I Still Love Vermont (Again)

Patrick Leahy, Con­gress­man from Ver­mont, takes Attor­ney Gen­er­al Alber­to Gon­za­les to task for the Maher Arar case in a Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee Hear­ing. It’s good to see some­one in the US Gov­ern­ment real­iz­ing that Cana­da (as well as the rest of the world) some­times won­ders what has hap­pened to the USA that they thought they used to know. It’s cer­tain­ly not the kind of coun­try that now sends a Cana­di­an cit­i­zen off to the Syr­ia because they sus­pect that he might be a terrorist.

We knew damn well if he went to Cana­da, he would­n’t be tor­tured! If he were held, he would be inves­ti­gat­ed. We also knew damn well if he went to Syr­ia, he’d be tortured.

Here’s the whole exchange:

Some­one here the oth­er day told me that the US today (as it relates to Cana­da) was like ‘Some­one had stolen away your big broth­er and replaced him with some­one that you don’t rec­og­nize any more.’ With peo­ple like Gon­za­les run­ning things, it’s no won­der that they don’t rec­og­nize the US. I cer­tain­ly don’t.

BTW, for those out­side Cana­da who don’t know of the case, Maher Arar was a Cana­di­an cit­i­zen who was stopped at JFK air­port, sent to Syr­ia to be tor­tured and lat­er was found to be com­plete­ly inno­cent. He got a for­mal apol­o­gy from the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment, along with $10.5 mil­lion in dam­ages. Say what you will about Harp­er, he’s no snake like Gonzales.

2 Replies to “I Still Love Vermont (Again)”

  1. “Say what you will about harp­er, he’s no snake like gonzales.”

    i’ve been think­ing about these types of com­par­isons a lot late­ly. we can take this fur­ther: say what you will about bush, he’s not a vicious tor­tur­er like sad­dam hus­sein. when are these com­par­isons use­ful and when are they not? some­times they seem like sell-outs (should sad­dam hus­sein real­ly be used as a mea­sur­ing stick?) and some­times they seem to help gain perspective.

  2. Hi Isabel­la,

    I know what you mean about use­less com­par­isons. I guess in this case, I was con­trast­ing Canada’s (and Harper’s) apol­o­gy to Arar with Gon­za­les’s slip­pery ‘I can’t tell you’ and ‘I can’t recall’ answers he was giv­ing to the com­mit­tee. Gon­za­les, like so many oth­er Bush appointees, typ­i­fies the Pres­i­den­t’s pref­er­ence of loy­al­ty over com­pe­tence or even morality.

    Re. the Sad­dam com­par­i­son, that’s a strange one. I’ve seen the ‘If you’re against the war in Iraq, then I sup­pose you think that things would be bet­ter if we’d nev­er gone and Sad­dam were still in pow­er.’ line go from being a taunt, to a cliché, to almost a joke (‘where the punch­line is ‘Ummm, yes?’)

    When are these com­par­isons use­ful? Maybe when one of those in the com­par­i­son is not a known mass-mur­der­er, I can’t say for sure.

    At any rate, ‘Say what you will about x, he’s no y’ is just slop­py writ­ing. I think I’ll give that clichéd con­struc­tion a rest for a while.

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