Friday, September 23, 2005
I see America's new ambassador to Canada, South Carolina's own David Wilkins, is already winning friends and influencing people:
Regrets? Over the torture of one measly Canadian? No sir. Not the United
States of America.
David Wilkins, the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, was eye-poppingly cavalier when asked about the Maher Arar affair. Mr. Arar, a Canadian citizen, was deported by the United States to Syria, his birthplace, where he was held for 10 months in a cell three feet wide, six feet long and seven feet high.
He is now back, and the Canadian government has been holding a lacerating public inquiry into its role, however limited, in his nightmare. The U.S. government has refused (under Mr. Wilkins's predecessor, Paul Cellucci) to participate in the inquiry.
As described by Canadian Press reporter Jim Brown, Mr. Wilkins "seemed
puzzled" when asked if his government had regrets about the Arar affair.
"You talking about regrets by the United States? The United States made
that decision [to deport Arar] based on the facts it had, in the best interests
of the people of the United States, and we stand behind it."
He said that the United States has to make "tough decisions," that the war
on terror means "you don't get second chances," that there would probably be
more deportations and that Canadians who hold dual citizenship should consider
themselves forewarned they could find themselves in Mr. Arar's shoes some
I see Mr. Wilkins has his Bushspeak down. Wilkins can talk that talk: "We made the decision based on the facts we had." "Tough decisions. " "Stand behind it." Yes, that's how tough and firm and resolved America is these days - by God, when we make a decision to send a citizen of a friendly country to an unfriendly country to be tortured, we stand behind that decision!
Anyway. I'm sincerely sorry, Canadians, but I also look at it this way - your loss is South Carolina's gain.