Saturday, April 20, 2013

Removing All Doubt

At Margaret Thatcher's funeral this week, Stephen Harper couldn't resist the opportunity to attack Justin Trudeau. Even though the reporter who asked the question made no mention of Trudeau's comment that we should try to understand the "root causes" of terrorism, Harper said:

“When you see this type of violent act, you do not sit around trying to rationalize it or make excuses for it or figure out its root causes. You condemn it categorically, and to the extent you can deal with the perpetrators, you deal with them as harshly as possible."

It was vintage Harper -- the same kind of ham handed attack Harper directed at Paul Martin when he accused Martin of supporting child pornography. But, today, Americans are asking the very question Trudeau posed. What led two kids who immigrated to the United States, and seemed to assimilate so well,  choose to act with such horrific violence?

And Andrew Coyne, of all people, has come to Justin's defense:

If we are trying to defend against this sort of threat, then — to catch and punish those responsible for past atrocities, and more important, to anticipate and prevent the next — it would seem only logical to try to understand what causes it: the process by which these individuals are radicalized, the types of personalities most susceptible to it, and the circumstances that make them that way. Indeed, I would be astonished if there were not whole sections of the security establishments in both countries devoted to just that challenge, for the same reason the police employ psychological profilers.

Nothing in the notion of looking for causes says that we cannot also deal with effects. Neither is there anything in what Trudeau said that would equate understanding your enemies with excusing them, or explaining away their acts.

No, this was yet another attempt by Mr. Harper to eliminate a rival -- the verbal equivalent of that pooping puffin which unloaded on Stephane Dion's shoulder.

The Harper spin machine likes to sell the idea that the prime minister is a brilliant man. But Harper's remarks had the opposite effect. The prime minister proved the wisdom of  of Mark Twain's admonition: "Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt."


Lorne said...

Although i don't have a great deal of faith in the public's capacity to remember political outrages, Owen, I am hoping, given the very public backlash against Harper's disgraceful recent behaviour, that this one sticks to him right through to 2015. His attack ads, coupled with the damage the regime has done to Canada over the years, will, with any luck, persuade enough citizens that it is long past time for a change.

Owen Gray said...

I've always felt, Lorne, that a little of Harper goes a long way.

One can only hope that Canadians are getting sick of him.

the salamander said...

its interesting to note that President Obama's views are ridiculous to the Prime Minister of Canada. Why ? For expressing views identical to Justin Trudeau and speaking for ongoing society, the victims and their families.

Obama said the arrest "closed an important chapter in this tragedy." But he acknowledged that many unanswered questions remain about the motivations of the two men accused of perpetrating the attacks that unnerved the nation.

"The families of those killed so senselessly deserve answers," said Obama, who branded the suspects "terrorists." (Associated Press)

Our Prime Minister ridicules Trudeau for perspectives very similar to Obama's regarding specific acts of terrorism and identifying the root causes. Harper sees condemnation and potential harsh punishment as the solution "You condemn it categorically, and to the extent you can deal with the perpetrators, you deal with them as harshly as possible."

How on earth does such 'after the fact' simplistic process, offer society, protection or useful defense against terrorism. Does Harper also believe suicide bombers are deterred by condemnation and imprisonment?

As a doctor, Harper would never embrace preventive medicine, he would wait until a malady was fully manifested and then try to fix it. He's one who would treat Polio or Aids, too late rather than inoculate or educate. That's a fail.

Evidence based decisions require coherent, caring, enlightened, even prescient or lateral solutions. Anticipation and action.. none of which are present in his myopic, conflicted, out of control political/petro and petty autocracy.

Evidence based analysis and decisions are the hallmarks of courage, best practices and exemplars. Let me and the rest of Canada know if you can identify a shred of such capability within Harper's diseased political, corporatist and deluded evangelist alliances.

the salamander said...

Actually, we should accept the fact that our Prime Minister also ridicules himself.. not just Obama and Trudeau.

In 'Stephen Harper’s search for the root causes of terrorism', Paul Wells credits Katy O'Malley for pointing out Stephen Harper's laughable & juvenile inability to recall any programs related to terrorism.

Jason Kenney and Vic Toews join Harper as three stooges that are either in over their heads.. or completely out of their minds.

Possibly one of the better catches regarding our pompous Prime Minister casually erasing or forgetting the facts of his own actions

I can't wait to catch the spinarama on this one..
and count on it including use of the words Carbon Tax ....

Owen Gray said...

Wouldn't it be interesting, salamander, if Canadians began to think of Harper the way they began to think of Diefenbaker -- as a relic from another age?

The Mound of Sound said...

Trudeau was actually correct and I'm very relieved for that. We need to grasp the distinction between radical, fundamentalist Islamism and ordinary Muslim faith of the vast majority.

It is in that distinction that we need to drive a wedge between the radicals and the moderates. It's very similar to how the Brits succeeded in Malaya only on a far broader scale.

Yet, instead of detaching the violent radicals from peaceful, mainstream Muslims, we defeat ourselves by driving the moderates into the arms of the radicals by supporting brutal despotic regimes, thwarting movements seeking democratic reform, and slaughtering innocent Muslims by the tens of thousands with our incompetent wars.

Ask yourself this, Owen. Since the turn of the century how many innocent Muslims have died at the hands of Christian fighters and how many innocent Christians have died at the hands of Muslim extremists? The ratio would be in the order of several hundred to one and not in their favour.

Harper is a deviant.

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, Mound, Harper suffers from the 21st century version of "the White Man's Burden" -- the "Clash of Civilizations" claptrap.

Making enemies isn't inevitable. It's a choice. And some people, like Harper, only know who they are if they have enemies.

Owen Gray said...

Harper believes he is immune from contradiction, salamander. Like the famous emperor, he is unaware that he is naked.