Hillier referenced the distance from Ottawa to Afghanistan several times. In an unintended way, Hillier has highlighted the chasm between the opposing viewpoints, with very different recollections. If you're following closely, you'll notice that Colvin is finding support from all the "on the ground" forces, while most of the rebuttal seems to be coming from Ottawa-centric opinion, whether it be the military, politicians or civil servants.
Today we learn that the International Red Cross expressed great concern to Colvin about the detainee situation. This revelation comes on the heels of the Amnesty International view, which was collaborated by several foreign diplomats. On top of that we have award winning journalists like Graeme Smith, who spent considerably time in the field, laugh off denials, saying the idea of tortured detainees was discussed freely in Kandahar amongst the populous, EVERYBODY knew. In other words, Colvin finds support from others who were ON THE GROUND. We also read a couple of Colvin's memos today, which highlight his intimate involvement and EXPERTISE on this detainee issue. I would submit, Colvin alone spent more time around the Afghan prisons than everyone of his detractors combined.
What we have is an incredible disconnect, top brass, top officials, all apparently unaware of anything credible happening in Afghanistan. We heard puffy statements, that spoke to generalities, the totality of the mission, their roles juggling many complex balls- a characterization that actually speaks to a distracted attention on a singular issue. Was it torture or getting new jeeps, as you mentioned today, that was on your mind General? Contrast that with those in theater on a permanent basis, the accusations were the stuff of public consumption. Hillier's 12000 kilometer reference, as well as detailing his various "visits", becomes very symbolic to this whole discussion. I'd be willing to toss Colvin aside, if only his supporters didn't enjoy the INTIMACY with the issue, that the pencil pushers and distant officials didn't enjoy.
You're not going to get your answers from the Canadian military, very much a circle the wagons flavor today. When you examine the consistent soundbites coming from the Conservatives and their surrogates, it provides another pack mentality. When you look outside this veil of denials, you find that many CREDIBLE organizations and people, people who LIVED and WORKED in Afghanistan strongly support Colvin, he himself fully immersed.
I've always preferred the street view, that's where you get a sense of what was really going on, devoid of all the various layers and warpings. I'd be inclined to support the government denials, if they didn't stand in such stark contrast to the view of those on the ground, a view that renders those denials almost ridiculous.