Thursday, December 10, 2009

If they lie about Afghan detainees...

which they don't care about, what else will the government lie about?

Politically, Stephen Harper's government doesn't care much about the abuse of Afghan detainees, captured by Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. Since the abuse occurred after the Canadians turned the prisoners over to Afghan government forces, there is not much connection to be made between the fate of the Conservative's government and that of a few people far, far away. Realistically, the government is also aware that the segment of the population that votes for them has little sympathy for the insurgents shooting at, wounding and killing our troops, our people serving in Afghanistan.

There are three reasons why those folks who generally support the Conservatives should care:

1. Many of those picked up were accused of being insurgents- and the NDS, the Afghan security agency that has been accused of abuse, says themselves that some of the people sent to them were not insurgents. Of course, this is after the prisoners were beaten, just to be certain. How would you like to be stopped for a broken headlight, then thrown in jail as a suspected terrorist, then tortured, then released because it was all a mistake? If that is OK, then what are we doing in Afghanistan? Why are our people risking their lives if our government condones this behavior on the part of Afghanistan?

2. The second reason is that many legal experts say that knowingly handing over prisoners to the possibility of torture contravenes the Geneva Convention. This would place the senior staff officers as well as the government ministers in charge in a sticky legal predicament. Again, if we really don't care about the Geneva Convention, an important legal precedent, then why are we in Afghanistan to bring about rule of law? Will the government try to blame more junior personnel for this problem- a classic approach that reveals just who really supports the troops?

3. The final reason that we should care about this issue, is the government will not reveal the truth. That has to be peeled away, bit by bit, all the while the government denying, blaming the messenger and impugning the critics. Yet this issue would not have really affected their voting public. If the government feels it has to lie about this issue, what else will they lie about?

The government's approach has been to blame civil servants for bad news- they fired the head of the Nuclear regulatory commission for closing down the Chalk River nuclear reactor. A few months later, it had to be closed down again. They pilloried the Federal Elections commissioner, their own appointee, for refusing to break the federal elections law.

Oconnor, Bernier and now Mackay all have proven incompetent in the foreign affairs or defense portfolios. But this seems irrelevant to the government, as foreigners do not vote in Canadian elections. It seems ridiculous that the current government wants to bring rule of law and good government to another country, when they seem indifferent to either here in Canada. That is why their supporters should be looking at the Afghan prisoner issue, if torture isn't a good enough reason.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes…looking like the hero in someone else’s country while ignoring what is going on in our very own backyard...
Well, lies and cover-ups are par for the course in government, are they not? Isn’t that what sets a good govt. apart from the rest? Their ability to pull the wool over our eyes?
Who can put the best spin on colossal mistakes?
Mind you…your example number one sounds like an average day in the back yard of America…;)

"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster