Saturday, April 28, 2007

It is to laugh 

There are a number of "laugh 'til you cry" moments in this Globe and Mail story about the Harper cabinet meltdown in handling the Afghan prisoner of war story.
(And by the way, why are they called "detainees" all the time by the media, when they are actually "prisoners of war"?)
Anyway, here's the first funny:
. . . A senior defence official, seeking to present Mr. O'Connor's views as he fights for his political life, said the Defence Minister feels he has been shouldering the blame for Canada's policies toward Afghan detainees for more than a year.
Well, that would likely be because he IS to blame for Canada's policies toward Afghan prisoners of war.
Here's another funny:
National Defence feels it has been carrying a disproportionate share of the load in Afghanistan — and the public-relations war.
And here I thought the Canadian military was fighting a real war in Afghanistan, not a "public relations war".
The "source" continues:
It believes other departments and agencies should be responsible for issues such as detainee policy, including the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Canadian International Development Agency.
“The bureaucrats at Foreign Affairs resisted getting stuck with this issue this week,” the defence source said. “They don't want this hornet's nest. They are happy going to their cocktail parties and eating little shrimps.”
In particular, there have been complaints that Canada's foreign aid is slow to arrive in the dangerous southern province where the Canadian Forces are active.
“When CIDA discovers the road to Kandahar, they will be able to send in their funds,” the defence source said.
"little shrimps"? Can't find the road? Ouch. The insults show just how much the Canadian military actually disrespects both Foreign Affairs and CIDA. So how willing would they be to follow their orders about treatment of prisoners of war?
As usual, toward the end of the article, we get around to blaming the Liberals:
. . . federal sources said the previous Liberal government made a mistake in 2005 when it tasked the military — and not Foreign Affairs, which has more expertise in human rights — to sign a deal with the Afghans to ensure that prisoners of war were not abused after their transfer into local jails.
And finishing with a flourish, here's the final "laugh til you cry" moment -- attacking Conservative policy on prisoners of war is "maligning our troops". So I guess in effect, they really think that the troops are to blame for this whole mess:
Mr. Day said yesterday that the opposition attacks had to stop because they were affecting Canadian officials in Afghanistan. “Stop maligning our corrections officers and stop maligning our troops,” Mr. Day said.
Oh, OK, I guess I'll have to shut up -- I wouldn't want to be considered unpatriotic.

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