In the last two days multiple pieces of evidence have surfaced suggesting John Manley and/or the Panel had concluded their report even before they began it. Their results ultimately favoured the mission, which has led to the obvious approval of Stephen Harper.
Firstly, on Jan. 22, I posted some examples of plagiarism made in Manley's Forward of the Panel's report, which discussed conclusions of the Panel. The work was originally published in a Journal article he wrote two weeks prior to be even being chosen to head the Panel; this would suggest, for Manley at least, the decision was already decided before he began the supposed independent investigation. Such an example can be found in comparing Page 4 of the Panel's report:
Whenever we asked Afghans what they thought ISAF or Canada should do, there was never any hesitation: “We want you to stay; we need you to stay.” Without the presence of the international security forces, they said, chaos would surely ensue.With Page 12 of the Policy Options Journal Article Manley wrote two weeks before heading the Panel:
Whenever we asked Afghans what they thought ISAF or Canada should do, they did not hesitate to say that we must stay. Without the presence of the international forces, chaos would surely ensue.The suggestion that Manley had an actual bias is supported by Michael Byers, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia. Of possible interest is John Manley was unavailable to be interviewed. You can hear Michael Byers here on the CBC's As It Happens:
Secondly, further evidence came to my attention the day before, this was in the form of a National Post article which interviewed an expert who went before the Panel and felt the Panel had arrived at it's conclusion even before hearing him. This would go to suggest the whole Panel too had come to its decision before hearing all of its experts. The article states:
Many people who have contributed submissions to the panel say they came away with the impression that Mr. Manley and his fellow members are essentially in favour of staying the course in Afghanistan. That is, continuing combat operations while simultaneously training Afghan security forces towards the mutually agreed NATO endgame of withdrawal at a later, undetermined date.Thirdly, and lastly, to add to the evidence, in the report, the Panel states that Canada should stay in Afghanistan indefinitely, but specifies:
"I basically said we should stay and continue our role," said Canadian military historian and author Jack Granatstein, summarizing his submission to the panel last month.
"Their questions seemed to be of a kind that when people ask you questions you get a sense of what way they're leaning," he added. "I had the sense listening to them and watching their body language they agreed with what I was saying."
This commitment is contingent on the assignment of an additional battle group (of about 1,000 soldiers) to Kandahar by NATO and/or other allies before February 2009.This has led some news sources to suggest that John Manley and the Panel were clearly independent in adding such a condition, for though it would be Stephen Harper's wish to stay in Afghanistan it would be quite difficult to get those extra troops. However Far And Wide reported today just how questionable the motivations were of the Panel in making that stipulation. With the knowledge that the Panel interviewed numerous NATO officials, it would seem quite improbable that they weren't aware of this, as reported in the Ottawa Citizen:
Sources at NATO headquarters in Belgium and in the United States have indicated in recent days that two marine battalions being sent to southern Afghanistan for seven months this spring with specific orders to assist the Canadians are likely to be followed by even more marine battalions in 2009 and 2010. This was possible because the Pentagon has begun to slowly wind down combat operations in Iraq and because the marine leadership has been pressing hard for a bigger role in Afghanistan.I ask how are Canadians supposed to take this report and our Prime Ministers effort at understanding Afghanistan seriously, when the Panel had come to its Stephen Harper approved conclusion before it even began. Where was the non-partisanship? Where was the independent investigation?