Patriot Games

In Port au Prince last week, before the world, Mr. Harper proudly professed that being true patriots (unlike those horrid opposition parties) he and his government are solidly behind our Afghanistan forces in the on-going detainee controversy.

As-if the criticisms of the Afghan-detainee protocols were even on our Afghanistan forces. As-if the detainee issue was their responsibility. It’s not.

This is another failure of leadership. This is a failure, plain and simple, of Mr Harper and his government to follow-through and to actually deal with concerns brought forward to them, rather than sweeping them under the rug, shirking responsibility, and looking for someone to blame.

We can accept that errors can and do happen. What really counts is how we respond to them — Do we identify the problems and work to improve and correct them, and do better next time? Or do we ignore them, hoping they’ll just go away or that nobody will notice (and if someone does notice, find someone to blame for them)? Standard procedure for Mr Harper and his government, is the latter.

It is not our Afghanistan forces who are being criticized or held to account in this matter. It is Mr. Harper and his government who are responsible. It is their job to ensure that our men and women in the field have what they need to operate, which includes appropriate detainee transfer protocols. It is their job to ensure that these protocols are correct and effective, and to correct and adjust them as needed. And it is they, who, in failing in this, in working harder to bob and weave and to shift the blame than it would have taken to actually deal with the problem itself, have let-down the team increasing their exposure to risk and diminishing the mission’s prospects of success. It is Mr Harper and his government who even now are letting down Canada; not our forces in Afghanistan.

Instead of showing true support for our Afghanistan forces, Mr. Harper is hanging them out to dry. His banner of patriotism is a shroud of deceit and betrayal.

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