Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Fangs and wags

This will be an irregular feature in Dawg's Blawg.

First, a serious bite at FrontPage Mag's latest nonsense: the "revelation" that the POWs, er, "enemy combatants" in the Gitmo Gulag have legal hearings.

Turns out this means "in front of a military tribunal."

And they have rights under the Geneva Conventions--"in situations where those treaties apply."

And anyway, American citizens considered to be "enemy combatants" are treated no worse: "Obviously," one former Attorney General says, "if these procedures are sufficient for American citizens, they are more than enough for foreign detainees."

A nice bit of parsing, to be sure. In plain English (which I favour), military tribunals have the last word about guilt or innocence, the Geneva Conventions aren't relevant, and American citizens can also be driven to suicide by years of vigorous interrogation, so that's OK then.

On the Dawg Scale, this rates a 4 out of 5: ^^^^

Closer to home, inveterate rightwing Bible-thumper Kathy Shaidle, in an article quaintly entitled "The United States is the greatest force for good the world has ever known," attributes her rejection as a literary critic as due to her, well, being a critic: "
I've been quietly let go from reviewing posts at Canadian literary journals because I've dared to (gasp!) write critical reviews." Er, as opposed to what? Being one of them lit-critters myself, I'm downright curious. Although I got into a little trouble once upon a time for being unkind to Barbara Amiel. But that's another story.

On the Dawg Scale, this barely rates a nip: 1 out of 5. ^

A tail-wag, however, to whatever conjuncture of political forces, common sense and decency has extended Parliament until the same-sex marriage legislation is passed. Now, I will admit that this is a conflict for me, a bit like fighting for women in the priesthood. I mean, here we are defending the rights of everyone, regardless of "orientation," to participate in a thoroughly reactionary institution, originally conceived to pass women from father to husband with no intervening self-identity. I would have preferred civil unions for everyone, with church / temple/ synagogue/ mosque add-ons if people really want them--in other words, for once in my life I favour privatization, in this case of marriage.

But of course, this isn't what's at issue. If marriage licences, dog licences (don't get me started), fishing licenses and driving licenses are available to heterosexuals, then there is simply no good reason to deny any of these to gays and lesbians. To do so is to be in clear violation of the Charter. Parliament may as well bow to the inevitable: being homosexual doesn't make you a second-class citizen, whatever assorted bishops, evangelists and neo-Nazis think, if "think" is the right word to use here.

As to what constitutes the nature of citizenship, however, perhaps we need a wider debate: must it include equal-opportunity adherence to institutions with roots in mediaeval times? I'm typing this on a computer, after all, not scribbling on parchment. Anyhow:

Three Dawg wags: ~ ~ ~

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