Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Watching our Reputation Retreat

We've witnessed some reaction from the International community re' the Conservatives decision to not abide by Kyoto. Our reputation has suffered and there are many who could not believe that Canada, that fought so hard to bring so many countries together, would abandon the cause we had so recently championed.

Now, we are faced with the Conservative Government disregarding our reputation in the world, vis a vis, our conduct in Afghanistan. I firmly believe our troops are treating detainees in accordance with every Convention and International Law in effect. I also believe they are handing over said detainees in accordance with any agreements that have been signed between our two countries. So this is not about the troops, this is not about support for the mission and this is not about patriotism.

This post is about the Conservative Government, blindly going forward, following a practice that has brought into question our culpability in any future accusations of complicity to torture. Why would this government place us, Canada in this position? IMO, this government is more about saving face than it is about seeing the big picture.

We've witnessed their puny agenda, 5 points, that still have not been met and they seem to have nothing more to offer on the horizon. That would be shortsighted to be sure, but it pales in comparison with the game they are now playing in Afghanistan.

I do not care if we have established whether or not the allegations of torture of detainees in Afghan prisons has been proven. If there is even one hint of doubt, we should suspend our practice immediately.

In spite of what "radical right" might claim, Canada is renown around the world for respecting basic Human Rights. We haven't been perfect, but if we have evidence that this might be happening, shouldn't we be jumping in right now, to uphold this value that we hold dear? Of course we should, but Harper would rather defend his position and his incapable Minister O'Connor. Why?

The only thing that makes sense to me is, the only way the man poll's well is to be a "strong leader that doesn't waiver". Imagine, putting that in front of what is right for the country? This man is not a leader. He is led, by polls and ego and was ill-prepared to win the last election. We see in the US where this mentality leads. We cannot and should not tolerate this in Canada.

Canada's reputation is at stake and our leader is unconcerned. I think he underestimates how Canadians, (and want to be Canadians) really see this country. He wanted to define Canada? Thankfully, he is showing us that he is not the definition and reminding us of what we really stand for.

Update

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Knb -

Which party was it that signed Kyoto and for 13 years did nothing to meet its targets? Hint: starts with the letter L.

Which party then in power made the commitment to sent the troops not only to Afghanistan but to one of the most dangerous places in that country. Hint: also starts with the letter L.

knb said...

Anon, when was Kyoto signed then ratified? Hint, not 13 years ago.

Yes, indeed the Lib's were in power when we deployed to Kandahar. We felt we could contribute, my feelings about that aside, we did deploy, but we never committed to an indefinite mission, it was meant to end in '07. We contribute with honour. NATO playing us has no honour imo.

btw anon, you didn't speak to the point of the post. That would be what the con's are contributing to now, dishonour.

Werner Patels said...

Accusing each other of inaction won't solve the problem. What's past is past, let's move beyond that.

The important thing now is that things get done in a way that improves the situation, without wrecking our economy and prosperity, i.e., we all need to be sensible and realistic.

mark said...

Ok now your in my Wheel house "Torture". You do know that the taliban watch western media and are very aware of the techniques used in the tet offensive that happened in vietnam ie they cant defeat us militaraly so they cry torture and abuse when ther captured so will fight with one hand tied behind our back. For you to accuse the minister of defence and former Gerneral of incoptience speek's to your distain of all things military.

As for your "If there is even one hint of doubt, we should suspend our practice immediately." Your kidding if anybody Hints at this we should stop. Think about that really think WE ARE AT WAR. And to ask our troops not to agree to our internationl agreement with afgainstan would show we don't respect an elected gov and that would do far more dishounour, than helping them with there prison's. As for the PM governing by polls
that the funniest thing since Paul martin's "fixing heath care for a generation" strong leader's stand on principal lead by example and make decisions that are good for the country and not for the party at times. ie qebecois and income trusts just to name too. As for our reputaion under the Liberls, years of darkenss when it came to the armed forces and forigne policy, we are at the adult table again,and taken seroiusly by our allies again, we have never lost a war and we are not going to start NOW the un wants us there so do afgan's nation buliding is not easy don't tell me it can't be done. because if we run they will follow they hate us for who we are the sooner people like you get that the safer will be.

knb said...

because if we run they will follow they hate us for who we are the sooner people like you get that the safer will be

Gee, it didn't take you long to get back to the personal attacks.

As for your comments, reiterating idiotic Cheneyism's does not speak to the problems I raised. It certainly has not done a thing for the US's reputation has it?

The sooner we stop lending our International credibility to Bush and company the better.

As for your comment about me and the military. You know nothing about me, or my family or if any of them are in the military. Suffice it to say, your assertion is wrong.

mark said...

Then you would know that apeasment and the Chamberlains of the world are wrong. Go on bush bashing its fun for people on the left its easy. He understands the threat. And you would have the people of afganistan have no rights, for the taliban to go back to public stoneing like they do in Iran, no school's and a constant threat of being taken away in the middle of the night like saddam did, No I don't know you but I have friends over there and your damm right its personal we don't send our military over their and when it get hard run. The liberal's are not in power and all of a sudden oh now lets run cause its easy. your a liberal and should look back in your own party's history mackenzieking new evil and called it by its name. the cowardice of those in your party is deplorable. to send men into battle with ancient equipment and expect no casualty's is well insane! like I said leadership is makeing decisions that may be unpopular but are good for the country and stop trying to mix Iraq and Afganistan their two, diffent mission but the goal is the same Good goverment rule of law and freedom all things that canadains have fought and died for. The enemy wants to destroy that, even for me and you to have this discussion right now think about that. If you have a better way bring it forward I'm all ears but talking to people who want to kill us hmmm not so much trust me. they'll love us when we win ask japan, germany, russia. We need to take these tin pot dictator's from around the world and tell them convert to some form of democracy or else. Look I don't like war not the best thing in the world. I know people from afgainstan and the tell me first hand about the good we are doing over their.

knb said...

He understands the threat.

He, Bush, IS the threat and has exacerbated whatever was there prior to his taking office. If you honestly believe that Cheney and Bush are right and on track, I suggest you turn on a television or read a newspaper. They have been wrong about Iraq, every single inch of the way.

My friend, you're not only drinking the kool-aid, you're obviously bathing in it daily.

All that you are accusing me of has nothing to do with my post, so besides being wrong, it shows a tremendous lack of understanding of the current situation.

You obviously don't care about our troops. If you did, you'd write about protecting them from being tarred by the incompetence of our Minister of Defense.
Their reputation and our reputation, Canada's, is at stake here.

I imagine you think it's fine to torture suspects, but Canadians would not agree with you. Our proud history makes us one of the most respected nations on Earth. Harper is doing a fine job of changing that history and I'm not going to be quiet about it.

the cowardice of those in your party is deplorable BTW, Hillier is the one who said we could handle the mission with what we had and what the Lib's committed to in the future. Was he a coward for sending troops in?

Who's the real coward here? Harper, who doesn't have the guts to fire a bumbling, incompetent Minister who is putting our troops in danger?

Red Tory said...

Dumb question: What's "incoptience"?

Scotian said...

Knb:

What you are describing in your post is Harper's use of another one of the American/GOP models of politics, the "strong if wrong" leader image. It is better in American politics to be seen as strong even if wrong than it is to be seen as at all "weak", something the GOP has exploited to great effect for the past three decades now, although it appears it may finally be losing some of its potency. However, that model does not have the same impact in this nation because we are a subtly yet profoundly different culture something Harper does not believe to be true given his statements to that effect over the past 2 decades. For one thing we are not only not a superpower; we aren't even a major/great power. We are at the top end of the middle powers when you get right down to it. We don't have the same kind of investment in having to always be seen as the leader to follow unlike the Americans post WWII (yes I know there was elements of this before then, manifest destiny and all that, however post WWII took that and raised it to new levels thanks to both global position and the telecommunications era/revolution) so being wrong is not seen as such a bad thing so long as it is infrequent, acknowledged and dealt with correctively.

That is where Harper is going really wrong here, and the taint it is going to bring down on every man and woman in uniform if he doesn't stop these prisoner transfers by this point is really sickening. Like your critic Mark I know people that are in the forces and have deployed to Afghanistan, yet I don't try to tell someone what they should and should not think based on that as he appears intent on doing, because that is not the problem, the problem is in Ottawa. This was a bad policy agreed to by the Libs in the middle of the last election campaign, and the implementation and execution by the Harper CPC has shown why. The indifference and indeed downright attempts to be willfully blind by the Defence Minister is downright scary. I take it you are aware that post Somalia incident in the 1990s the Minister of Defence used to get daily written reports on any major human rights complaints regarding military personnel and that it was this CPC government that discontinued that practice? That shows a deliberate attempt to not know something so one has "plausible deniability" when asked about it, and it shows exactly how seriously this concern is *NOT* taken by this Harper government and this defence minister.

One of the only positives that came from the G%M article this week was the fact that the soldiers treated the prisoners well and they said so, it was only after they were in Afghani hands that things started to go wrong, which shows that our uniformed men and women are acting properly to those in their custody. However, if they are handing over prisoners to those that they know or have good reason to suspect will violate their Geneva rights let alone torture them then those soldiers carrying out the policy the government lays down are at risk of being charged for it down the road. If they do not follow the orders though and refuse them they will almost certainly end up being disciplined formally or informally for refusing orders and disobeying the chain of command. Some choice/position to put our brave and honourable soldiers in isn't it? Certainly shows that love and respect for military culture, honour, and sacrifice...NOT. Yet all we hear from the Harper supporters is how great they and their Leader is and how they are the only defenders of the military and troops while it is all the rest of us that hate them and want to destroy them and even this country by being so weak and cowardly. (If anyone needs to be told that last part was heavily sarcastic...*shakes head*)

Harper is staining our honour the way GWB stained the American honour, by choosing to ignore or even tolerate/encourage (in GWB's case) torture so as to supposedly gain intelligence. I really do not think Canadians will be very happy to find out that the lofty ideals they have are being sold out for partisan domestic politics by our PM, especially when we have people bleeding and dying in the name of those principles in the very nation where they are also being dishonoured. No, I don't think that is going to sit well at all, and trying to claim the Liberals did it too, or that this is a Liberal deal is not going to cut it. The first is nonsense and juvenile, the second is misleading since they signed it weeks before the CPC defeated them in the last election so they never really had the chance to do much of the implementation/execution, no that was all in Harper's court. Not to mention the repeated misleading about detainees and how they were monitored for abuse by this government last year.

No, this is serious, and this goes and should go well beyond partisan interests, and it saddens and disgusts me to see so many CPC voices unable to recognize this. My family did not bleed and die in 2 world wars and Korea just to see things come to this.

ottlib said...

mark said:

"For you to accuse the minister of defence and former Gerneral of incoptience speek's to your distain of all things military."

I am a member of the military and I can say without reservation that on this issue he has shown himself to be incompetent. As well, he lied to the House and Canadians on numerous occasions, which incidentally is against the ethics code all Officers in the CAF are supposed to follow. They drilled it into me before they granted me my commission so I am assuming a former Brigadier probably knows it as well.

"We need to take these tin pot dictator's from around the world and tell them convert to some form of democracy or else."

Your understanding of democracy and how it is formed is astounding. Next thing you know you will be insisting that the Canadian government insist that Afghans adhere to Canadian values on torture and such. Oh wait, it is the Liberals who are insisting that the government do so but the government are telling them to piss up a rope. Go figure.

"to send men into battle with ancient equipment and expect no casualty's is well insane!"

The Americans have the best equipment in the world and yet they just surpassed the 3,333 dead mark. (Plus about 10 times that many wounded).

So equipment is not the problem. It is being the great power in a guerilla war, which if you read history, generally winds up losing in the end.

"If you have a better way bring it forward I'm all ears but talking to people who want to kill us hmmm not so much trust me."

And yet Mr. Karzei is not only talking to them but he actually has some of them in his government and he is making local alliances with them in other parts of Afghanistan to bring some semblance of peace to those regions.

Bottom line Mark is the Taliban is not going away. Mr. Karzai knows the fate of the last foreign government puppet who ruled Kabul. (President installed by the Soviets who was executed soon after Kabul fell to the Afghan rebels). He is going to try to prevent the same thing from happening to him when public outrage to increasing casualties in the West inevitably leads to its abandonment of Afghanistan.

Oh yes do not forget about the President of Pakistan and his deal making with the Taliban so as to have peace along its border with Afghanistan.

All in all Mark leaving aside your atrocious spelling, syntax and grammer your grasp of these issues is brutally insufficient.

ottlib said...

mark:

I was just informed by knb over at Red Tory's place that your first language is not English, it is French.

So please accept my apologies for criticising your English language skills. As someone who constantly struggles in French I can appreciate the effort you put into getting your message across in your second language.

knb said...

ScotianWhat you are describing in your post is Harper's use of another one of the American/GOP models of politics, the "strong if wrong" leader image.

It's difficult for me to believe we have people in this country who buy this.

I take it you are aware that post Somalia incident in the 1990s the Minister of Defence used to get daily written reports on any major human rights complaints regarding military personnel and that it was this CPC government that discontinued that practice?

Indeed, but O'Connor said today in committee that he knows nothing of this past practice. He denied having stopped that directive. Fine, when and who the hell did? This I see as the biggest problem. A once opposition party so intent on becoming the Government, they gave no thought to what that may entail.

it saddens and disgusts me to see so many CPC voices unable to recognize this. My family did not bleed and die in 2 world wars and Korea just to see things come to this.

Mine too Scotian. I think I'm kind of in those stages of mourning...though I'm still hanging out at anger, sadly, much of the time.

knb said...

ottlib:And yet Mr. Karzei is not only talking to them but he actually has some of them in his government and he is making local alliances with them in other parts of Afghanistan to bring some semblance of peace to those regions.

Precisely. Why doesn't that register here at home? Is it because it is too close to what the NDP are saying? I don't know and don't get it.

Why can't truth and fact be just that? Then perhaps we could get on with what is real.

Scotian said...

Knb:

I am not in mourning yet so I am not suffering any of the stages of grief, although I am far from pleased with what I am seeing so far. On the other hand, remember I have consoled myself that despite the perfect storm to create it the CPC instead of majority got a weak minority from Canadians. Since then they started to get a little bump towards bare majority polling numbers, but they never got past that, and given it was that weak minority with a leaderless official opposition party and a very healthy economy and fiscal balance to work with they never caught on is a basis for some optimism and hope still, especially given that was their honeymoon period which they will never have again especially considering this is the first CPC government ever and before had no record to be held to. I find that very hopeful, even given the risks thanks to vote splitting between the supermajority of Canadians that are political progressives of varying degrees.

While I am unhappy with the damage done so far, it is still recoverable from, if we get rid of Harper in the next election. The Libs had been in power 13 years straight and public fatigue happens in all democracies, and they had not only had a few nasty scandals within that period along with their successes/accomplishments but an opposition willing to harp on them and extrapolate "to the max" from them on how bad the Libs were. They really did need to be replaced, and if the threat had been other than from Harper in the least election I would not have supported Martin. As much as I had some respect for him and thought he was finally willing to properly refund the social side again it was understandable why most felt it was too late. The election campaign, especially after the RCMP investigation but even before then was in trouble, and that investigation really killed them. Indeed, that was part of that perfect storm I mentioned.

So I still see a good basis for hope that this is not too late, although this latest with the military in Afghanistan is really upsetting. It will leave some stain, but it will be possible to wash it out eventually if done soon enough and the water hot enough, same as with blood. That hot water being exposure and acknowledgment of wrongdoing of course, and it should serve as a warning to the future that it can happen even when you think it can't if you do not always actively watch against it. Eternal vigilance works also for protecting honour as well as liberty after all.

knb said...

Scotian, so well said that I'm at a loss of how to comment.

I am mourning our country and that could be because I'm mourning personally, in my own family. Seeing this nonsense going on, exacerbates it.

Your comment gives me hope though, based in reality. So thank you.

I agree with what you say, especially, That hot water being exposure and acknowledgment of wrongdoing of course, and it should serve as a warning to the future that it can happen even when you think it can't if you do not always actively watch against it. Eternal vigilance works also for protecting honour as well as liberty after all.

Bravo.

Aeneas the Younger said...

The latest polls would indicate that Harper is not fooling anybody. There IS a hidden agenda.

I know it. You know it.

Red Canuck said...

knb - I have no idea if you check these comments or not, but I felt I needed to tell you that I did some more reading on the whole circumcision/HIV thing, and I have posted some more info in the comments section of my blog on the subject. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I hope you get a studio soon...and stop reading the news because you have the wrong end of the stick but worst of al is you are a liberal....I hope they never get in again...ever.

Bill-Muskoka said...

Hello KNB,

Thought I would drop by and let you know that I have had to mandate registration at my blog due to the childishness of someone at Garth's.

Sorry for the long delay in replying, but last week was somewhat of a strange one with family visiting and losing my brother.