Thursday, December 03, 2009

Dear Mr. Adler: PFO

Charles Adler published a particularly noxious screed in the National Post the other day - presumably at the behest of the knuckle-draggers in the PMO that want to silence critics of the government's handling of of Afghan prisoners.

The fundamentals of Adler's tirade are nothing more than the usual "you don't support the troops" line.

This is incorrect. The issue isn't the troops. It's the orders that they have been given - and those come from command and the politicians. Let's be absolutely clear on that matter. The decisions about the handling of individual detainees happens on the ground, in the context of the moment and the standing orders the troops operate under. The orders they are given come from the command structure, and ultimately are directed substantially by the politicians.

So ... the issue here is the orders that told troops to turn over prisoners to a questionable regime. We already know that Mr. Colvin's e-mails made it to the Department of Foreign Affairs ministerial offices (then occupied by Peter Mackay).

It's apparent that at several points in time the military's command hierarchy put the brakes on those transfers over the course of 2006-2007, but subsequently resumed them.

The politicians involved did nothing to correct the situation - or if they did, it was so slowly as to be meaningless in terms of dealing with the issues.

The issue today is simple - why were our politicians so slow to address the issues of prisoner handling? AND - why are the Conservatives being so obstructive about getting the facts out?

Make no mistake, the war in Afghanistan is a war of occupation. We (NATO forces) are the invaders, and what is happening on the ground there has happened repeatedly in the past - not just the Soviet occupation, but every attempt to control that region over the millenia of recorded history. Canada is paying a high price in 'blood and treasure' to prosecute this war of occupation, and nobody has ever put forward a convincing case that Canada's security is truly benefiting from our presence over there. (Lots of jingoism, no substantive facts)

The issue is not about "supporting the troops" - it's about a government that doesn't understand why we are there in the first place, and has clearly lost its moral compass.

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