Monday, September 25, 2006

What is the appropriate reaction?

You've got to admire the Canadian right. No matter what else happens, it seems that George W. Bush cannot be blamed. Why admire this? Because there's no risk to Canadians criticizing Bush, only an ephemeral chance that it will impact their own political fortunes, and yet Conservative still seem to have a hard time actually doing it. At least when the Republicans do it, you know they're partially motivated by their own defense. When the Canadian right embarasses itself to defend Bush, what's the motive?

Example: Rondi Adamson in the Star:
At worst, Arar's story might suggest the RCMP were incompetent, ignoring procedures, and that Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli should step down.

But it's a significant stretch to suggest Arar's story means Canada has gotten too cozy with the United States when it comes to fighting terrorism. This would imply that Arar was smeared and handed over to American authorities because Ottawa was desperately trying to please George Bush.
I agree with Adamson that this clearly shows the RCMP were incompetent, but this is where she loses me:
Which is not to excuse incompetence. But I suspect the latter is at the root of this. I don't blame the American authorities. They were provided with intelligence (that turned out to be faulty) and reacted accordingly. This falls on Canada and Arar will have to be compensated — even though no compensation can give him back what was taken.
Wow. Nice. Apparently, in Adamson's world, when a man is stopped at the airport, has Canadian citizenship, but is connected to Al Qaeda with only the sketchiest possible intelligence - intelligence that the Americans didn't even try and verify - it's "reacting accordingly" to send the (innocent!) man to a third-world dictatorship without so much as a regular trial, have him tortured for months on end until he confesses to a crime he didn't commit.

I'd hate to see what Adamson thinks is "reacting unaccordingly".

Yes, the RCMP fucked up. But it was the Bush Administration that sent Arar to Syria to be tortured. The tragedy of the Arar story is not that he was inconvenienced by an airport security guard who thought he was funny-looking. The tragedy is he was tortured. Unless, of course, you're Rondi Adamson, in which case it's "reacting accordingly."

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