Thursday, June 7, 2007

Torment & Torture

The Anaheim Ducks have won the Stanley Cup.

Let me run that by you kind folks the right way, to put it in the proper perspective.

The Anaheim Mighty Ducks have won the Stanley Cup. The team that Disney built has won Lord Stanley's Championship Cup, holiest and most storied chalice in all of professional sports and - in history - second only to the Sangraal.

As a Canadian, as a hockey fan and as a Montrealer, I cannot help but be disgusted by that fact and the only possible consolation is the fact that the majority of players on the Anaheim team were Canadians.

Another point of comfort is that the men who are accused of torturing four Afghan insurgents, captured by Canadian forces are not Canadians. It is a sad state of affairs when every other month another one of these allegations arises and it says at least two things.

Firstly, our men in the field need to be taught the Geneva Conventions - they need to learn them by heart and they need to live and work by them. This is the only way to ensure that our men act ethically and appropriately in the field and the best way to provide oversight without having to hire special overseers for the operational theatre and its prisons. If enough of them feel they are ethically bound to certain behaviours, then maybe, just maybe we'll see more people blowing the whistle on these offenders and be able to better intervene to stop their offenses.

Secondly, as mentionned in some publications, the fact that the Taliban, Al-Quaeda and other insurgent groups are instructing their people to claim torture when captured speaks to our sensitivity to the subject of torture. We mustn't forget that this is indeed a war. These activities cannot be condoned, not only because we've agreed, via the Geneva Conventions that they are unacceptable, but because they've been proven to yeild only the answers the victims believe the interrogators want and any information extracted through torture is therefore useless, however, we must be conscious that in some cases this will happen and establish a process to try, prosecute and punish the offenders, that justice may be served. The enemy knows we are democracies and they know that to damage our opinion of the war at home that they can damage the effectiveness of our fighting forces overseas; in the world of computers this is called a bug exploit, and we would do well to patch this one.

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