/EN/1091/96644). The Conservatives have seized on May's remarks and drawn them back to the Liberals.

So, instead of being forced to defend the substance of their policy, Harper and the gang now get a free pass to talk about May's mal mots and Dion's ill advised pact with her.

All of this sets back the cause of people like Jack Layton who want the mission to end for reasons that have nothing to do with Christians or the Crusades. If May wants to "help progressives" some good advice might be to stop talking. For the same reasons, Dion should cut May loose.

Malcolm+ said...

I agree that progressives should cooperate.

However, despite the desperate delusions of some, the Liberals are not, nor have they ever been, progressives. They are a hard right party that slashed social programs farther than Brian Mulroney ever dared and deeper than Stephen Harper could have dreamed.

Yes, the Liberals talk a good game - just like the drunk who promises never to do it again. But every time progressive voters listen to the Liberal Party, they find themselves betrayed yet again.

There is a word to describe people who believe that the Liberal Party is an option for progressives. That word is "deluded."

kevvyd said...

If May made a mistake, it's to use a phrase that can be so easily cherry-picked by someone aching to pull her comments out of context. If you take the time to read her statement, and it only takes a once-over and it's short so there's no excuse for error, it's obvious that she is actually talking about the optics of a Western-organized and lead coalition involved in a Muslim country.

You might not like the reference to the Crusade, but you can be well assured that the Taliban use it to full advantage. The call to widen the membership of this coalition to include non-Western "Christian" nations would go a long way to disarming this argument, and it's coming from more places than the Green Party.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I thought we were trying to get rid of Harper. I thought Harper was in power. I thought the progressive parties might work together toward that end.

You've referred to the Nazi quip. That was when May compared our leaders to pre-WWII British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. She never called anyone a Nazi. The Nazis were a threat and so is climate change. Your spin was debunked when it was pointed out that members of all parties had compared other Canadians to Chamberlain.

Nobody's still trying to spin old yarn that except NDP bloggers. It's an old smear and it didn't even stick the first time around.

May leads a party that is running candidates against the Liberals in 307 of 308 ridings.

"Because tomorrow they will have to explain why they don’t agree with their coalition partner’s equating Canada’s army with an ancient Pope's holy warriors."

Your post went up on Tuesday. "Tomorrow" would have been yesterday. I still don't see much of an outcry for either May or Dion to explain her remarks.

The attitude I see on this blog is exactly the toxic adversarial attitude that Canadians are sick and tired of. Mudslinging for pure partisan gain is not productive. We're sick of it in Parliament and sick of it in the media.

Time to change the climate in Parliament.

I'm curious about something. The Con's are the ones who are lying to us about detainee torturing. The Con's are the ones who handpicked a panel of experts to deliver a pre-written, prejudged report on Afstan, the Con's are the ones who want us to stand shoulder to shoulder with George Bush's army. The Con's are the ones who want us to keep fighting and dying for Karzai's Islamic Republic and Sharia Law.

Couldn't you find a more suitable target than Elizabeth May for your vitriol? You even reference the official Con website to boost your case against Elizabeth May and Dion.

For those who think "Elizabeth May is going to continue to bring herself and the Red Greens down," I suggest a look at the polls. The GPC has been rising steadily -- mostly at the expense of the Grits and Cons.


Blogging Horse said...

Jimbobby said: Time to change the climate in Parliament.

It's time to change more than that. It's time to get rid of the Harper government. But that can't happen as long as Stephane Dion keeps lending his votes to the Conservatives to keep them in office.

And where was the outcry from Elizabeth May in each of the seven times Liberals could have defeated the Conservatives but didn't? Not a peep. Not a word about Dion keeping Harper in power.

And thus, she has played her hand. There is no "uniting progressives" against Harper. Because the only party genuinely fighting Harper is the NDP.

Sad but true.