Monday, June 20, 2005

Today's Ottawa Sun

While doing my daily browsing of The Ottawa Sun today I came across three things which caught my eye. While pretty much unrelated, I figured I'd put them together just to give me an excuse to write another nice long post.

The first thing was a short write-up about a new $100,000 contract for a new "social marketing strategy" to sell French to Ontarians. Take it from me, the best way to get other people in Canada to want to learn French is NOT to force it down out throats with Government spending and regulations, that just creates resentment. While I have nothing against French per se, all the time and money spent on trying to get everyone in the country to learn a language which in under ten years will be only the third most spoken language nationwide, is going to lead to a lot of trouble.

Once the Chinese community decides to move for Mandarin or Cantonese to get the same protections as French, which based on population they can probably do very soon, then all these special interest laws/programs are really going to cost us. It's hard to defend a law which gives a one minority language more rights than another minority language that is actually more commonly used. Imagine a law stating that every federal employee must learn English, French and Cantonese to get a job. The day is not too far off.

I can tell you from experience language laws in Canada make little or no sense and do nothing to help the French cause beside build animosity. Although I work in an English essential federal job in a predominantly English city, due to federal job descriptions, I am currently at the highest level I can get without becoming bilingual. It doesn't even matter if I move somewhere else, the language ceiling will still be there.

The second article of interests was Eric Margolis's article on Gitmo. While The Sun in general is generally pretty conservative, Eric's article is so far to the left that you could swear it was written by a Democratic staffer. He repeats Amnesty International's 'the gulag of our time' claim (a claim that they themselves later admitted was not based on fact but was primarily a publicity stunt) and then shoots down the US governments attempts to refute their accusations. He then follows the Democratic talking points about trials and torture.

5 points for Eric to consider:

1) As unlawful combatants (non-uniformed, carrying concealed arms, not officially under any governments authority) the Geneva Convention does not apply and under internationally recognized rules of war the US had the legal write to execute them on the battlefields.

2) The captives at Gitmo were all given a military tribunal hearing to determine whether or not they deserved to be kept there, after which several were released and some later recaptured while taking part in other attacks on US interests/personnel.

3) Not all captives are treated like the one described in the FBI report that has been making the rounds. Most are just being held to prevent them from committing further actions against the US. Even so, the captive in question was a special case and was believed to be a valuable source of information, he was often referred to as the 20th highjacker.

4) The report itself is approximately 2 years old.

5) Finally, the parts of the report that describe what is considered to be the closest signs of actual torture as repeated by the press, such as the prisoner being chained in the fetal position, are often over stated for publicity's sake. The observer actually states that the prisoner was seen in the fetal position and chained, it does not specify that the restraints were used in any way to force the position. Regardless, little of what is even being assumed by the press rises to the level of torture. Creating a situation where a prisoner is uncomfortable and more likely to talk is not torture, its' a form of interrogation. Torture require physical pain, not simple discomfort.
While I might not necessarily agree with everything being done down at Gitmo, these allegations are just ridiculous. As Mark Steyn points out, if Gitmo is a gulag, it is the only gulag in history where the average prisoner puts on 13 pounds during their incarceration. At least this article is in the editorial section, where an opinion piece belongs, and not on the front cover like some more prestigious newspapers south of the border are apt to do. (Check out Michelle Malkin for some more interesting links on the subject)

Finally, the third thing of interest in the paper wasn't even an article, it was a comic. Today's The Duplex, while funny as usual, does a good job showing how inaccurate polls can be. While you can ask a yes/no question, it is very hard to determine exactly why the respondent said yes or no. Just think about this the next time you see some talking head on either side of an issue trying to use poll numbers to prove his point.

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