Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Do you see what I see?

Canadian politicians are currently embroiled in 'outrage' about the possible 'torture' of Afghan detainees once they are turned over to Afghanistan government care. A parliamentary committee is under way and Canadian diplomats face off against military Generals, as they answer the burning question from: Who knew what, when? For background, you can read more here and here.

The following commentary comes from a Canadian military wife who I have shared with you before. From the Homefront:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Do you see what I see?

Well I knew something was coming when the media began reporting on the whole Afghan prisoner thing.

I knew there was a reason, that after nearly seven years in theatre, the media all of a sudden tells the world about what happens to prisoners once the Canadians turn them over to local authorities.

It’s been like a thunderstorm in the far distance. A barometric pressure change in the government’s attitude towards the military. It was coming. I just couldn’t put my finger on the extent.

At first I thought; “Ok – some tit-arse hippie in Ottawa is just stirring the poop.” But the more I’ve seen in the media, read in newspapers and heard through the military spouse grapevine (by far the most reliable source of the three) I began to see that this was the governmental spin doctors at work.

What I failed to understand, at the beginning, was the truly Machiavellian mechanizations of the Canadian federal government.

After 9-11 people began to appreciate the military. They started Red Fridays. Support Our Troops ribbons popped up on businesses and homes. And the government, sensing that they’d better get on the bus, threw their support to the men and women in uniform and began to do what they should have been doing for the previous twenty years.

Outdated equipment was replaced. Recruiting was improved. The image was improved. All in the hopes to gain popular support for the government that was sending the boys overseas.

A bit of flag waving is always good for the polls.

But now the Afghan mandate is almost up.

And the world’s economy is in the toilet.

Along with Harper’s approval rating.

Hmmm – I wonder how to tie this up in a nice big package?

Well – first you villainize the heroes. ...

There is more, and you can read it here.

As for General Rick Hillier, the general who always did so much as the public face of our troops? Oh, you know he had lots to say:

Retired Gen. Hillier testifies

Former defence chief Rick Hillier says he didn't see reports by a Canadian diplomat warning that prisoners turned over to Afghan authorities were at great risk of torture. Hillier told a special Commons committee Wednesday that the reports by Richard Colvin in 2006 wouldn't have been passed to him because they contained only second-hand information [emphasis mine]

View video

Mr. Hillier, insisting the diplomat had no basis for his sweeping claims, ridiculed the allegation that all detainees handed over to Afghans were likely tortured. "How ludicrous a statement is that?" he said.

Mr. Hillier said he didn’t read Mr. Colvin’s reports at the time, but has looked at them since, and sees no reason his staff should have alerted him....

“There was simply nothing there ... to warrant the intervention of the chief of defence staff," Mr. Hillier said of the reports, which the Harper government has refused to make public...(read more here) [emphasis mine]

'Nuff said. It is always a pleasure watching General Hillier in action, as he always cuts through the bs. At a time when some politicians seem to forget we are at war; at a time when some politicians - both sides of the border - seem more than willing to make our guys the fall guys; at a time when every terrorist thug has read the memo about claiming to be 'tortured' by those "...foreign oppressors...." yada yada yada, it is good to see that military leaders LEAD.


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