Harper acknowledged yesterday that our 2,500 troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by 2011, even though the nation's violent ethnic clashes will not have abated by then, because "I think you have to put an end date on these things."
Sounds rather arbitrary. I thought you left when you accomplished your mission, or handed it off to someone else. Ah, but our Afghan mission is so unfocused it could be ended at any time.
Must be something in the water. While John McCain still labels a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq a "surrender date," the Bush administration has reversed itself and begun talking about a "horizon date" for getting out of Mesopotamia, something it once excoriated Barack Obama for proposing.
More startling is the PM's assertion that "I really don't think there'll be much appetite among Canadians and I don't even think among the Armed Forces themselves - although they probably wouldn't say so - [there's] much appetite to see rotations continuing the way they've been after six years."
News flash: A majority of Canadians already have lost their appetite for continued Canadian military involvement in Afghanistan. If the mission isn't succeeding - see here, here and here - and shows no signs of succeeding by 2011, what exactly is to be accomplished by keeping our soldiers in harm's way another three years?
Postscript: CBS reports on the seventh anniversary on Sept. 11, 2001 that the Bush administration finally is getting serious about pursuing Osama bin Laden in the Afghan-Pakistani border region, which is and always was the real "central front on terror":