I also indulge my masochistic bent by reading the hundreds of comments at the Globe, CBC and CTV. For the most part, I am somewhat encouraged by the "thumbs-up, thumbs-down" tallies. The voting on comments, while entirely unscientific, lend support to the basic belief that Canadians, by and large, do not want our country's reputation tainted by war crimes. Of course, there are plenty of notable exceptions.
There are several tactics/arguments the apologists for torture use in the MSM comment boards.
- It's just Afghans torturing Afghans, nothing to do with Canada.
- Nobody Cares
- Even if people do care, Martin Started it
- If you criticize a Conservative cabinet minister you are attacking “the troops”
- Adscam, Adscam, Adscam
- They are terrorist scumbags and deserve torture
- The 23 former ambassadors who are criticizing were Liberal appointees
- Even if they aren’t terrorists they live in the same neighbourhood as terrorists and how are CF personnel supposed to know the difference?
- The first casualty of war is truth. SOP.
- It didn’t happen.
- If it happened, it only happened to a few of them.
- Even if it happened to more than a few of them, it didn’t happen to ALL of them.
(h/t to Balbulican at Stageleft)
By ELIZABETH THOMPSON - Parliamentary BureauShame!
OTTAWA — A new report has surfaced that suggests an Afghan detainee might have been mistreated while in Canadian Forces custody.
Global National reported Thursday night that a military police sergeant says not only was an Afghan detainee mistreated and kept for days in a tiny cell that reached intolerable temperatures, but that superiors ignored warnings.
In an interview with the Military Police Complaints Commission, Sgt. Carol Utton said an order in the spring of 2007 halted detainee transfers. One prisoner was still in custody, in a walled compound on the base with eight cells designed to hold prisoners no more than 96 hours.
Utton said the temperature reached 60 C in the cells. The soldiers tried to help him with bottles of frozen water, but the prisoner screamed and yelled.
However, Ottawa headquarters initially wouldn’t allow the prisoner to be released and ignored warnings about conditions in the cells, Utton said.
“We felt (Ottawa HQ) didn’t care,” Utton told the commission. “Nobody in Canada gave a crap.”
Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s office said the Global National report was the first they had heard of the incident and they’ve asked the defence department for more information.
Ottawa was informed that Canada was keeping a detainee in a 60° C cell but the troops on the ground "felt (Ottawa HQ) didn’t care,” Utton told the commission. “Nobody in Canada gave a crap.”
The other new story today comes from the Globe & Mail: The Buck Stopped Nowhere. I'm not sure if it's another attempt by the government to shirk responsibility and accountability. It lends credence to the contention that "We didn't know." But, it begs the questions, "Why didn't they know? Why did they adamantly deny abuse when, according to the latest dirt, they didn't know whether or not abuse was happening?"
Over the next couple weeks, many of us will be socializing and enjoying time with our families and loved ones. Rather than proroguing our consciences, we can use the festive season to keep the issue on the front burner. I've already been steering discussions away from hockey and home renovations.
Conversation starter: "Thanks for the eggnog. Boy, this Afghan detainee thing is really a mess, ain't it?"
Peace on Earth. Goodwill to men.