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And so we come full circle


 

John Baird informed the House this morning that detainees in Afghanistan will now be transferred to American forces.

Mr. Speaker, with the combat mission in Afghanistan now complete, I am pleased to inform the House that our government has signed an arrangement with the Obama administration to facilitate the transfer of detainees captured by Canadian Forces in Afghanistan to U.S. custody at the detention facility in Parwan. The U.S. operates this facility with full agreement of the Afghan government and detainees can be prosecuted under Afghan law. Canadian officials will continue to be present on the ground to monitor all Canadian transferred detainees until they are sentenced or released.

It was concerns about how the United States treated detainees—and the example of Abu Ghraib—that led to the decision to transfer detainees to Afghan custody in the first place.


 

And so we come full circle

  1. Yes, and it was clear to everyone at the time that the Liberals were less interested in making sure prisoners were properly treated than in making sure the media’s bloodlust for the Bush Administration didn’t affect Liberal political fortunes.

    So they had Canadian soldiers, for the first time in history, knowingly turn prisoners over to captors who were going to torture them.  

    The US Army is certainly flawed, but it doesn’t torture as a matter of policy.  Thankfully we are now putting the wellbeing of prisoners over the electoral prospects of the Liberal Party.

    • Rumsfeld has stated he is quite pleased with himself for ordering people tortured as a matter of policy.

    • “The US Army is certainly flawed, but it doesn’t torture as a matter of policy.  Thankfully we are now putting the wellbeing of prisoners over the electoral prospects of the Liberal Party.”

      The operative phrase here is surely “Obama administration” ; and with caveats that Afghan law will apply with additional Canadian participation – none of which were present when the Liberals abandoned the Bush torture is necessary club.
      This decision is easy and not at all comparable. Harper would have gotten out from under the same  earlier US detention for the same political reasons as Martin, so i’m not buying your partisan take; indeed should Obama lose his mind and another torture camp be unearthed you wont be able to get out the door cuz Harper and Baird will be wedged in it heading for the nearest exit.
      In addition the present govt actively avoided any alternative solution, such as a nato facility proposed by the Brits and the Dutch.

    • If only what you say there were true.  Points for blaming Liberals even though Conservatives have been in charge for the last five years, but the sad fact is the U.S. military and others like CIA and FBI did cross that “what is torture” line–as a matter of policy sent down from the highest in command.  I hope, but am by no means certain, that this practice has now ended and that it is appropriate to trust our prisoners to them once again.

      Because, otherwise, you are saying that the Conservatives knowingly turned prisoners over to torturers when there was another perfectly safe option available to them, for all of those last five years. 

      In other words, this is one of those days when you have to decide whether you are a Canadian conservative, or an American conservative.

      • So far as I know the CIA crossed that line as a matter of policy with respect to exactly two men, (i.e. waterboarding) and the FBI never did. The US Army, so far as I know, also never did.

        For all those last five years the Conservatives held a minority government, and would not have been allowed by the Liberals to change it given that the change brings with it implicit condemnation of the Liberal attempt to avoid proximity to Abu Ghraib torture by handing prisoners over to the Afghans for torture.

        In short, there was not “another perfectly safe option available to them” for those five years, since the Liberals still retained enough political clout to block the move. Thankfully, that option is now available since the Liberals are gone, and hopefully their amoral ilk will never return.

        In other words, this is one of those days when you have to decide whether it is worse to be perceived as in cahoots with torturers or to actually be in cahoots with torturers. Or, one could say, a Canadian conservative vs. a Canadian Liberal.

        • You bring up Abu Ghraib in the same comment you state as far as you know, the US Army never tortured?

          Interesting you think we Liberals were in charge over the last five years.  As a Liberal, I certainly didn’t get that feeling.

          • Let’s review:  “as a matter of policy” means, specifically “as a matter of policy”.  Abu Ghraib was not US Army policy.  It was a few rogue soldiers acting like animals, getting caught, and being punished accordingly.  In fact it bore a strong resemblance to what happened with the Canadian Airborne in Somalia. So as stated above twice, the US Army does not torture as a matter of policy.  Neither does the FBI, and I’d appreciate it if you’d stop slandering them unless you have a specific counter-example.

            As to the part about me supposedly saying that the Liberals were in charge over the last five years, I think it’s pretty clear that when I wrote “For all those last five years the Conservatives held a minority government, and would not have been allowed by the Liberals to change it …”, I meant that the Conservatives held a minority government.  I mean, “held a minority government” generally means “held a minority government”.  Just reaching here, if you get my drift.   But “minority government” also means that the ruling party can be blocked by the opposition from passing legislation, and legislation that implicitly shows up the hypocrisy of the Opposition tends to get blocked in that manner.

            So again, we have the choice of sliming the US Army with slanders while actively turning our prisoners over to the Afghans who will definitely torture them, or we can turn our prisoners over to the US Army and be slandered for it.  In other words, we can be Liberals or conservatives.  Take your pick, if you haven’t already.

          • “Let’s review:  “as a matter of policy” means, specifically “as a matter of policy”.  Abu Ghraib was not US Army policy…

            …  It was a few rogue soldiers acting like animals, getting caught, and being punished accordingly”

            Quit the semantical bs. The decision to torture went to the very top of the Bush admin, Cheney and Rumsfeld even brag about it. It is now an open secret that the cia went into Abu Graib at night to torture and humiliate Afghan detainees. Are you honestly arguing noone in the US army brass was in the know? The few rogue soldiers were in all likelihood just scapegoats.
            Besides i can recall a debate with you during the detainee/Colvin crisis. I clearly remember you stating your disgust with both liberal and Conservative behaviour in not opting for a separate nato facility. Either you don’t remember or you’re just being intellectually dishonest.

          • Cheney and Rumsfeld supported waterboarding two people, as I recall, on the basis that it involved no physical harm and no long-lasting harm of any kind, and averted imminent attacks which would have killed lots of people. You and I might disagree with them on the ethics of this, but it’s a far cry from supporting the gratuitous sexual humiliation, beatings, and electric-shock torture of Abu Ghraib. They never supported what happened at Abu Ghraib, and I’ve seen at least one interview with Rumsfeld in which he expressed his shock and disgust when he discovered what had happened there. What is indisputably true is that US Army policy prohibits mistreating prisoners of war.

            Your suggestion that Abu Ghraib’s atrocities were ordered by Cheney and Rumsfeld is an unsubstantiated accusation more suited to a left-wing fever-swamp than a Macleans discussion board. You are slandering them and the soldiers of the US Army, some of whom are among my best friends. Stop.

            What you think you recall from previous debates in past years I have no idea, but I’m getting a little tired of being accused of intellectual dishonesty by leftists on a regular basis. Where I come from, ad hominem attacks are considered a sign of weakness.

          • Gaunilon

            Noto belabour the point but i could find the record of your opinions at that time if i could be bothered -obviously you prefer to rationalize; that’s your choice.

            “Cheney and Rumsfeld supported waterboarding two people, as I recall, on the basis that it involved no physical harm and no long-lasting harm of any kind, and averted imminent attacks which would have killed lots of people”

            While it remains unclear to what extent both those “gentlemen” directed or indirectly supported the Orwellian interpretation placed on the meaning of torture by the administration’s AG[ i forget his name] they have not explictly repudiated torture as a policy tool to my knowledge.
            The ridiculous assertion that imminent attacks were averted[ in Cheney’s apoolgia i believe] has been widely rebutted, most powerfully in the “Black Banners” by Ali Soufan. Soufan was one of the principle  FBI agents who were charged with collecting information needed to head off such attacks. Soufan expresses contempt for Cheney’s self serving, conveniently unprovable assertion that torture saved lives. Soufan used tradional methods of interrogation which he argues already turned up much of the intelligence credit later claimed by Cheney; in fact he asserts much of the torure info was incorrect and delayed matters ;leading authorities down false trails.
            Your  faith in the US army is touching but naive. It is hard to believe that top commanders were all kept in the dark, although i don’t doubt some brave souls did offer resistance.  It may on the whole be a respectable organization relative to other armed forces but it is hardly worthy of such uncritcal regard.
            As for your assertion that water boardng is not torture i suggest you try it. It is an historical fact that the US convicted and executed Japanese soldiers who used WB against allied troops in WW2; imo they were right o do so.

          • (1) Whether Cheney is right or wrong about his assertions regarding the use of waterboarding is beside the point. The point is that his support of that technique does not amount to support of the Abu Ghraib atrocities, which you had accused him and Rumsfeld of.

            (2) My point regarding the US Army is that their policies prohibit torturing detainees. Abu Ghraib was contrary to US Army policy, not in accordance with it. This is not “touching” or “naive”, it is documented fact.

            (3) “As for your assertion that water boardng is not torture …

            Nowhere have I said that waterboarding is not torture. In fact, I pointed out that you and I might disagree with Cheney/Rumsfeld on the ethics of waterboarding. You are responding to your preconceived notions of what right-wingers think, not to what I’m actually saying. This makes it difficult to hold an intelligible debate.

            (4) As to what I’ve said in years past, given that we’re not having much luck communicating what I’ve said right here, I don’t have a lot of confidence that you have a clear idea of what I said a year or two ago. I can assure you, however, that I’ve never suggested that the US Army was less to be trusted than the Afghan Army with respect to torture.

          • Did you somehow miss the years of Harper stonewalling and sabotaging the investigation of Afghan detainees – to the point that the ICC is threatening to investigate?  Do you need a hand getting out of that convoluted position you had to get into, in order to blame the Liberals? 

          • I’m confused. Are you saying that the original decision to start handing prisoners to the Afghans to be tortured was a good one or a bad one? If good, what’s Harper done wrong exactly? If bad, how is it incorrect to blame the Liberals for deciding to start this practice?

      • Remember, as the occupying force we could supervise and control the Afghanistan government in a way we don’t control the United States.  Given examples of torture by America with no obvious intention of change, and the risk of torture from the Afghan army that we thought we  could supervise and direct, it was a tough choice but I think we went with the right one.  Obviously a third party would have been better solution and we should have gone with it from the get go, but thank goodness were leaving the decade long absurdity that has been the Afghan war.

  2. And it’s only taken us what? 5 years of CPC government and the threat of an ICC investigation into Harper et al to get there?

    Bloody hell I wish Disqus had a proper delete function. This message was supposed to be ar eply to Gaunilon.

    • Yes, it takes time to recover from the damage caused by years of LPC rule, particularly during a minority government.  I trust you will join me in being thankful that the pace of repair seems to have increased substantially with the advent of a majority Conservative government, seeing as how we’re both opposed to torture and all.

  3. Now that we have seen this, I demand of my country that we have a process and a backup process in place to ensure that troops captured by Canadians will not be subject to torture or turned over to poeple who we reasonably suspect might do so.   And l demand it be in place before the next stupid occupation. 

    • We do. It’s called the Geneva Convention.

      The one Bush called ‘quaint’.

  4. When Baird said the federal government would not be able to enforce snowmobile regulations, I lost interest in his brain pan.  CBC pointed out BC did.  Nothing ideological, I just wanted to know why CPC didn’t want to address snowmobile safety.  Sorry for being an @$$ on the blogs.  I saw the prettiest girl on the bus last night.  Three of the hottest girls I’ve ever seen were in my last 1.5 years.  Overstimulated.  Too much gain.

  5. …see?  This why prohibition is bad.  It will calm me down enough to go back to figuring out how to get loess and sphagnum fuscum peat samples in the winter.  I would probably have to reorient a good 35 hours a week to hit a woman like that…

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