Friday, September 19, 2008

Bob Rae, Jeremy Hinzman and the Pathetic Rituals of Fashionable Sanctimony

TORONTO - At a brief stop off the campaign trail Thursday, Liberal MP Bob Rae reaffirmed his party's commitment to keeping American war resisters in Canada.

It's not just that the entire Jeremy Hinzman caper has been a charade of nonsense, falsehood and hyperbole from the very beginning. It's that everyone is obliged to be complicit in it, like one of those beatnik stage plays that demand the participation of the audience.

In the first act of the drama, we were expected to pretend that Hinzman fled to Canada because of his principled refusal to participate in America's "illegal war" in Iraq - a fiction that has been exposed and thoroughly rejected by Canada's courts. In this latest episode, we are all supposed to ignore the fact that what is really going on here is the Liberal Party is trying to secure its ditzier supporters, who have been bleeding away to the New Democratic Party.

Throughout the whole charade, we have all been obliged to imagine Canada as a kind of hippie commune where conventional norms - like the definition of conscientious objector set out by the UN High Commission on Refugees - do not apply. This isn't all that difficult if you don't take Canada seriously as a country to begin with.

Breath in enough of the patchouli oil and you will not have to consider the fact that Canada is actually a real country, with real obligations under international law, and reciprocal arrangements regarding extradition of criminals with the United States. You can pretend, then, that the current US engagement in Iraq is illegal, and that Hinzman will be persecuted if he is returned to the United States.

Go ahead and pretend that you are not being taken for a ride by the War Resisters Support Campaign and its disgraceful agenda. Go right ahead.

But it will mean you won't have a coherent answer to these questions: Do we seriously propose to grant American deserters all the benefits of citizenship, along with the perks of celebrity status, while we toss Canadian deserters in prison? What makes Americans so damn special?

Go ahead and pretend that the non-binding Parliamentary resolution applies in Hinzman's case, when it doesn't, because this was never about Iraq in the first place. And when Rae says: "I don't think we should be having a situation where we're dead set on deportation in every situation, which seems to be the position of the government," you have to pretend that we do have a "situation" like that to start with, when we don't.

Go ahead and pretend that this is the Sixties, and that the Taliban are the Vietcong.

Back in the real world, Rosie DiManno gets it right.

In the meantime, for real pacifists, here's an honest one who won't join the Canada Afghanistan Solidarity Committee, but still manages to get the issues right. And here's another brave and committed peacenik, who joined the Canada Afghanistan Solidarity Committee anyway. And here's a CASC member, a soldier, who is worth more than 10,000 Yankee deserters.

But if it's Canadian refugee-status scandals you want, here's a real one:

Canadian authorities are absurdly obliged to turn away asylum seekers who are legitimate freedom fighters from totalitarian regimes.


Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Whatever the legality of the invasion of Iraq, the US/multilateral presence was legally authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1511 of October 16, 2003.

Please read the Resolution if not familiar with it. Anyone deserting after that date was not avoiding service in an "illegal war". Surely those Canadian progessives who support the UN so strongly should realize that.

The UNSC continued to re-authorize the multinational force through Resolution 1790 of Dec. 18, 2007--a summary from the UN itself:


Recognizing the request from Iraq, the Security Council today decided to extend the mandate of the multinational force in that country -- “for the last time”, according to its Permanent Representative -- until 31 December 2008...'

That's why a "status of forces" agreement with the Iraqi government is being negotiated, so that the foreign presences will continue/continue to be legal under international law.


12:50 PM  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Terry: "Please read the Resolution if not familiar with it." Not aimed at you but others who may read the comment.


12:51 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Hence the parentheses around the term "illegal," hence the use of the term "fiction."

Went looking for the resolution but couldn't find it. Thanks for the link.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Raphael Alexander said...

A superb argument. Dr.Dawg's link and dismissive comments to your fine article only further proves the validity of your points.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Ti-Guy said...

A superb argument.

Which parts did you like best, RA? The hysterical references from the 60's dessicated and bitter hippie holdovers like this author hammer into into their writing?

Because that's what I liked best.

*sigh* Oh well; one day all the boomers will be dead.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

I see that in today's developments, the judge in Hinzman's last ditch effort to stay in Canada said Hinzman "might not receive proper psychiatric treatment for his schizo-affective disorder if jailed in the U.S."

First I've heard of a mental disorder being involved. All due sympathy to Hinzman for that, then, and for having to put up with all the full-bore crazy bastards who persist in "helping" him.

6:41 PM  
Blogger jaycurrie said...

"First I've heard of a mental disorder being involved. All due sympathy to Hinzman for that, then, and for having to put up with all the full-bore crazy bastards who persist in "helping" him."

Insanity, in certain circumstances, may be infectious.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Raphael Alexander said...

ti-guy, I'm not a boomer. You'll likely have to wait until 2062 to be rid of me.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It should be noted that the article was not written by Mr. Glavin. This was actally taken from Rob Breakenridge from Calgary talk radio AM770 CHQR. The article was posted on his blog here...

I don't see anything giving credit to the article to Mr. Breakenridge. Oh well, they are both wrong. The legality of the war in Iraq was thrown out as an argument by the IRB at the behest of CIC Minister Diane Finley. The argument is moot. The Gov. claims the legality is irrelevant. If we can't use it to argue our point that, the war in Iraq is illegal, then you can't use it to argue that it is.

11:24 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...


You've got it backwards. Rob Breakenridge's post quoted at length from my post, which he acknowledged with these words: "Also, see this great post from Terry Glavin. . ." etc.

You can apologize now.

11:33 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

P.S.: Note also that my post appeared three days before Rob's, which would make it impossible for my post to have been taken from his. His post was a damn good one, too.

11:39 PM  

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