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Yet another Conservative Colvin talking point debunked.

Some more great investigative reporting by the Ottawa Citizen exposing the Conservative government’s (and it’s allies in the media) talking points as pure bunk:

There have… been allegations about the extent of Colvin’s travels in Afghanistan. Retired general Lewis MacKenzie said recently on CTV that based on information “from a very reliable source, (Colvin) was not permitted outside the wire in Kandahar probably once and maybe not more than once, and so was the victim of having to talk to a number of other people, diplomats, military, intelligence, et cetera, to send his opinion out on his now infamous e-mails, doing the very best he could with restrictions that were placed on him.”

The claim that Colvin went off the base only once was also repeated by Globe and Mail columnist Christie Blatchford. It surfaced again on Tuesday, with the Conservatives using it to try to undercut Colvin’s reputation. “Here is a man, Mr. Colvin, who spent about a day out of his entire tour outside of the wire and had these few interviews,” said Treasury Board president Vic Toews. The Citizen has confirmed, however, that Colvin left the base at least six times to travel into Kandahar, in addition to travelling to other locations in Afghanistan.

H/T Aaron Wherry, and yet 1 more reason for holding a public inquiry on this – to expose more of the governments mistruths on this file, and the attempted smears done on Colvin’s work and reputation.

6 comments to Yet another Conservative Colvin talking point debunked.

  • Big Winnie

    I wonder when the governemnt will collapse under it’s own lies/mistruths and finally accept the call for an inquiry?

  • Dana

    Well I’m questioning the decisions made by soldiers on the ground.

    We’ve now been told that they were rounding up farmers and ordinary Afghans willy-nilly and turning them over to the Afghan authorities.

    Now, perhaps the grunts who were doing that were merely following the orders of officers.

    But those officers are also “Canadian soldiers on the ground”.

    Were they engaged in fire fights with Afghan farmers? Or were the farmers the only Afghans around after the fire fights and thus automatically suspect?

    Smacks of reflexive racism and brings too easily to mind Somalia circa 1993.

  • I’m not quite sure I understand your question, Lorraine.

    As everyone who has been following this story must know by now, no one is questioning the on-the-spot decisions made by soldiers immediately after engagements. The problems have arisen from decisions made afterwards, by brass far removed from the field and by politicians and senior bureaucrats in Ottawa.

    The military do not make policy decisions, nor are they allowed to break the law, which they do not define. In this case, it sounds as though the civil servant assigned to carry through the policy of Canada’s government and to defend Canadian and international law was working very hard at doing that, but found himself subverted by brass, bureaucrats, and politicians who for some reason were intent on pretending to live up to their responsibilities in public while sweeping them under the rug in practice.

    No one is questioning what the soldiers did in the field. But in a democracy, soldiers are loyal to and follow civilian direction — at least they do if you still want a democracy.

    I often thought that Hillier was overstepping legal boundaries under both Liberal and Conservative governments, and it seems to me a shame that no minister or PM ever dressed him down hard and publicly. He has misled far too many Canadians into misunderstanding the role of the forces in a democracy.

  • Lorraine

    Just curious- is it usual for politicians to make or second guess decisions made in the field by our military commanders?
    Do civil servants other than the military make on the ground tactical decisions as in which terrorists to arrest?

    I’ve never heard of that kind of micromanaging military operations before? Did Stephen Harper or his ministers make those kinds of decisions or did they rely on the advice of the military decision makers on the ground?

  • Dana

    Get used to being ashamed, Emily. Its going to be a long time before anything changes. Under any government.

    I say that because there is no western government anywhere that is going to expose itself as complicit in torture. To admit that would be to undermine the air of superior smugness we white devils have cultivated over the past few hundred years.

  • I am ashamed that Canada has been complicit in war crimes, and I am ashamed that we have a government that just doesn’t seem to care.

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