Friday, November 20, 2009


The Soloman Show is finally over. He wrapped things up with a spiel about "bloggerheads" which included 3 guests. One talking about how great it is that everyone is talking about Canada being complicit in torture, the other convinced that we committed war crimes, and the supposed moderate proclaimed that the Blogging Tories are completely mute in this issue. I guess he did not read my posts, but then again not a lot of people did. Of the 915 people who have visited my site so far today, only 17 clicked on my post Public Inquiry. My appraisal of Peter MacKay's fantastic interview on this subject earlier on that program did far better. Okay, so if that didn't get the CBC watchdog's attention, let me really take the bull by the horns and say what I think. In terms of what happened on the ground, I defer all my opinion to Chris Alexander.

Our objective in Afghanistan is to help create a sovereign nation that can govern itself and police itself, and keep the radical Islamists out of power. The sooner they can do this, the sooner we can cease combat operations. Most people agree that detainees were tortured in Afghan custody, and the allegation is that we knew about it and thus willingly transferred people into the control of sadistic torturers. I have not seen any allegations that Canadian soldiers themselves tortured people, which is what I would expect given the honour of the men and women of our Armed Forces.

Can we force the Afghans to treat prisoners with the same standards that we do? I'm not sure, but when you look at what is par for the neighborhood, I'd say the country club treatment does not exist. I am lucky that I have never been jailed in Pakistan or Iran as an enemy combatant, but I imagine there are loads of untold horror stories, most ending in death. Saddam just used to drag enemy combatants to the soccer field and shot them with a bullet to the head. Mr. Arar has told us all about the Syrian prison system, which is not much of a departure from the Egyptian system. We can try and force Afghanistan to adopt a more western model, which was exactly the deal that we signed with them a few years ago.

If the argument is that regardless of our ability to enforce kindness of Afghan law enforcement; we should never turn over captured combatants in a war zone to the sovereign nation we are there fighting to protect, then do we have the mobile detention facilities necessary to hold them all? Guantanamo Bay is not accepting new residents, and I need Chris Alexander to tell me our capacity to hold enemy captives in the field of battle. If this was such a crisis, the diplomat had a moral obligation to tell this to Peter MacKay, Generals, and other visiting members of Parliament on the dozens of occasions he met with them and said nothing. I work in security, and if there is any issue of critical importance in the work place, I have an obligation to tell my superior officer face to face at the nearest available opportunity. You don't send an e-mail or file a report that could take months to process.

And as I mentioned before, if innocents get caught in system that is terrible, but non-uniformed enemy combatants blending into civilian populations to use them as human shields are the ones who create that moral hazard. If an innocent goat herder gets thrown in Shawshank, blame rests at the feet of the Taliban for adopting that Maoist tactic.

There Soloman Show, the Blogging Tories talked about torture. Happy?

1 comment:

  1. As always, a little context is valuable here.