Blowing It On Torture
My Conservative government. Is their fifteen minutes up yet?
Not, alas, judging by what passes for leadership among the Opposition parties these days. It's so pathetically bad that I'd vote for the Bloq Quebecois, if they ran a candidate in my riding.
A senior diplomat causes an uproar by claiming that almost all detainees handed over by Canadian Forces in Afghanistan were, and continue to be, tortured.
The response as we might have wished it:
Harper could have had it made.
He could have said "Yes, word had reached us of people being tortured. That's why we stopped transferring prisoners to the Afghan prison system not once but at least twice."
He had plausible deniability in himself: "I never got the memos"--Which may even be true.
He could have blamed it on the "previous Liberal government"--An old fave (despite the fact that the "previous government" in this country is now his), and he might even have had a smidgen of justification.
The actual response:
The Conservative machine swings into full denial mode, lying about who knew what and when, producing the usual bullshit charges against the whistleblower, which fail to stick, and stonewalling any attempt at an inquiry before pretending it was their idea all along.
Harper claims the committee investigating Colvin's claims must allow his man Mulroney to testify. Headlines appear saying "Harper says witnesses must co-operate with investigation" or some such bullshit.
In fact, this isn't what Harper's saying. He's saying the committee has to accept Mulroney's testimony at face value without first getting a look at any of the documentary evidence.
Then he says the committee won't be allowed to see Colvin's correspondence (that is, they won't be allowed to read for themselves who was told what and when) because it's just now turned out to be classified.
Huh. Who'da thunk? I'm sure Harper's real busted up about it.
Way to clear the air on that one, Mr. Prime Minister.
Unfortunately it's unlikely that Michael Ignatieff will make much issue of this. He once wrote a thought piece that essentially asked what was wrong with torture. It was a rhetorical exercise, as far as I can tell.
But the Conservatives have already begun shrieking that the Liberal leader is on record as supporting the practice, as though that made their own underwear-staining enthusiasm for it any prettier.
Harper should be in the dock for contempt of Parliament. But then again, he should have been there at least a year ago.