Tuesday, 13 May 2008

The General has a point

Roméo DallaireGeneral Roméo Dallaire (that's Senator Dallaire to you civvies) is upbraiding the Conservative government over the case of Omar Khadr. (In all fairness, the Liberals didn't do any better when they were in power, which may be why Stéphane Dion is threatening to discipline the senator, in yet another stunning example of Dion's lack of political and good sense.)

Dallaire's central point - and whatever you think of the General or Khadr or any of the political parties, it's a very good one - is that Khadr was only 15 at the time he was taken into custody and sent to Guantanamo. Someone that young is normally considered a victim of indoctrination and/or intimidation and is rehabilitated, not charged. He asks what makes this case different. And he's right. You cannot have two sets of standards, applied according to the political winds of the times. Either we stand for human rights and justice equally applied, or we don't.

Dallaire said Canadian soldiers have helped rehabilitate more than 7,000 child soldiers in Afghanistan. None of them have been prosecuted, he said.

"What is the political reason? What makes [Khadr] different from the others?" said Dallaire.

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Janna Qualman said...

Can I just say? Your posts intimidate me, Janet. Mine are light and fluffy... yours are serious and smart. You know, full of grand intellectual themes and mention of political issues. This, my friend, is why I rarely post feedback. But I do visit. And even when I can't come up with a great, resounding comment, I enjoy your blog nonetheless.


Janet said...

Oh my. Head over to Ambivablog or Done With Mirrors then and mine will appear quite fluffy in comparison.

Truth is, my life is too quiet to make good blogging material. The interesting bits are too personal, as far as I'm concerned. So I post about things in the wider world that have piqued my interest for one reason or another.

But I'm glad you waved at me anyway. Feel free to do that any time. :o)

Steph said...

He's completely right.
It makes no sense to have 2 different standards. It's bullshit actually.
I didn't know about any of that, so thanks for posting about it :)

Janet said...

Jason Kenney pointed out, rather petulantly, that Dallaire only started squawking about this once the Conservatives were in power. There is probably a certain amount of hypocrisy on Dallaire's part too, but an ad hominem argument does nothing to change the point, which is valid.

Of course, this is very uncomfortable for the Liberals, seeing as it was Chretien who interceded personally to get Omar's father released from a Pakistani prison. The embarrassment over that when it became clear what a poisonous snake the elder Khadr was is probably why the Liberals made no objection to Omar's imprisonment.

Plenty of blame to throw around here, but the principle remains valid.


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