Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lowering expectations for Afghan progress.

This is from the Globe and Mail. It seems that the pig in a poke can be more easily marketed if the public doesn't expect much. The quarterly updates could include the following:
a) the profits generated to arms and equipment suppliers to the mission.
b) the costs of medical treatment for the wounded.
c) the number of private contractors associated with the mission and the quarterly cost of their contracts.
d) the costs of PR to sell the mission to Canadians.

The ideal benchmark would be reduce all these to zero.

OTTAWA -- The Harper government's top political manager for the Afghanistan mission tried yesterday to ratchet down expectations for what Canada can achieve before it leaves in 2011, but said the Tories will soon offer Canadians quarterly updates on progress.

Trade Minister David Emerson, an ex-CEO of one of North America's biggest lumber companies and former B.C. government mandarin, was given the task this year of using his managerial skills to increase political oversight of the Afghan mission.

Mr. Emerson, who assumed the chair of a new cabinet committee on Afghanistan in February, said the Canadian government has to be "realistic as to what we can achieve" in three years, adding the best that can be hoped for is that Afghanistan becomes a "viable state" on its own.

"I don't think any of us should be under the illusion that Afghanistan is going to be a thriving, prosperous democracy by 2011," he said.

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