Sunday, May 16, 2010

That's How the Cookie Crumbles, Murray

...And no cookie for you

Writing on, Murray Dobbin is positively apoplectic about the announcement that the government and opposition have reached an accord on how the viewing of documents pertaining to Afghan detainees will be handled.

"The agreement reached at the 11th hour on the uncensored Afghan torture documents is hardly a victory for democracy," Dobbin pouts. "It is precisely the opposite and it is the Liberals we have to thank for it. We have come to expect nothing better from the Harper Conservatives -- the most dishonest, anti-democratic and arrogant government in living memory."

The irony of Dobbin -- who continues to push his Liberal/NDP/Bloc coalition government despite Canadian rejection of it -- labelling anyone as "dishonest, anti-democratic and arrogant" needs no further comment.

After all, NDP leader Jack Layton also hailed the agreement as a triumph for democracy.

"This is a victory for parliamentary democracy," Layton announced via written statement. "The Speaker's ruling made it clear that members of Parliament have the right to review all the information about the treatment of Afghan detainees, and not just what the government thinks MPs should see."

Yet somehow, in the eyes of Murray Dobbin -- who is forever content to suck up to the NDP -- Layton escapes any blame, and all the blame should fall to the Liberals.

Apparently, the Bloc -- who Dobbin loves well enough to include as party to a coalition government despite their separatist goals -- should also escape any blame for this all-party deal.

Dobbin insists that the change in Liberal Party attitude toward the documents should be attributed to a lack of will to "face down the bully Stephen Harper".

But the fact that the Liberal Party has changed their position is more likely attributable to the prospect that MPs will now be able to actually view these documents, and that they will be able to view them for the entire timeframe of the mission.

This has evidently deflated Liberal enthusiasm for the release of the documents, and with good reason. After all, it was the Liberal Party that negotiated the orginal prisoner transfer agreement under which all the problems actually took place. They approved a weak agreement that provided them with insufficient oversight of the treatment of transferred prisoners despite receiving numerous warnings about the prevalence of torture in Afghan prisons.

It was the Conservative Party that recognized the problem, investigated, and concluded an improved PTA to help quash the problem.

While the bellicose attitude of the opposition parties offered the Conservatives little incentive to release the documents, the national security issues raised by the Conservatives seemed to have been recognized by Speaker of the House Peter Miliken when he admonished the government and opposition to decide a manner of viewing for the documents that will respect the sensitivity of them.

The alternative offered by the most fervent anti-Conservatives has been rather striking: let us have the documents now, so we can use them to smear you now.

But even as certain assclowns are rather uncomfortable with the frequent revelations that the Liberal Party has had far more to do with the torture allegations than the Conservative Party has -- John Baglow going so far as to argue that the Liberals should be let off the hook for their "good intentions" (good intentions that he seems to assume the Tories wouldn't share) -- individuals like Dobbin continue to flail, insisting that there must be something in the documents that could be used to smear the Tories, and they want it desperately.

The Liberal Party, however, having spent so much time in government, seems to know differently: that there are legitimate security concerns complicating the prompt release of the documents. Knowing that the Conservatives couldn't release them without taking measures to prevent sensitive information from being leaked -- and thus knowing the documented extent of their negligence was safe from public disclosure -- the Liberals demanded the release of the documents, knowing they could cast the Conservatives as evasive.

Now that the table has been set for the release of the documents, Liberal feet have grown colder, and the agreement the opposition parties have reached is essentially the same as the one offered: examination by an expert panel, and release based on their recommendations.

When opposition parties play these kinds of political games, it's just the way the cookie crumbles. One would have expected that Murray Dobbin would be used to that by now.

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