Friday, November 20, 2009

War Stories

One story has utterly dominated this morning's Globe.

It is on the front page. It is the main subject of the editorial and the editorial cartoon and the op ed and the letters to the editor.

The story is this.

Richard Colvin, a Canadian diplomat, has testified that our soldiers in Afghanistan turned over prisoners to the Afghan knowing full well that the prisoners would be tortured.

At first glance, nothing seems very surprising about such an admission.

But the reaction from the government - our government - and from some observers is amazing.

This horrible "whistleblower" must be lying, claims Defense Minister Peter MacKay.



Why would Colvin make up this tale?

And what could be more ordinary in the course of war, murder and mayhem than the torturing of prisoners?

This is new? This is news?

Why the hysterical denials?

The man was giving testimony to a House of Commons hearing. Does he have some secret and dangerous agenda?

Or is the government of the day just being plain old silly?

On the other hand...

If you want to really learn something about the realities in Afghanistan, read the piece on Malalai Joya, (pictured above) an Afghan woman and writer and activist. Here you will find more of the hard and simple truths.

Your Library Card is Running Out

Watch for library cuts across the city.

City hall wants the Public Library to trim close to $1.5 million from its budget.

Shorter hours, fewer staff, closing of some branches altogether.

Now, that $1.5 million is juts about the exact equal to what this gang of fools spent on the famous bike lane nonsense on Burrard Bridge.

As a friend said yesterday as we were crossing the bridge in the dark and the rain, "It was all symbolic."

I had just commented that the Bikes on Burrard issue was neither good nor bad. It was simply a waste of tax money.

The truth is that car traffic has been barely changed and that bike traffic has been barely changed.

So what was it all about?

Pretty Boy Floyd told his pedal constituency that he'd do this thing, so he did.


Now, libraries - that's another matter completely.

To me, a public library system is one of the first signs of a civilized state.

The Toronto Public Library, main downtown branch, for example, is much loved by locals and deservedly so.

I seem to be one of the few people who really likes our main library downtown.

More importantly, I want to see all public libraries in all neighbourhoods open 7 days a week and for long hours.

I'm happy as a taxpayer to fund this commitment to lifelong learning.

City hall is, as usual, an ass.