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Saturday, June 12, 2004

They never listen

I gave Stephen Harper some very good options, I thought, to manage the Iraq issue. I missed some equally good ones, I think. But Harper has taken one I never would have selected: dissemble some more.

"I continue to believe if the allies had acted in a concerted manner to put on [Mr. Hussein] that kind of pressure, we would have been able to avoid a war, but we didn't do that . . .," the Conservative Leader told a small group of supporters at a rally in Barrie, Ont.
The Globe is going too far with their portrayal of this statement -

The war in Iraq could have been avoided had Canadian soldiers been sent in earlier to scare Saddam Hussein, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper says. [Overstate much, Globe writer? - Don]


This is a departure from his statement in April of 2003, when he said: "We should have been there, shoulder to shoulder with our allies." [A "departure"? Because the statement now, and what he said then, don't seem to be mutually exclusive, really. - Don]
- and yet, whom among us is convinced that Stephen Harper really believes this? War could have been prevented if only most western nations had lined up behind the Americans. Saddam would have immediately complied with the UN resolution to the White House's satisfaction. He would have turned over his weapons of mass destruction. Oh, wait - he didn't have any! Is there any chance that answer would have satisfied Shrub and his PNAC advisors? No, there wasn't. No Canadian or worldwide troops could have prevented the war, because the American government had no intention of letting it be prevented. And Stephen Harper the policy wonk is no fool - he knows all this as well or better than I do.

Stephen, it's time to say you wanted to commit troops, but you were wrong, or working from the same incorrect assumptions everyone else was. Or it's time to say you wanted to commit troops, and you stand by that because it was the right thing to do for the sake of the people of Iraq. You need to pick a strong spot to defend, and then hold your position. Keep picking undefendable spots, and you'll be forever in retreat.

(Thanks to James Bow for the link to the Globe story)

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