Michael Byers is a leading expert in international law and has lent his voice to the Afghan situation. Early on he was concerned with our role, and also concerned with the handling of detainees, not just from a humanitarian perspective, but a legal one.
He would be someone Harper's Reformers would dismiss as a 'University type', suggesting that their supporters would not listen to someone like Mr. Byers. That's unfortunate, because these are the people we should be listening to.
At the beginning of the interview, they are discussing the Manly Report, and I posted on Linda McQuaig's reactions to that report. Journalist Terry Glavin, and indeed most of the mainstream media thought it was wonderful, but I don't agree.
We need to get our soldiers off the battlefields and if we're not prepared to do that, then bring them home. The mission does need a new direction, but one of negotiation, or at least an honest attempt at negotiation. But I can just hear Harper now as I'm typing "we don't negotiate with terrorists'.
Mr. Byers wrote a piece in the Tyee in October of 2006, explaining why Canada should not be in this war. I'm all for humanitarian aid and protecting the aid workers, and reconstruction, but no more U.S. style aggression.
Afghanistan: Wrong Mission for Canada
The coolly reasoned case made by a leading expert in international law.
By Michael Byers
October 6, 2006,
Tipping point nearing.
We are approaching the five-year mark of Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan. Joint Task Force 2, Canada's special-forces unit, has been active in that country since shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. We know that JTF-2 soldiers transferred detainees to U.S. custody in January 2002, participated in an attack at Tora Bora in December 2002, and transferred detainees to U.S. custody again during the summer of 2005.
The first deployment of regular soldiers came in January 2002, when 750 infantry from the Princess Patricia's Regiment were sent to Kandahar as part of an U.S. counter-insurgency task force. Four of these soldiers were killed, and eight others injured, in a "friendly fire" incident in April 2002. Then, over a two-year period from August 2003 to October 2005, some 6,000 Canadian soldiers were rotated through Kabul as part of a UN-authorized, NATO-led "international security assistance force" providing security and stability for Afghanistan's new government. ....