Saturday, May 27, 2006

"I'm sorry, the military has made a mistake" 

One of the funnier scenes in Fawlty Towers is when Basil has to apologize to some guests about a ghastly error he made which was entirely his fault, and he walks toward their room saying to himself over and over "I'm sorry I made a mistake, I'm sorry I made a mistake" and then he flings open the guestroom door and says, "I'm sorry, my wife has made a mistake".
Now Stephen Harper is using it too -- "I'm sorry, the military has made a mistake!"
What a coward -- he couldn't simply apologize to Tim Goddard, saying "I'm sorry, my government's policy was wrong."
No, not Harper. It's always someone else's fault. As described in the Globe, Harper is now saying that the press could have been at Trenton after all when Nichola Goddard's body arrived:
“I had given fairly clear instructions that, when bodies were to come home, families were to be consulted, and if all families were agreed on making that particular ceremony public, that our government should have no difficulty with that. I'm not sure what happened in this case . . . I'll look into it and find out if the family's wishes were different to what was done and why that was the case and we'll correct it in the future."
Yeah, yeah, its all the military's fault -- they obviously took it upon themselves not to follow your "fairly clear" instuctions.
As the Globe article implicitly points out, his statement is a lie -- the actual military policy had been to consult the families, and it was Harper who changed this policy:
Long-standing Canadian military policy has been to consult with families to determine whether they want the media on the tarmac at CFB Trenton when coffins are removed from the planes bringing them home. The overwhelming majority have agreed.
That changed this winter after the Conservatives took office. Reporters were told they were no longer welcome and defence staff said the decision came from the government.
Harper is the guy who thinks he supports the troops -- but he doesn't hestitate to point his finger at them when it is actually his own government that was to blame for the policy.
The opposition has noticed:
“I'm actually struck by Mr. Harper's ability to manufacture facts,” Liberal defence critic Ujjal Dosanjh said yesterday, shortly before the media ban was overturned. “He manufactured the consultation of the families in this case.” NDP defence critic Dawn Black also attacked the government on the contradiction. “You wonder who is telling the truth in this,” she said.
The military has likely noticed too, but they won't be able to say anything.

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