Monday, January 28, 2008

Daily Digest January 26-27, 2008



TORONTO STAR - Time for debate on the economy

NATIONAL POST - Canadians deserve the truth

OWN SOUND SUN TIMES - Nuclear safety concerns hit home in Grey-Bruce

WINNIPEG SUN - Too much secrecy

CALGARY HERALD - Green leader unrepentant over ill-chosen remarks

         Emissions plans share same goals
        Ottawa, Alberta not that far apart in their greenhouse gas targets


Sunday, January 27, 2008
War in Afghanistan 2008 Week 4

Manley panel gets it wrong
Report on Afghanistan the latest example of Ottawa hiding the truth from Canadians

Is there a military solution in Afghanistan?
Eric Margolis: Manley report on Canada's role in Afghanistan justifies failing mission

In secret trip to Pakistan, U.S. officials seek broader role against al-Qaida

NATO split over Afghanistan
Saleem Shahzad: NATO debates two choices - massive military offensive or negotiate with the Taliban

Premiers meet in Vancouver to map strategy to tackle climate change

Gov't firings cross dangerous line

It's up to PM whether to fire spokeswoman over Afghan comment, says Tory MP

Prisoner transfer resume once Canada sees 'improvements' in Afghan jails: MacKay

PM tests campaign attack
Opposition parties would spend country back into deficit, Harper tells Conservative audience

Majority still out of PM's grasp
Spring election wouldn't change 2006 result

Harper speech long on history, but short on the future

Both Tories and Liberals will have to step lightly

There's but one thing in PM's favour

'Misspoke' on detainees, PM's spokeswoman says

Conservatives send designated MPs to defend Buckler

Harper failing to lead Afghan mission: Ignatieff

Conservatives, Liberals running campaign training sessions across country
Tories say opposition parties have 'placed Canadians on notice they want an election as soon as possible.'

Feds collect student loans from dead students

Lobbyists to exploit loophole in new regulations, says lobbyist

Perfect storm on the global horizon

Geo-pipe dreams
Six radical ways to save Planet Earth--or not

Beware "populist economic conservatism"

Censorship not the answer

Open skies better for all

Equal rights necessary for charter schools

A ray of hope in the darkness
Bamiyan Province in northern Afghanistan is an oasis of peace compared to the wartorn south, and 45% of the girls are going to school

Abortion a divisive issue that haunts us still
For 20 years, ending a pregnancy has been a woman's personal, if agonizing, choice, while opponents maintain that it's murder

Pro-life v. pro-choice: The debate beats on
Abortion may have few short-term physical complications, and the psychological impact may not be fully known but opinions are firm

Long live Morgentaler!

The Day Humanity Became Cheap


        Manley was unaware of the alteration in detainee policy.  Was he also unaware President Bush had decided to send the Marines into the
        south? "Bush Decides to Send 3,200 Marines to Afghanistan" 15 January 2008
         Sources tell us that at the very moment Manley was in Ottawa this week releasing his report calling for NATO reinforcements,
         high-ranking U.S. military officials were only a few blocks away, planning exactly that with their Canadian counterparts.

         Manley being in the dark is not earth shattering.  Maybe in some minds the relationship between the Marines and our Forces are unimportant.

        Whether they are acting independently, under Canadian command or our forces under their command is of consequence in my view.
        The question is whether or not this will be a matter of "national security" or something we are made aware of.

        What do you figure are the percentages?



Did someone call for help?
U.S. set to deploy marines to aid Canadians


The head of the prime minister's special advisory group on Afghanistan, John Manley, says it "should not be that difficult" to convince other NATO countries to back up Canadian troops fighting in the southern, most dangerous part of that war-ravaged country.

Huh? So far, most NATO countries have been deaf to Canada's cries for help in the deadly Kandahar region where Manley says our troops are waging a losing battle without reinforcements.

So, do Manley and his panel of experts know something they didn't tell us in their otherwise frank and revealing report handed to Stephen Harper last week?

Maybe so.

Turns out the Yankees are coming in a matter of weeks, and the only question is how long they will stick around.

Sources tell us that at the very moment Manley was in Ottawa this week releasing his report calling for NATO reinforcements, high-ranking U.S. military officials were only a few blocks away, planning exactly that with their Canadian counterparts.

The U.S. recently said it would deploy 3,200 more marines to Afghanistan on a temporary basis -- seven months in and out.


Among those, 2,200 would be specifically assigned to help shore up efforts of the 26 NATO countries currently involved in the war.

But until now, there has been no indication how many of those U.S. Marines -- if any at all -- might be providing back-up for our beleaguered Canadian contingent at Kandahar.

The answer, sources tell us, is our troops will soon be getting everything the Manley report says they urgently need -- and then some.

The key finding of the Manley report is that Canadian forces require reinforcements of at least 1,000 more NATO combat troops, plus some helicopters and unmanned surveillance drones to reduce casualties from roadside landmines.

Here's what we are told is on the way with the U.S. Marine Corps.

All 2,200 U.S. combat troops assigned to NATO duties will be stationed exclusively in southern Afghanistan, some directly in Kandahar, and most within range of providing help to Canadian troops.

"They will be kind of an on-call force to be used as the commanders need them for the situation at hand," one military official tells us.

"If a big fight breaks out, they are going to be able to pick up and go because they certainly have the mobility to go where they are needed."

No kidding. When the marines leave home, they apparently pack their own air force.


The one "expeditionary unit" of marines being sent to the Kandahar region isn't even 10% of the more than 27,000 Americans already deployed to Afghanistan.

Yet, that one fighting force of 2,200 soldiers alone comes equipped with more helicopters than Canada has for its entire military.

Incoming with the marines: 18 medium- and heavy-lift assault helicopters; four Cobra attack choppers; three utility helicopters; and -- if this doesn't scare the crap out of the Taliban -- six of those vertical takeoff Harrier fighter jets.

Also arriving with the U.S. cavalry are a fleet of unmanned "surveillance" aircraft, many of which carry enough laser-guided rockets tucked under their wings to take out everything from a suicide bomber on a bicycle to a modest village.

Exactly how and when the marines will arrive to the rescue in Kandahar is obviously highly classified.

"It hasn't been completely ironed out yet," an informed source here tells us. "There was a group of American military officials up here this week doing some planning with the Canadian forces, and I would say from everything I have heard, I would hope they (the marines) would be in place in Afghanistan no later than April 1."

As it happens, that is the day before NATO countries are meeting in Bucharest, Romania, to discuss future deployments in Afghanistan, including who will join the Canadian forces in Kandahar over the long term.

U.S. officials are adamant it won't be the marines.

"This is not meant to be an open-ended deployment," says one U.S. source. "It is limited to seven months, and hopefully by the end of the Bucharest summit, NATO as a group will have laid out a plan to fill those gaps that have been identified for a long, long time."

Don't count on it.

Let's talk about this Afghan mission . . . or not

Afghanistan needs us
Without the presence of international troops, chaos would erupt

Finally, mission's ugly truth

Afghanistan prisoners' dilemma haunts Harper

Next move NATO's

Canada fighting losing battle in Afghanistan

PM asked for advice, but can he afford to follow it?

We should be in Afghanistan until the job is done

Report simply endorses the mission status quo

Compassion for Afghanistan could be costing many lives

The ball's in Harper's court

A weak argument for staying
Reasons for sticking with our combat role open to question

PM's gag order erodes support, Manley says

U.S. set to deploy marines to aid Canadians