Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Got Nothing...But He's Wrong



Christie Blatchford's piece in the Globe and Mail today made no bones about where she was going to come out on the Afghanistan issue. That doesn't, or shouldn't surprise anyone.

Blatchford makes no excuses for her devotion to the troops and her admiration for Gen. Rick Hillier. Certainly, she is entitled to her feelings and her perspective, but how that qualifies her to put out such a lengthy and faulty analysis, perplexes me. Well, no I guess it doesn't really. She's written an opinion piece, but it's presented with such a huge amount of ink, that one would be led to believe that she has the last and definitive word on the issue.

Look, credit where credit is due. Blatchford has courage that I don't possess. Her experience in Afghanistan is not one many of us would undertake and by all accounts, she presented her observations during that time honestly and from the perspective of the soldier. That was important work in my view.

Given that though, how she or anyone believes that she can objectively look at a diplomats duties and findings, is beyond me. Hillier, whom she adores, all but spat out the word diplomat this week at the committee meeting. The disdain the military feels for the civilian/political realm is neither new, nor surprising. In fact, I suppose it could be argued that a certain amount of animosity is necessary in order for each sector to do it's work.

I tend to think that Blatchford shares Gen. Hillier and Gen. Gautier's views on that score.

So, if as she says the Globe and Mail received the redacted documents, why did it fall to her to go through them? Just thinking out loud here, but it seems to me that someone who was far closer to the situation, as in Graeme Smith, who really broke much of this, would have been a better choice, no?

I raise that because I wonder if The Globe received the documents or if Christie herself did. Just putting that out there. I know that she would have to share/vet her information with her higher up's. Her analysis, at any rate is faulty.

Let's start with the last paragraph first, because it sets up how she approached the issue.

In condemning with the same brush highly professional Canadian soldiers, and to complain that they were complicit in breaches of the law of armed conflict and knowingly buried his reports, it is Mr. Colvin who has some explaining left to do.

No one, I repeat, NO ONE, has accused the Canadian soldiers. This is about their political masters. The 'attacking our brave sons and daughters' line is one that is being pushed by the government as a shiny object and Blatchford obligingly picked it up and ran with it.

Furthermore, the amount of redaction applied to these memos makes it impossible for her to refute their content, but she does. She goes on to portray Colvin's exposure as limited, but in doing so, she exposes her lack of understanding of his post.

You do recall that we tragically lost our first diplomat in Afghanistan Glyn Berry. In spite of that danger, Colvin stepped up and volunteered to take his place. She diminishes the man with her 'military point of view' impression of him.

A more thoughtful view can be found here.

And then we have this:

The Globe and Mail now has what appears to be the entire collection of the e-mails Mr. Colvin sent on the subject during the 17 months he spent in Afghanistan from April of 2006 to October of 2007. A couple are virtually completely blacked out; some are heavily redacted, others rattle on at such length they could have done with a little more redacting.

Do they have the entire collection? And apologies for being a nudge here, but why does the Globe have the doc's while parliamentarians are being left out of the loop?

In the end, the Globe facilitated getting the government argument out through another voice. There is nothing substantial in Blatchford's piece, but it's this kind of messaging that the government we live with at the moment depends on. Messaging is the order of the day and sadly I see too much compliance in that effort.

I read messages from Ottawa journo's on a daily basis that state they will not be given an opportunity to question the PM or a Minister, or, they will be allowed one question and only if they are deigned deserving. Can't quite figure out how they put up with that, but what are they to do?

In place of that of course, we have an excess of opinion, friendly local media spin, oh and that ever reliable source, talk radio. Canada, we have a problem.

That said, I sense there is a mood to seek the truth here. This issue isn't being dismissed and make of that what you will, I think it bodes well.

Additionally, I suspect that more and more real information will emerge. That is what is needed here. Colvin has nothing to gain by his coming forward.

Here's hoping, for the sake of our national reputation and the protection of our troops, that others find his courage.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Blatchford was probably fed a set that is favorable to Harper. At some point, we'll see the entire unredacted set, plus a whole bunch of emails which are probably what's keeping them up at night. Once the genie's out of the bottle ...

Gayle said...

"I raise that because I wonder if The Globe received the documents or if Christie herself did."

That was my question too.

Good to see you back KNB. Hope you well.

Cari said...

I myself think the PMO sent them in trying to down Mr Colvin, saying he was wrong..I wonder if they are genuine? They government will do anything., and Harper knows all about it. The Generals put on a good show, but I did not believe them., whereas many did believe Colvin.What will they do next? This has to be straightened out. I hope you are much better, KNB

Anonymous said...

I think Blatchford and the Globe have some explaining to do.

tjeerd said...

Christie is a straight shooter.
Liberals are falling in a trap.

Northern PoV said...

The "straw man" motive has taken over the right wing messaging in Canada. It worked so well for Bush/Cheney etc.
Self righteous outrage over injustices that don't exist. It blurs the whole issue and smears your opponent at the same time. Both Hillier and Blatchford and all their fellow travellers should be called out like you have here.
Lets see if any of the msm is ready to do some calling out. Not likely.

CK said...

Blatchford is a hack. She is also a commentator on the drive show on CJAD here in Montreal.

A war monger. Noticed the pic on your page. She looks like she needs a very long rest. I mean, very long.

FredfromBC said...

tjeerd said...

Christie is a straight shooter.
Liberals are falling in a trap.


----------

Absolutely. Worse still, despite the best attempts by the Liberals to express faux outrage on this issue, the pollsters report that the general public is supremely uninterested.

Keep flailing around, kids. You'll find your 'issue' one day...

rockfish said...

I'm wondering if heavy dusting of doughnut dust and fatty Duffy's fingerprints were on them too. Yep, when more than 50% feel the gvt's hiding something, no doubt that's a sign that the opposition is in trouble. What a bunch of desperate parrots the CONbots are becoming...

RuralSandi said...

Boy does Harper ever "use" the troops for his own benefit.

There is NO ONE in Canada that does not respect the troops. Wedge, wedge, wedge. That's all Harper does.

The more that comes out about who has stuff, the smellier it gets.

We need an inquiry.

Hillier is not God. He's a soldier.

Anonymous said...

Rural Sandi...
Inquiries are often worse than useless.

They can be shut down like the Somalia inquiry was. They can be ignored. They can be given limited scope to protect individuals like the Gomery inquiry. There findings can be challenged in the courts (Gomery again).

It is frustrating to here the Faux outrage while other stories have slipped through the radar without as much as a whimper.

Remember the kid sniffing gasoline? Remember the "outrage" known as child poverty?

I am too cynical to believe that this is nothing more than a witch hunt by a desperate opposition.I am equally compelled to believe that if an inquiry were to get very close to revealing wrongdoing by top military officials there would be a permenant break in the procedings.(see Somalia inquiry).

David

Anonymous said...

Was it not Blatchford who was embedded with our troops in Afghanistan? I would be surprised if she were NOT sympathetic to the officers and to the enlisted men. If she has indeed fudged this story a bit, she certainly would not be the first journalist who did so. Have an opinion and then find the evidence to support it rather than the other way round. J. McCabe

marie said...

Harper feeds the media and probably Hillier and Gautier on what to say. There is no question about that. The Media has become nothing but a frarce playing political games. I have one piece of advice for them. Stop!before all your credibility is lost. You are already hanging by a mere thread.

I didn't believe the generals either. They were reading from a script most likely written by Harper and his office. I wonder how much that cost the tax payers.

Gayle said...

"It is frustrating to here the Faux outrage while other stories have slipped through the radar without as much as a whimper.

Remember the kid sniffing gasoline? Remember the "outrage" known as child poverty?"

Do you express this indignation when the headlines are screaming "Trouble in Liberal Land"?

Something tells me you might be the kind of person who only cares about starving children when the CPC are in the hot seat.

In any event, allegations that Canada may have been complicit in torture is at least as important as child poverty. If it is the latter you really care about, then I suggest you contact the Harper government and express your outrage over the fact they have completely ignored this issue in favour of targetted tax cuts to people they believe will vote for them. It is all about winning the election for Harper, not about serving his country.

Omar said...

the pollsters report that the general public is supremely uninterested.

What polls are you reading Fred? It seems to me the polls I've seen are casting a rather wary eye on the government and their integrity over the handling of this issue. But keep spinning your lies, Fred. When it comes right down to it, it's all you've got.

RuralSandi said...

Geez David, some people can walk and chew gum at the same time. Yup, can actually be concerned about several issues all at once.

Faux outrage? Nothing phony about it.

Blatchford is only ONE journalist, who used to work for the Sun (conservative rag) and now the Globe that has become more conservative leaning since joining up with CTV.

KNB said...

tjeerd, Blatchford inserts herself into stories and offers her opinion. That might mean to you that she is a straight shooter, but in the world of journalism, that makes her a opinion writer, not a journo reporting fact.

Trap? It's Blatch that is being used here, albeit knowingly.

KNB said...

Believe me Fred, there is nothing faux about my outrage when it comes to this government.

As for what the public thinks, they sided with Colvin vs the government, 2 to 1.

The govt has changed it's story a number of times now and I expect we'll see more shifts next wk.

If there is nothing to hide, why are they hiding?

KNB said...

David, your argument is one generally thrown out when you have nothing to offer about the subject.

Most of us can consider a number of issues at the same time.

It is of vital importance that we clear this matter up, lest we risk the reputation of our forces and the work they may be called to do in the future.

This government is putting that in danger by hiding the facts.

FredfromBC said...

What polls are you reading Fred? It seems to me the polls I've seen are casting a rather wary eye on the government and their integrity over the handling of this issue. But keep spinning your lies, Fred. When it comes right down to it, it's all you've got.

---------

Right. "Lies". Got it.

So the Liberal numbers are now actually going up and support for the Conservative government is falling, but the pollsters are all LYING about it, is that your story?

Is that the story you're gonna stick with? A media cover-up, is it? Seriously?

Wow. Talk about denial.

FredfromBC said...

KNB said...

Believe me Fred, there is nothing faux about my outrage when it comes to this government.

I have no doubt about that. You'll have a knee-jerk reaction to anything and everything done by the Harper government (well, that's not quite true: any government *other* than a Liberal government, right?).


As for what the public thinks, they sided with Colvin vs the government, 2 to 1.


That's nice. Nice and irrelevant.

(even if it's true, that is...)

Did it change popular support for the Conservatives? Did it change voting intentions? No? Then I'm not worried, sorry. You should be, though...


The govt has changed it's story a number of times now and I expect we'll see more shifts next wk.

Perhaps. Perhaps not.


If there is nothing to hide, why are they hiding?


Where do you see them hiding?

penlan said...

Not THOSE polls Fred. The ones about who the public believes on the Afghan torture issue. It's 2-1, or more, that they believe Colvin & NOT Harper & his cabal. Not your beloved Mackay & the Cons, nor Hillier & the other Generals. Go ahead, try to insert polls on something completely different. Typical Con attempted hijacking of a thread.

The kool-aid's been poisoned Fred & you're all going down sooner or later.

FredfromBC said...

penlan said...

Not THOSE polls Fred. The ones about who the public believes on the Afghan torture issue. It's 2-1, or more, that they believe Colvin & NOT Harper & his cabal.


Haven't seen those polls yet, but you must be talking about Ipsos, Ekos, Decima, Nanos or other legitimate pollsters, right? Of course you are...no one would be dumb enough to claim that website 'polls' were in any way indicative of reality, right?


Not your beloved Mackay & the Cons, nor Hillier & the other Generals.

I don't 'love' any soldiers or politicians, sorry. If you do, well, that's one of those "don't ask - don't tell" things and really none of my business...;)



Go ahead, try to insert polls on something completely different. Typical Con attempted hijacking of a thread.

(sigh...)

I can see that I'll need to use really simple language here. So be it. My point (which obviously eluded you completely) was that the only polls that matter are the ones expressing party support. In other words (stay with me now, Penlan) it just *doesn't matter* who or what the public believes if they actually DON'T CARE about the issue one way or the other.

Get it? Clear enough now?


The kool-aid's been poisoned Fred & you're all going down sooner or later.


Yeah...you might want to hold off on your celebration for a little while. The Red Cross is now chastising Colvin, new information is coming to light and it looks like you guys are going to end up with egg on your faces yet again...

(Wafergate, anyone?)

You guys really need to learn how to LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP.

Omar said...

Right. "Lies". Got it.

On CBC Radio’s “The House,” top Conservative strategist Tom Flanagan said this about ten-percenters:

“Canadians seem to be willing to tolerate attacks that are based on half-truths or things taken out of context, or misstatements, partial misstatements, distortions. I mean, as long as there is some basis, there, it becomes a matter of debate.” (November 28, 2009)


Yeah, lies, Fred. Now do me a favour and fuck of and die. You and and others like you, make me ill. Literally.

FredfromBC said...

On CBC Radio’s “The House,” top Conservative strategist Tom Flanagan said this about ten-percenters:

“Canadians seem to be willing to tolerate attacks that are based on half-truths or things taken out of context, or misstatements, partial misstatements, distortions. I mean, as long as there is some basis, there, it becomes a matter of debate.” (November 28, 2009)


Was he talking about Hedy Fry or Caroline Bennett?


Yeah, lies, Fred. Now do me a favour and fuck of and die. You and and others like you, make me ill. Literally.

Awww...that's so cute.

Does Mommy know you're using her computer, little guy?

Omar said...

The 'little man who lives with his mother' retort?

*snort*

Well, if anything, I now feel better about leaving a silly comment that in hindsight I really would have preferred not leaving.

~Karen, la mia casa è la vostra casa.

KNB said...

Omar, Gracias amablemente

FredfromBC said...

Omar said...

The 'little man who lives with his mother' retort?

*snort*



Yeah...I should have found something just as classy as "fuck off and die". My bad


Well, if anything, I now feel better about leaving a silly comment that in hindsight I really would have preferred not leaving.


And yet you did it anyway, didn't you? Poor impulse control is a classic indicator of immaturity.

Quit whining. If you have an intelligent rebuttal to my arguments then by all means posts it. If you're going to simply insult me instead, then don't complain when I respond in kind...