Friday, February 05, 2010

It's All About Torture. Don't Let Anyone Forget.

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, Steve over at Far and Wide has a post about the polls and how bad ol' King Steve is doin' an' is the trend gonna continue. I left a bigass comment there an' I'm saving' energy by recycling that comment here.

We all saw the pundits come out wrong, wrong, wrong on the expected reaction to prorogation. Now, I've heard a few of 'em say that once the HOC resumes sitting, the prorogation issue will fall off the map. Maybe it'll be another swing and miss for the pundidiots. Maybe not.

If the prorogation outrage and backlash is to survive, we will need to show exactly how much work went down the tubes. How long will it take to get the legislative agenda back to where it was before the December break? How long before committees are reconstituted and back to where they were pre-prorogue?

If, as a small number believe, the budget triggers an election, how much work will be lost and, importantly, who will take the blame?

My own advice on this is that the public needs to be kept acutely aware that ducking the Afghan detainee issue was the primary reason Harper rolled the dice... and crapped out. So far, so good on that with the committee sitting.

The committee, however, is getting too bogged down in questions of privilege and protocol vis-a-vis the unreleased documents. The facts as reported by NGO spokespersons are that the current agreement is failing to do what it was intended to do. While they play cat and mouse with the document issue, detainees are not being monitored as required on paper and they ARE being tortured... now.

I think many voters see the power play over documents as politics -- parliamentary procedural wrangling done more for partisan gain than for truth-gathering. We know the truth. We've always known it. Detainees we hand over to the Afghans are abused. That fact can be clearly illustrated without the gamesmanship.

Despite some of the callous and uninformed comments I read in MSM comment threads, I truly believe most Canadians are repulsed by torture and are ashamed of any suggestion that our country was complicit in detainee abuse. If they are made to see that we are STILL complicit in ongoing abuse, we will achieve something. That "something" that we must be striving for is a cessation of torture by our allies -- Afghan or American.

Though we can show that abuse continues and we can demand it cease, the reality is that we have little power over such matters. Secret detention centres and denial of monitoring rights precludes our ability to wash our hands.

What to do? Either we quit handing over detainees altogether or we quit Afghanistan altogether.

Ignatieff made some encouraging comments a few days ago regarding the legitimacy of our support for the fraudulently elected Karzai and his gang of warlords, opium merchants and torturers. This theme will resonate; especially, when coupled with the message that the current transfer agreement is failing to prevent torture.

Human decency will prevail.

JB

1 comment:

thwap said...

Thank you for posting this. I agree entirely.

You've brightened up my morning you crazy Greenie!