Sunday, May 06, 2007

I Never Had Sexual Relations With That Woman: The Afghan Detainee Edition

Another day, another story. If your just read the headlines, it makes it look like the military brass is claiming that Col. Steve Noonan is either crazy or a liar -- that he doesn't know whether or not he had someone in his custody. But if you look closer, you can pretty quickly see they are doing something else. They are using the "Clinton Defence". Here is the key section of the story:
"Nothing in the circumstances described can lead to the conclusion that the individual was tortured and that CF members were aware of such torture," he said.

"This individual was not processed by the CF as a detainee; he was arrested by the ANP."

Canadian troops questioned the man in the Zangabad region west of Kandahar -- known to be a haven for Taliban insurgents.

But they didn't consider him enough of a threat or intelligence source to treat him as a detainee, Natynczyk said. The man was then arrested by the Afghan National Police, according to his statement. (emphasis mine)
In other words, it all depends on what you mean by "custody". Col. Noonan may have thought he had the guy in his custody, but he was just mistaken. The proper paperwork had not been filed with the proper bureaucrats, so he was just a guy who was in the general vacinity of Canadian troops. None of our business really. Pretty cute, eh? A little too cute, if you ask me. I wonder how the war crimes court in the Hague would react to such a brazen attempt to evade responsibility? All I can say is it is a sad day when your whole defence comes down to semantic games. Our troops deserve better than that.
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