Thursday, November 19, 2009

Man with a conscience

Everything has by now been dragged into the sunlight. The Harper government, beyond all reasonable doubt, has been complicit in the torture of Afghan civilians, and the Canadian Forces' leadership and assorted conniving bureaucrats have joined this government in their complicity, and assisted it in trying to cover it up.

I have little to add. But I would like to salute the man who blew the whistle on these banal evildoers--Richard Colvin:

Counter-insurgency is an argument to win the support of the locals. Every action, reaction or failure to act become part of the debate. In Kandahar, Canada needs to convince local people that we are better than the Taliban, that our values were superior, that we would look after their interests and protect them. In my judgment, some of our actions in Kandahar, including complicity in torture, turned local people against us. Instead of winning hearts and minds, we caused Kandaharis to fear the foreigners. Canada’s detainee practices alienated us from the population and strengthened the insurgency.

Putting aside his career aspirations, refusing to keep silent, refusing to be silenced, Colvin held nothing back yesterday on Parliament Hill. A righteous man, surrounded on all sides by excuse-makers, cover-up artists and venal politicians, finally permitted to speak after the government had attempted to gag him--and heckled for his trouble by brainless Conservative magpies.

Colvin stands for all of the values that we as Canadians allegedly share, but too often put aside out of convenience, fear or apathy. Those who would attack this man's credibility merely shred the last remnants of their own.

Richard Colvin is a man who can sleep soundly at night, and who can look at himself in the mirror when morning comes.


UPDATE: The Conservatives further debase themselves:

MacKay painted Colvin as having been duped by the Taliban and said Canadians are being asked to accept the word of prisoners "who throw acid in the face of schoolgirls."
Conservative MPs dismissed Colvin's testimony as being based on second- and third-hand information and suggested his allegations were part of a disinformation campaign. [emphases added]

More at Impolitical. Excellent collection of background links from Aaron Wherry, via POGGE.

And still no word from former human rights advocate Michael Ignatieff. Nor, come to think of it, from the Torchers.

UPDATE: (November 20) Damian Brooks, of The Torch, has put up a post on the issue. His interview with the CBC, in a quasi-debate format, may be found here.

No comments: