Monday, August 30, 2010

It's All Our Fault.

Toronto Star columnist Haroon Siddiqui's latest attempt to establish himself as Canada's poster boy for the delusional justifications for reactionary isolationism is quite adequately captured by his column's headline: "To tackle domestic terrorism, end foreign wars." Adrian McNair's careful and effortless deconstruction of the absurd edifice Siddiqui's relies upon to present his case is also quite adequate to show how plum crazy you'd have to be to be convinced by Siddiqui's case.

But there is just one little nail you can pull from the structure Siddiqui builds for himself to cause the whole thing to come crashing down. Siddiqui knows this, so he has to hide it, with this: "No state can be held hostage by terrorists into changing its foreign policy. Such actors must be ferreted out, charged, convicted and jailed. . . Yet such cases should give us pause — so that we are not herded into blindly backing endless wars and occupations abroad."

Canadians, least of all Toronto Star readers, are in no need to be given "pause" about sending our soldiers off to die in faraway places. You'd have to be a crackpot to imagine that Canadians are vulnerable to being "herded into blindly backing endless wars and occupations abroad," but that's precisely the delusion you'd need bouncing around in your brains for Siddiqui to have any point to make at all in the first place. Nobody's asking us to be "backing endless wars and occupations" anywhere, blindly or otherwise. Even our Conservative prime minister is now firmly in the "troops out" camp.

To resolve the imaginary problem that so concerns Siddiqui, Ottawa would end up having to insult 99.9 per cent of Canadian Muslims by running its foreign policy decisions past the most backward and reactionary of Canada's imams, just to ensure beforehand that nothing we did would threaten to upset their crazier spoiled-brat followers. But just to begin to follow Siddiqui's logic, notice how you have to presume both the guilt and the motivation of the individuals caught up in the recent "Operation Somosa" terror arrests?

The presumption of innocence, which Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff properly admonishes us to make, should go without saying. But while I'm on the subject, Ignatieff should also be a bit more careful to make the argument for it without grossly misrepresenting the facts, thus: "It's important for Canadians to realize in the Toronto (18) case, the courts acquitted many people." To put this in the kindest way possible, Ignatieff presents a rather too-liberal interpretation of what happened in that case.

Strictly speaking, the courts acquitted not even one of the Toronto 18.

The Crown withdrew charges against one, a minor, at preliminary hearing, so we're really talking about 17, not 18. Of the 17, 14 were adults. Of those, 7 pleaded guilty to their crimes, 3 were convicted at trial, and Crown stayed charges against the remaining 4 adults, with heavy conditions and peace bonds and the threat of having the charges re-entered at any time (this is how you get evidence from an accused's partners in crime). Of the remaining 3 accused, all minors, Crown stayed charges with conditions and peace bonds in two cases, and the last little brat was convicted at trial.

Poor dears. If we'd only listened to Haroon Siddiqui, none of them would have been provoked into committing their crimes in the first place, and everything would be just fine.


Blogger James O'Hearn said...

Haroon Siddiqui has long been an absolute embarrassment of a journalist. When I was taking my undergrad at York, we used to get free copies of the Star, and even at that price I could barely stomach reading him.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Even if the Canadian government were to be "herded into blindly backing endless wars and occupations abroad," 99.99% of the Canadian Forces would have way too much integrity to do this, and would desert. No army, no wars.
We do is because we can help these people, and should it ever occur, to stop certain other people who seem to think that we are OK with them attacking our country, or our friends. See WWI and WWII.

1:33 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Yes, the article by siddiqui is the usual "it's all our fault" nonsense, denying agency to non-Western countries, groups and individuals. Does Siddiqui ever wonder whether the countries and groups he implicitly defends ever self-flagellate the way he wants Canada to. I doubt it very much.

And it was fun to watch the "Love Boat" video, not only for the content, but also just to hear that sappy Love Boat theme again.

3:06 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home