I've been mulling about Michael Ignatieff's vote on the Afghanistan issue. Here's my thoughts: I think that it is a good move. Why? Because we are Liberals - and the last thing we want to do is take on hawks in a debate on going to war. If anyone can justify a war, it's a hawk. Especially the new breed of "chicken-hawk" supported by massive American media support. If we can put this issue aside, we can focus on lambasting Harper on childcare (and the lack of a neo-CanCon plan for this), removing tax cuts for low income earners, the environment, cuts to immigration numbers, etc.
Iggy's tactics may be very beneficial. Here's how "Joe Public" would see this: Harper is talking about extending a Liberal initiated foray into Afghanistan. The Libs underfunded the army, and didn't even care to buy adequate uniforms for the army. Stevie seems to support the troops - a lot. He knows the army. Supporting the troops is good. I think I'll support the war.
No average Joe is going to think about the original intention of the exercise. No average Joe is going to really think about what "supporting" our troops means - unless we do a better PR job. Most "average Joes" don't know the difference between the UN and NATO.
So... what does this mean for us Liberals? Nothing. Let's drop the whole Afghanistan thing for now. We benefit from making it a non-issue. If things blow up later, our new leader can always say, "I supported/didn't support the war, but my party voted 2/3 against it - so we are not going to support further action". Let's ensure that we attack the Neo-CanCons at their achilles heel - childcare, environment, gun control, First Nations issues, public healthcare, immigration and multiculturalism. Arguing about war with a "chicken-hawk" in this current environment is not a good thing. Look what happened to the Democrats in the US. Even though we oppose the military action in Afghanistan because we support humanitarian missions like Darfur, or because we love our troops so much we don't want them to die - even then, we would lose the argument if we make ourselves look like we support the terrorists/freedom fighters, or whatever you would want to call them.
I'm not saying we change our Canadian identity... No way. We should continue to be a sovereign nation, and have a liberal world-view. We just need to keep this issue on the back burner, as we can lose traction with it. Let's focus on stuff that's more important to "Joe Average" right now.