Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Canadian General Supports Afghan Detainee Transfers

Canada's army says it would have to pack up and go home if it had to stop handing over its detainees to Afghan prison authorities. What a load of utter nonsense!

From the Globe & Mail:

Listing a long series of possible embarrassments and defeats, Brigadier-General André Deschamps outlined what he says would be the dire consequences, including losing the war, should a Federal Court judge rule in favour of a request by human-rights groups to issue an injunction banning the transfer of detainees to Afghan prisons because of the risk of torture or abuse.

Gen. Deschamps sketches a variety scenarios. Taliban fighters might surrender in droves, he warns, if they knew Canada would release them because it could not either hold them or transfer them. "The insurgents could attack us with impunity knowing that if they fail to win an engagement they would simply have to surrender and wait for release to resume operations," he said in a sworn affidavit.

Gen. Deschamps, the chief of staff of Canada's Expeditionary Force Command that runs combat operations in Afghanistan, goes so far as to suggest the Taliban might win the war, at least in Kandahar, if the court were to grant the injunction.

Come on, Deschamps, get real. There's absolutely no reason NATO can't organize a compound for all ISAF detainees. Secretary general de Hoop Scheffer has a lot of alliance member countries that don't want to fight but could be cajoled into running a detention facility.

It's what we did in Korea. Back then we knew better than to hand over North Korean or Chinese prisoners to the South Koreans. Unless he's an idiot, this guy Deschamps knows there are several alternatives to handing detainees over to the Afghans. His over the top approach of "our way or Armageddon" reflects a deeply politicized armed forces.


JimBobby said...

"There's absolutely no reason NATO can't organize a compound for all ISAF detainees."

Not only that, there's absolutely no reason Canada can't organize a compound for all Canadian-captured detainees. I may be mistaken but I think that in 4 years, we've captured fewer than 200 prisoners.

Setting up a humane prisoner of war camp would make an ideal training ground for our Afghan allies. Once they see us doing the job while complying with Geneva, they'll be better equipped to do the same.

We're supposed to be building a democracy, right?


The Mound of Sound said...

I think you're right JB. The FBI has shown they can get more intelligence out of a terrorist by showing a bit of respect and compassion than the CIA could ever get by torture. I would imagine having a proper compound for detainees, one where they're treated well, might just provide a goldmine of tactical information. To hear Karzai and our guys talk, most of these Taliban insurgents aren't really nutbar zealots. That means they're potentially valuable assets if we don't send them into the arms of their fellow Afghans to face torture or worse. Think of how much it costs us to nab one detainee. Why throw that investment down the drain?