The truth is finally coming out.
Technically, we're only seeing allegations. What matter, however, is that the media is taking the allegations seriously.
It begins with a report gathered from interviews with detainees in Afghanistan - prisoners who were captured by Canadian Forces and turned over to the local Afghan authorities. By the Geneva Convention, it is the responsibility of the capturing party to ensure that the prisoners are treated humanely. This includes the disposition of such prisoners when they are transferred to other parties.
The detainees describe extensive, months-long beatings. Electrocution is apparently acceptable, as is whipping, caning and a variety of other methods of torture. One Afghan police officer confides that one simply can't get answers out of prisoners without at least a little torture.
At first, our Minister of Defense was adamant that if any kind of torture was going on, the Red Cross would have told us. That lasted up until the Red Cross explained that, in fact, they would do no such thing. How embarrassing for the Rt. Hon. Gordon O'Connor. The government's defense is now changed. Stephen Harper flails away, stalling, saying that these are only "allegations". Stockwell Day says, hey, take it easy, human rights are new to Afghanistan. I was listening to the evening news and heard a government spokesman say that, according to reports received from Afghanistan, no torture has ever taken place.
Let's take those in order.
We've long gone by the "just allegations" phase. The stories coming out are numerous and credible. On top of that, we have word that Afghanistan's own governmental body for monitoring human rights is actually prevented from observing the prisoners. Mr. Harper, it's not that we have "allegations", it's that the people who could confirm or deny these allegations are intentionally locked out. What does that tell you?
Stockwell Day's assertion that we should cut the Afghans some slack because human rights are "new to this part of the world" is ridiculous and beside the point. If our government knows that there's so little respect for human rights, that makes them *more* culpable for blindly handing over prisoners, not less.
And lastly ... "no torture" has ever taken place? That defies explanation. In what world would anyone even dream of telling such an obvious lie. Do you expect me to beleive that any agency or human rights body would ever make such a claim about any prison? No torture has ever taken place. Indeed.
I said it before .... weeks ago, in fact ... these are war crimes. And these war crimes fall on our heads.
They're calling for the resignation of the Minister of Defense, Gordon O'Connor, both for initially misleading Parliament and for allowing this all to happen. But it can't stop there. The culpability goes far beyond one man. Why are we in Afghanistan? If we have to torture people to get our way, who is to say that we're the good guys? What's our real motivation for being there? This isn't just Gordon O'Connor. This is Stephen Harper and the Conservatives and Paul Martin and the Liberals and anyone else who has ever voted in favour of it.
Why are we there? Why do we have to torture people to "win"?