Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mediawatch - Bartending the Inquisition

The Ottawa Citizen recently ran an item under "News" entitled "End the Inquisition" in which the author equated the parliamentary committee on the Canadian mission in Afghanistan with Senator Joe McCarthy's anti-communist witch hunt.

"Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?", quotes the author, while condemning "wild accusations of torture and nothing in the way of proof" :
"... the public hears only from the accusers. Some of Canada's most distinguished citizens have been called war criminals."
It's really all about getting out of Afghanistan, he says, and "putting maximum pressure on the government to ensure there is no backtracking on the decision that Canada leave next summer -- and leave Afghans to their fate.":
"Prevailing opinion to the contrary, there is a strong argument that Canada's responsibility for detainees ends when they are handed over and that the onus is on Afghanistan, not Canada, to keep track of them and deal with them pursuant to Afghan law. "
The author wraps up by invoking Eisenhower :

"When he was elected president in 1952, Dwight Eisenhower was the great hope for those who wanted to see an end to the human wreckage McCarthy caused.
But Eisenhower would not intervene. "I just will not, I refuse, to get into the gutter with that guy." It was a noble sentiment he later regretted.

Would that good people in our own time not wait too much longer to intervene."

The Ottawa Citizen then provides a short bio on the author :
"Paul Chapin is a former director general for international security at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. He is an adjunct professor in the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University and a director of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute."

Dear Ottawa Citizen : Rather more relevant would have been the information that as director general of the Department of Foreign Affairs international security bureau from 2003 to the fall of 2006, Paul Chapin was once a proud author of the original 2005 detainee agreement, in his own words : "happy to take ownership". And, as noted in his CDAI bio : "Mr. Chapin developed the strategy to shift the centre of gravity of Canada’s peace operations in Afghanistan from Kabul to Kandahar."

PS I'm bothering you with last weekend's CanWest histrionics here because said "news" item is featured today on the front page of Jack's Newswatch, was mentioned twice by Peter MacKay in the House yesterday, and is currently being approvingly parsed by various, uh, milblogs.

Edited to add last link to Wherry, who was already on this earlier today.

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