Friday, August 31, 2007

I've Got Your Back

Well it seems that the government has hired an international academic to advise them. Is that unusual? No. Do all governments seek the advice of like minded individuals to bolster their position? Of course. Some also seek the comments of those with a contrarian view. This government... not so much.

So what is so special about this particular hiring? Well, I guess it gives us a glimpse at the talking points that will be put forward about the treatment of prisoners taken in Afghanistan. The government has obviously tried to come up with rationale for ignoring International treaties, (once again), this time concerning human rights.

Christopher Greenwood, a professor of international law at the London School of Economics, submitted an opinion in mid-August to the Federal Court, which is hearing an application by Amnesty International to halt all prisoner transfers by Canadian soldiers to Afghan authorities.

Prof. Greenwood has also been called as witness for Bush, but, full disclosure, he was also a witness for the Lib's and I disagree with his opinion there too.

So we now know what position the con's are going to take. Presumably, they feel that they will be insulated, because the Lib's used him too. Wrong, they had Axworthy coming out against him.

Here is what disturbs me though:

Greenwood's 34-page opinion for Canada's Federal Court, dated Aug. 14, says it was prepared at the request of Gen. Rick Hillier, the chief of defence staff.

Why didn't MacKay make the request? Well, it could be argued he's too high in the pecking order to do such a thing. Fair enough. But what about the Deputy Minister or others in the department? Obviously, the government is seeking "sound bite" moments and a defense to their position. Why is Hillier directing this? Aren't the Armed Forces beholding to "we the people"? Don't they take their orders through the government, supposedly directed by us?

How is it that the Military is developing, perhaps not policy, but guidelines to defend that policy?

I don't know if this is right or wrong to be honest. I don't know Hillier's job description, but I'm uncomfortable with this.

What say you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well this academic certainly shares the same opinion as the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party!