Monday, April 30, 2007

Stockwell Day busted by the Afghan ambassador

After Stockwell Day announced that Corrections Canada personnel, assigned to Afghanistan in a training and mentoring role, were monitoring the treatment of prisoners taken by Canadian Forces I called him on it. In fact, I called the opposition on it for not jumping all over Day's statement. The Corrections Canada mission has nothing at all to do with monitoring PWs and it doesn't take any amount of research to prove it.

Over the weekend my position was verified by none other than the Afghan ambassador to Canada.
Urging an end to the "political circus" over Afghan detainees, Afghanistan's ambassador to Canada says no Canadians, including corrections officers, have monitored treatment of prisoners turned over by Canadian military forces.
End of fucking story.

Alison points it out in clear terms. Stockwell Day should be toast.

Day's deliberate misleading of the House of Commons was an effort to mask the fact that his colleague, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor, had no workable agreement with anybody which would verify that prisoners taken by Canadian Forces were receiving humane treatment.

There have been posts on the fringes of the outer wankosphere suggesting that Canadians should not care about the treatment of PWs captured by Canadian troops. There has been one ignorant and incomprehensible comment on this blog suggesting the same thing.

Let's clear this up. The Geneva Conventions are not "quaint" treaties which have no place in modern warfare. They are Canadian law. We may not like that they are blowing up Canadian troops, or that they have the unmitigated gall to actually fight back when someone tries to capture or kill them, but that does not change what is legally required of this country and its agents when a combatant or a partisan is rendered hors d'combat or reduced to the status of an ineffective captive.

Members of the Canadian Forces are required to take prisoner any combatant who surrenders or who is routed. From the point that an enemy surrenders the onus is on the captor to provide protection to any and all prisoners from further harm provided they do not attempt to escape. It is the responsibility of the government of the forces which capture enemy combatants to ensure humane treatment and that captives are removed from further danger as soon as practicable. If a transfer takes place, the government of the capturing force is required to guarantee the proper treatment of prisoners, no matter who it is that receives them. There are no fucking options.

Those who suggest that Taliban fighters are little more than animals and therefore deserve no better than what might happen to them at the hands of the Afghan intelligence services need to review their thinking. I would lay money down that those same people would consider the treatment of Canadian PWs by the Japanese, taken after the fall of Hong Kong, was abhorrent, barbaric and illegal. While Japan signed the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, Japan did not sign the Geneva Conventions. No matter, almost everyone could agree that Japan should be held accountable for the way they treated prisoners. (Few people would be aware that Japanese military law in WW2 prohibited the torture of prisoners and that those regulations were used to provide a prima facie case against military personnel during war crimes trials.)

Those who express the belief that prisoners captured by Canadian troops are not entitled to proper protection and treatment are, in fact, no better than the Japanese who justified their actions as a part of the Bushido Code.

It wasn't right then and it isn't right now.

Back to Stockwell Day, who has made a blatant effort to paint Taliban insurgents as Al Qaeda operators.

His language has been unacceptable and inflammatory. This same piece of shit will stand there and spout "Canadian Values" as a reason for being in Afghanistan and then suggest that we have to live with whatever ill-treatment prisoners receive at that hands of our Afghani agents because "they don't understand".

It's the responsibility of the Canadian government to make the Afghan government understand, including the threat of repercussions if they do no carry out our wishes - to the fucking letter.

Even more sickening is the willingness of Harper, O'Connor and Day to dodge behind "the troops" every time they are held to account for having no coherent prisoner transfer policy. The suggestion that opposition to their unworkable transfer agreements is maligning Canadian troops in the field is an insult, not to the opposition, but to the troops directly.

Just to be clear, the troops are doing their job properly and in accordance with the direction they have received. It is not the responsibility of the troops in the field to monitor or know what treatment transfered prisoners receive once they are out of the hands of those affecting a capture. It is the responsibility of the Canadian government and specifically, Harper, O'Connor and Day.

I agree with Alison: Stockwell Day should resign immediately. And he can take that useless thing playing at Defence Minister with him.

Harper needs to have it clearly pointed out to him that playing at "soldier" involves a lot more than just going out and shooting at things. The taking, proper processing and humane treatment of prisoners is a part of combat operations. It's not an option and, as inconvenient as it may be to him, it is an obligation of all "civilized" countries engaged in belligerent military operations. It's a part of warfare and his Defence Minister has failed him for not providing the proper education.

Harper doesn't get to decide. Fuck, I was teaching this stuff when he was still pissing his bed.

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