The report from the Independent Panel on Canada's Future Role in Afghanistan, a.k.a. The Manley Report, is now available to the public - all 40 pages of it. (Plus some pretty maps, a glossary of terms, some glowing biographies and a list of contacts).
Honest to gawd, if I had been sent on a fact finding mission for three months and produced such a piece of fluff I would have been torn to shreds. When I first read it I thought I had copied an executive summary and had missed the full document.
The report is completely devoid of details and provides nothing, absolutely nothing, that we haven't already heard before. There are no footnotes; there are no direct quotes from interviews and there is nothing that would indicate that this document was the result of three months worth of direct contact with principle figures in the Afghanistan conflict.
Because of its lack of references and detail, there is nothing whatsoever to support the conclusions of the "Independent Panel". And the conclusions are the same as we've been hearing from Harper since he started cheer leading this fiasco.
Manley suggested there were no clear answers and he's made sure he didn't provide any. He (and his parade) conveniently overlooked the fact that NATO was lied to by the Bush administration as to the state of security and political stability when they were coerced into taking over from US forces.
The "Panel" identifies an issue with which we are all aware: That Taliban fighters are using Pakistan as sanctuary. His conclusion? We should "monitor" that closely.
After making a comment on page 9 that successive Canadian governments had failed to properly communicate with Canadians as to the nature and scope of the Afghanistan mission, Manley drops this little prize on page 23: (Emphasis mine)
In 2005 Canada chose, for whatever reason, to assume leadership of a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Kandahar City and the security obligations that went with it.Is that communicating the scope and purpose of the mission? If this bunch was supposed to produce a report you might expect them to find out how we got there in the first place. Why did Canada end up in Kandahar instead of further north?
I know. Why won't Manley come clean and tell us all?
Well, it could be because apparently he didn't have to make all those trips, spend all that money and interview all those people. Good sized chunks of this new report were views Manley held before he was ever appointed by Harper to head up this "Independent Panel".
The Scott Ross has discovered the October edition of Policy Options and an article by Manley which was published before Harper appointed him.
Go ahead. Read Manley's article and then read the report he handed Harper. Or go read what TSR has discovered. It's not just similar; it's the same. TSR concludes:
In looking at the extraordinary duplication of Manley's personal opinion three months ago, to the now Panel's Report Forward, I find it difficult to differentiate what Manley had concluded three months prior to the report, to what the Panel actually concluded and if they are actually different.I hadn't expected much from this contrived "Independent Panel" but now it's a complete farce.
I know. The dog ate their homework.
UPDATE: And there I was nodding my head in agreement with Chet when along comes Steve V with some new information.
In short, the hard-nosed suggestion by Manley that Canada not continue the combat mission in Afghanistan unless NATO provides another battalion group is kabuki theatre. He knew before he left on his little swan that additional troops had already been organized.
We are being fed such a line of crap.