December 19, 2002
DON'T BE SHY ABOUT IT: The New Republic reports on Canadian ineptitude and hypocrisy regarding Hezbollah:
"It is important," Graham lectured his critics, "not to label [elected officials], doctors, and teachers as terrorists." The foreign minister and others in the Chretien government argued that the social wing of Hezbollah was independent of its "military" wing, and so a request that Canadian banks freeze the assets of Hezbollah's "external security apparatus" was sufficient to suppress any terror threat posed by the group on Canadian soil.
Then, just as the debate over the distinction reached a fever pitch in the Canadian media and government--Revenue Minister Elinor Caplan argued for the ban--Nasrallah resolved it decisively. Last Wednesday, stories circulated that Hezbollah's Al Manar television station had broadcast footage of Nasrallah encouraging the worldwide export of suicide bombings. "Don't be shy about it," he told followers. The terrifying quote appeared to eliminate any distinction between terrorist and non-terrorist activities, since Nasrallah sits atop the entire Hezbollah apparatus and not just the military wing. Which meant that suddenly Ottawa found itself insisting on a distinction that even Hezbollah itself was disavowing.
But, but, but they don't like Americans and Jews! So how could they be terrorists?
To be fair, the non-idiotic part of the Canadian political structure (that is, the part residing largely outside the Chretien government) was horrified by this policy all along.