Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dear CBC: You suck.


And for the gazillionth time, the CBC (like so many of the painfully useless mainstream media outlets before it) misrepresents the case of one Omar Khadr by claiming -- in this case on tonight's episode of "As It Happens" -- that Khadr is accused of killing an American "medic."

No.

Stop.

EPIC FAIL!

Once and for all, can we set the record straight? Khadr's alleged victim (and there is substantial evidence that Khadr is not even guilty) was not a "medic". Let's let Wikipedia deal with this myth:

Sergeant First Class (SFC) Christopher James Speer (September 9, 1973–August 6, 2002) was a soldier in an American special forces unit, who was mortally wounded during a skirmish in Afghanistan, on July 27, 2002. Speer, who was not wearing a helmet at the time, suffered a head wound from a grenade, and died of his injuries approximately two weeks later.

So, SFC Speer was a "soldier" in a "special forces unit." How ... odd. And, on that day, what sort of "medic"y stuff was he doing? Hmmmmmm ...

On the day of the skirmish he was part of a squad assigned the task of going through the ruins, looking for weapons, and evidence of terrorism.

You know, that doesn't sound very "medic"y to me. What's up with that? What's a "medic" doing digging around for weapons and stuff like that? Ahhhhh ... suddenly, it's clear (emphasis added):

Speer received paramedic training at the Joint Special Operations University, in Hurlburt Field, Florida.

Under international humanitarian law (the law of war), medics are a specially protected class of noncombatants, the killing of which is considered a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions. However, according to Article 24 and Article 40, in order to qualify as noncombatant medical personnel, the individual must display certain insignia. At the time, however, Speer was not acting as a medic, and was not afforded "non-combatant status" under the Geneva Convention.

In other words, Speer was not a "medic" or, at the very least, was not acting in that capacity and had not clearly identified himself as one. Quite simply, Speer was a special forces soldier who just happened to have some paramedic training. Period.

This, of course, doesn't change much of what happened that day, and Khadr should still be put on trial to see exactly what he's guilty of. But it's time to stop portraying Speer as a "medic," which is a blatantly obvious playing of the sympathy card.

Regardless of what Khadr is or is not guilty of, Special Forces Sgt. Christopher Speer was a soldier on the field of combat. Continually describing him simply as a "medic" solely for the sake of tugging at the heartstrings is dishonest and shameful.

22 comments:

Richard said...

SF units all have designated soldier-medics. Sorry, but you're off base...

KEvron said...

why do you hate sfc speer?

KEvron

Ti-Guy said...

SF units all have designated soldier-medics. Sorry, but you're off base...

Go fuck yourself, you cocksucker.

Cameron Campbell said...

Child soldier.

Done.

Thank you.

Raphael Alexander said...

Is it more or less dishonest than the fact that a soldier was murdered by a gang of terrorists?

CC said...

Beats me, Raph ... is it more or less dishonest than the wretched crap you write for the Post?

You really want to get into this with me, Raphael?

KEvron said...

"Is it more or less dishonest"

oh! the irony!

KEvron

KEvron said...

"the fact that a soldier was murdered by a gang of terrorists?"

i think you mean "fact", "ralphie".

KEvron

KEvron said...

cam's economy wins the thread.

KEvron

Cameron Campbell said...

*bows*

Cameron Campbell said...

Two thoughts:

1) Richard knows this from his time in uniform playing Medal of Honour: Modern Warfare.

2) It bears pointing out: CC has not banned Raph or even the odious Richard, or, to my knowledge, any of the semi-functional BTs, but still can't comment at any of their blogs without fear of libel, deletion or because they've banned him. There must be a word to describe this.

Cherniak_WTF said...

Is it more or less dishonest than the fact that a soldier was murdered by a gang of terrorists?
Ahh fucknuts Alex (or whatever his nom de plume is today), does not like the fact that Federal Court of Canada ruled that Khadr should demand that he immediately return to home...
What? He's too brown for you?

Soldiers are not "murdered" in the line of "duty" - it's called being a soldier and you may get killed doing whatever you have been ordered to do...

Zorpheous said...

Cam, is the winner, two words ends the entire debate.

mikmik wins the "what the fuck are you ranting about" 14 year old bullboys in a library, while in afghanistan kill a medic, whos not a medic,...

Richard wins the "I'm still dumber than sack of hammers that fell off the turnip truck this morning"

sassy said...

And Zorph wins the "you got that right" ;)

Michael Harkov said...

Richard, Medics weren't always armed, but seeing as insurgents do not recognize the Geneva Convention and readily engage all personnel, irrespective of noncombatant status, giving them weapons became a necessity in order to defend themselves and their wounded charges.

Now with a combat unit, soldier-medics function as a member of an infantry platoon up until the point that one of their comrades is wounded. When employed as such, they do not wear distingushing markings indicating their medic status. For that reason I seriously doubt that Khadr knew he was attacking a medic. Its weak sauce to try and make the medic angle stick. Sorry, man.

CC said...

Michael generalizes uncomfortably:

"... seeing as insurgents do not recognize the Geneva Convention ..."

Given that the Canadian government under Stephen the Large has shown nothing but contempt for the Geneva Conventions, you should be careful about tarring with that wide a brush. The backlash could be awkward.

Michael Harkov said...

Yes CC, I agree that is an uncomfortable generalization and it is awkward. Picking and choosing which articles to follow and which to discard when convenient hardly places us in a credible position to critisize others, even the worst offenders. We can hardly defeat our enemies by doing what they do, even to the smallest degree.

The argument has been made before that seeing as insurgents have absolutley no respect for the Geneva Convention that consequently, it should not apply to them as well. I wholeheartedly disgree with this. We need to embrace it utterly even with the worse offenders if we are going to show the world, especially those that oppose us, a better example.

I've been told that turning the other cheek only results in getting both cheeks bruised, but what is the point in doing this if we are going to start down that road?

CC said...

Michael: The most uncomfortable argument that has been made is that we -- because we have a real "army" and a chain of command and spiffy, cool uniforms -- are entitled to the protection of the Geneva Conventions, while the "enemy" -- because they are a disorganized, ragtag band of "insurgents" -- are not. Really, the argument has come down to who has uniforms, and who doesn't. And that's not a really firm hook on which to hang a moral argument.

And, just FYI, Michael, it's the Geneva Conventions (plural). There's four of them, and you always sound smarter if you make like you already knew that. That's not a snarky dig, it's just letting you know what the facts are.

Michael Harkov said...

CC the reasoning as to why its desirable to have an article regarding those involved in armed conflict be required to wear uniforms is to protect non-combatents. Blending in with local civilians may be good strategy for assymetrical warfare, but it is also a recipe for getting a lot of civilians killed. There is, however, a provision exception to excuse a lack of uniforms where during each military engagement they carry their arms openly, and the soldier is visble to the enemy while engaged in a deployment preceding an attack. Has that always been the case with the insurgents we are speaking about? I don't know. Even so, that hardly seems relevant when cities and areas of their population are smashed impersonally by distant fighter-bombers from our side.

I think its more than the uniform issue alone. The other bones of contention are the murdering and public displaying of prisoners, killing non-combatants, the fact that there is no defacto state of war between us and thus such conventions do not apply; a whole host of issues in this regard. And again, can the other side make a successful argument that we are doing the same? In some cases, perhaps.

As I've said, the only way we are going to garner respect for our position from the world at large is if we follow the full letter of these Conventions, regardless of who it is in our custody.

And yes, I've always realized that there are four Conventions. Its a common typo that I should try harder to correct in the future. thanks. :)

Jack said...

Khadr should not put on trial; he was fifteen and a child soldier. Furthermore, the prosecution revealed (inadvertently? I'm not so sure...) that some of the evidence had been... koff koff edited a year or so after the events by the U.S.

I think at this point considering the torture (and he was tortured, there's no question of that anymore; the ICRC certainly seems to think so and I tend to take them at face value on that one) and the selective disappearing of a combatant in the battle report by someone who wasn't there pretty much makes any possibility of actually convicting him in anything we'd recognize as a valid trial pretty much zero.

As for the ranters up above... I have an idea. Why don't we do to you what the U.S. did to him in Guantanamo, but only for a weekend, and we can see after that where you stand on all this.

Michael Harkov said...

You know, I've never really understood how its a war crime to compel 15 year olds to be child-soldiers, but at the same time, hold someone like Khadr criminally responsible when compelled.

Cameron Campbell said...

Michael.. but that's different. Somehow....OH LOOK HE'S BEEN CHARGED WITH VERY SERIOUS CRIMES