Monday, April 14, 2008

Operation Enduring Freedom From Difficult Facts

It was back in October when we first heard about US Marines relocating from Iraq to Afghanistan :

"The US Marine Corps has insisted that its forces be removed from Iraq and sent to Afghanistan instead to take the lead in combat there.
According to senior military and Pentagon officials, the suggestion was raised in a session last week convened by Defence Secretary Robert M Gates for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and regional war-fighting commanders, the New York Times reported.
This would leave the Iraq war in the hands of the Army while the Marines would play an important role in Afghanistan, under overall NATO command."

Then came the Manley panel report and the whole drama of Harper's conditions for staying on in Afghanistan - where oh where would the 1000 extra troops and air power evah come from? - and now the US Marines are indeed relocating to Afghanistan as planned and Operation Enduring Freedom is in da house!

CBC : Afghanistan joint command
"There were sighs of relief in government circles earlier this month when the United States agreed to provide at least an additional 1,000 marines to the Canada-led mission in Kandahar.
Finding an extra 1,000 combat soldiers to help the 2,500-strong Canadian military mission in troubled southern Afghanistan was a key Canadian condition — along with more air power — for keeping our troops there until the end of 2011."

Way to keep up, CBC. I do believe we've already bitched that one.

But in what CBC refers to as the "new, more side-by-side relationship between American and Canadian soldiers in southern Afghanistan", a few questions arise about our differing policies. Quite apart from how the command structure is supposed to work, there's the American propensity for wiping out marijuana and poppy crops, ie Afghani livelihood; their greater reliance on air strikes, ie bombing Afghan civilians; and the little matter of their torturing detainees/POWs, ie Bagram., the US internment facility where Afghan detainees known to be innocent of any crimes are beaten to death.

Uh-oh - detainees. This issue is already a big optics headache for Harper in Canada, and news that detainees might fall under US - Canadian joint jurisdiction is going to play badly for the Cons.
But wait!

CTV : Ottawa hopes to block probe into Afghan detainees :
"The government is seeking to block an independent investigation by the Military Police Complaints Commission into Canada's handling of Afghan detainees, according to court documents filed in Federal Court.
Amnesty International Canada and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association filed a complaint with the commission last year, after allegations surfaced that detainees had been tortured by local Afghan authorities.
Government lawyers filed an application Friday to halt the investigation, saying the commission does not have jurisdiction to probe the complaints."

Something they might have mentioned at any time since the commission began its investigation.
And as Pogge points out, if the commission doesn't have jurisdiction, why has the government of Canada been complying, however reluctantly, with its demands for documentation up till now?

Possibly because now we're under deadline to align our Operation Enduring Freedom From Difficult Facts policies with those of the US before the 'partnership' begins in July - that's why.

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