MacKay is attempting to downplay the criticism leveled at NATO troops by US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay dealt with a case of diplomatic friendly fire Wednesday and was forced to defend the inadvertent criticism of his U.S. counterpart about the quality of NATO forces fighting in southern Afghanistan.Ahem! Bullshit.
The reported comments by U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates rankled allies around the world and touched a raw nerve in Canada at a time when the Conservative government is trying to convince a reluctant public that the Kandahar mission should continue in some form.
In a Los Angeles Times article, Mr. Gates complained about NATO troops in southern Afghanistan not knowing how to fight a guerrilla insurgency and referred to allies that have sent significant numbers of combat troops to fight, often in the "face of widespread opposition at home."
Mr. MacKay emphatically denied the criticism was aimed at Canada and that Mr. Gates telephoned to apologize for any unintended slight, claiming the remarks were misinterpreted.
"You'll note there's no reference to Canada in that statement," Mr. MacKay said, answering reporters' questions after announcing a new deal for military cargo planes.
"I take him at his word. If there's further explanation as to who he was referring to — or the specifics of that comment, you'd have to direct them to him."
Gates was throwing a temper tantrum because things in Afghanistan are little better now than they were in 2002. What he won't acknowledge is that the fault lays squarely with the Bush administration for screwing up the job in the first place.
There is something interesting out of this little US-spits-on-allies episode though.
Apparently all the sunshine the Harperites continually attempt to blow up everyone's ass about how so much progress is being made in Afghanistan is pure crap.
If the US SecDef is concerned that NATO forces don't have a grip on counter-insurgency operations it's because the insurgency is alive and growing.
That MacKay is a liar and remarkably stupid isn't worth getting into. But Gates needs to be taken to the woodshed. The reason a counter-insurgency operation is so difficult to mount is because that's not what is being fought. The Bush administration never did secure Afghanistan properly. The distraction with Iraq robbed the Afghanistan occupation of the necessary troops to do the job.
And as for not knowing how to deal with an insurgency, I would suggest Gates and his pet puppy MacKay do a little light reading. I do believe the British wrote the book on counter-insurgency operations.
What a pair of incredible shitheads.