April 22, 2010

A useful read

My long-ago media colleague Doug Saunders has done us a public service by posting some of the evidence from the British detainee hearings. They're definitely worth your time. If you only have time for one, read #5, the 2006 British estimate of the options available. The pull quote from this one relates to Canadian cooperation but what's striking in reading it is the British conclusion that given the limitations of the Security Council resolutions, etc., there really was no choice open to them other than trusting the Afghan authorities with primary responsibility for Afghan detainees. The remorseless "no good options" logic of it is striking.

Doug's article on the same topic, however, baffled me in its last sentence: Documents released in the Canadian detainee case have shown that Canada repeatedly avoided building a detention facility, despite requests from several countries and branches of the Afghan government.

I have seen nothing in any record that indicates Afghans ever having interest in having anyone but Afghans take on the Afghan prisoner responsibility. Other than strongly encouraging us to build them new facilities, give them new computers (in the original boxes if possible) etc., sure... but I don't believe the sentence's implication that Afghans would have readily consented to a Canadian-run long-term detention facility in Kandahar is remotely supportable.

Posted by BruceR at 11:28 PM