BTC: My heavens, Romeo Dallaire said what?


“More broadly, successful counterterrorism depends in part on convincing the world that there is no moral equivalency between the terrorists and the government they oppose.  When the United States muddies these waters, this distinction begins to blur. This is particularly problematic for U.S. attempts to woo fence-sitters in the Muslim world—the very hearts and minds that the United States most needs.”

That’s Daniel L. Byman testifying before the U.S. Senate foreign relations committee in July 2007. Some soft liberal like Romeo Dallaire? Not quite.

“If it isn’t stopped, torture will destroy your nation’s important strategy to develop democracy in the Middle East. And if you cynically outsource torture to contractors and foreign agents, how can you possibly be surprised if an 18-year-old in the Middle East casts a jaundiced eye toward your reform efforts there?”

That’s Vladimir Bukovsky, writing in the Washington Post. Quite unlike Jason Kenney, he spent 12 years in Soviet prisons, labor camps and psychiatric hospitals for “nonviolent human rights activities.”

I don’t have a transcript of Mr. Dallaire’s comments today at committee (here’s what our Kady saw). But what from I’ve heard, his argument seemed to be a simple one: the only thing that separates man from beast is the rule of law. And when we surrender that distinction we lower ourselves to their level.

“Canada’s stance on the Khadr case unquestionably violates the spirit of the UN protocol on child soldiers and makes a mockery of our championing this and similar human rights causes,” he wrote in the National Post some months ago. “While the bravery and professionalism of our soldiers in Afghanistan have indeed enhanced our standing as an emerging middle power, the government’s handling of other files clearly detracts from our credibility.”

The Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity asked the Senator if he was equating the treatment of Omar Khadr with terrorists in Iraq strapping bombs to the disabled. The Senator stuck to his original assertion. The Secretary of State was displeased.

“I was shocked and disturbed by those sorts of extreme and ridiculous comments coming from a Canadian senator,” he told reporters after QP. “It’s the sort of thing I might expect to hear from a mob of wacky protestors, not from a Canadian senator.”

Messrs. Byman and Bukovsky would probably resent the comparison to a mob of wacky protestors, but let’s not quibble over details.

The point is this: the ways in which the Western world has sought to combat terrorism in the seven years since 9/11 have been the subject of some discussion in most of the serious nations on earth. 

And, in that sense, the most shocking realization of the day may only be that just now has Canada decided to join the debate.

(On a side note, the Down Syndrome story, as repeated by Mr. Kenney, is somewhat less than accurate.)



BTC: My heavens, Romeo Dallaire said what?

  1. Also, it’s worth pointing out that this wasn’t a wide-ranging roundtable discussion on terrorism: for or against? It was a hearing on Canada’s seemingly contradictory position on child soldiers, which requires a certain prescribed form of understanding and empathy to be shown — except when that child soldier is a Canadian citizen, in which case, all bets are off. If Kenney had a point to make on the actual issue under discussion, he could have done so; he didn’t, so one is forced to assume that he does not.

  2. Being a CPAC junkie I watched the General and listened in disbelief as he has always been a true Canadian hero to me. However I think that he has allowed his emotions on this issue to get the better of him and I was very sad to hear the vile comments that he made equating a moral relative equivalency between not asking for Khadr to be bought home to that of a terrorist using an innocent child to explode a bomb killing other innocents! This is well and away completely beyond the pale. Not only should he be disciplined but I am afraid that to me he has lost all credibility as a source of information about this issue as well as soemone who represents us in the upper house. I think he should be removed from the Liberal Party and the Senate if possible and if not well here is another reason we should have an effective and elected Senate. Yes he was baited but then not only did he re-iterate his statements but he added more. This is way beyond being just unacceptable.

    • Right off the hop, Wayne, Jason Kenney was more than baiting the esteemed Senator. He was outright LYING!! As far as the remarks of the Senator, when you get past the alarm bells that go off in your head about comparing terrorists with how the Harper government has handled the Khadr case, he is stating that you cannot pick and choose how you apply the law. The law is the law… the same for all. If we lose track of that then the 'terrorists' have won.

  3. I can see why Jason Kenney or others could take offense to what Romeo Dallaire said but I personally believe Jason Kenney is simply feigning indignation. And given how he can’t engage in an intellectual debate on a matter of ethics and morality without engaging in smear tactics demonstrates why he never finished his undergraduate degree in Philosophy.

    I was especially fond of what Ishmael Beah said, as quoted in the Toronto Star:
    “(Y)ou can’t say that one person’s life is more valuable. So, if a 15-year-old kid in Sierra Leone, in Congo, in Uganda, in Liberia, if they kill somebody and shoot somebody in the war it’s fine, but as soon as that kid kills an American soldier or … they are no longer a child soldier, they are a terrorist.”

    Let’s stop cherry picking human rights and consular cases, and seek fair justice for all Canadian citizens.

  4. *it’s worth pointing out that this wasn’t a wide-ranging roundtable discussion on terrorism: for or against*

    But this is exactly what Dallaire made it when he made his stupid analogy… when challenged by Kenney, he could only, meekly, say that he stood by it.

  5. Mr. Kenney made the ridiculous comparison. I don’t understand why Dellair is being grilled for holding his stance even in the face of an extreme, erroneuos, baiting statement from Mr. Kenney. Instead of the emphatic “ABSOLUTELY”,
    I wish Mr. Delaire had pointed out that it would be like holding the 14 year old Iraqi down-syndrom girl in Guantanamo for six years etc… etc… that could have driven Mr. Dellairs point home with even the thickest skulled conservative appologist.

  6. Wayne:

    Disciplined? Do you suggest disciplining every public figure who offends you?

    Also, I suspect you of being John Baird.

  7. Abldfable, I couldn’t agree more. Kenney’s question was repugnant. Had it been me, I wouldn’t have dignified it with an answer.

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