Blame Canada. (Again)
Kinda scary when the future U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, had on two occasions to be corrected in stating that the 19 mass murderers of Sept. 11, 2001 crossed into the U.S. from Canada. And when, last week, both the new U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, and the senior U.S. senator from Arizona, John McCain, a 22-year veteran of Congress, repeated this canard.
Janet Napolitano, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security; John McCain (R-AZ), U.S. senator from Arizona; and Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State. They'll adopt metric before figuring out that Canada is not a terrorist dagger pointed at America's heart.
Scary, because it's right there in the official 9/11 Commission's exhaustive report that the 19 killers entered the U.S. directly by flights from overseas. Scary because our American friends, citing our comparatively open-door immigration policy that has served Canada extraordinarily well, don't grasp that among the nations of the world, Canada is actually a hostile place for terrorists given an elaborate Canadian internal security regimen that, like its U.S. counterpart, often over-reacts and bumps up against the civil rights of perfectly innocent Canadians. (Ask Maher Arar.)
Scary because it's just possible that these remarkably prominent U.S. policymakers with influence over our border with the U.S. - and the roughly $1 billion in goods that crosses it every day - have read the 9/11 Commission report either selectively or not at all. Considering the wealth of information the report contains about contemporary terrorism, that's hardly encouraging for Americans concerned about their domestic security.
And scary because Napolitano is one of ablest governors in border-state Arizona history. She troubled to engage governors of neighbouring Mexican states to learn every dimension of border issues. I was impressed after listening to her in a San Francisco speech last year on common-sensical and holistic solutions to immigration problems.
Yet here's Napolitano's next-day "correction" last week, acknowledging she was wrong about the 19 hijackers of 9/11 infamy but adding - in the typical wording of a non-apology apology - that there are plenty of cases of suspected terrorists coming into the U.S. from Canada. "Some of these are well-known to the public such as the Millennium Bomber while others are not due to security reasons," she said. (Italics are mine.)
That's how Napolitano left it, that Canada is a haven for terrorists posing a threat to the U.S. Barack Obama, who has disappointed us already by not granting justice in the case of Maher Arar, promised transparency in his administration.
So let's clear this up. First, what's the lingering U.S. evidence against the long-ago exonerated Arar (shown left, with his family), which the U.S. State Department prefers to hide behind by terming it "classified"? Expose that, and we can all learn how disinformation gets into the system. And all these other cases to which Napolitano refers, expose them to sunlight, as well, and see how they stand up to scrutiny.
True story: John Kenneth Galbraith, leftie economist expatriate from Ontario who served in three U.S. presidential administrations (FDR, JFK, LBJ), was described in the flotsam in his FBI file as having once been labeled "doctrinaire." When Galbraith finally was permitted to see his FBI file, he was surprised to discover the several assignations he'd had with a certain "Dr. Ware." Curious about this non-existent person, Galbraith traced the reference back to the first time an FBI file updater misinterpreted a field agent's handwriting, in which "doctrinaire" became "Dr. Ware."
Let's clear it up, Mr. Obama, because in the meantime you've identified Canada as a terrorist haven, whose expatriates may be more of a threat to your country than, say, Paul Shafer and Pamela Anderson.
We're not denying it's a heavily trafficked border. Oh no.
People, many of Canadian birth, who have slipped across the porous border include J.L. Kraft, the Ontarian who built his second, and much larger cheese enterprise in Chicago. James Naismith, the Ontarian who invented basketball, an obsession of the current U.S. president. Sir William Osler, cofounder of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, whose textbooks carrying the maxim, "Treat the patient, not the disease," were a staple of U.S. med schools for generations. Louis B. Mayer, who made his way to California from a childhood in New Brunswick, and helped invent the Hollywood studio system. Jennifer Granholm, the B.C. native who is currently governor of Michigan. Joni Mitchell, whose "Chelsea Morning" was the inspiration for the name that Hillary and Bill Clinton chose for their only child. The Toronto specialist who sped down to the States to help save the life of Tipper and Al Gore's son after a near-fatal car accident...
You're right, that is a partial list. In fairness, we fess up to Charles Ponzi, who developed his pyramid schemes in Montreal before separating the good people of Boston from their life savings. Robert Campeau, the star-crossed French-Canadian developer who bought and bankrupted the U.S. retail conglomerate that owned Bloomie's. Bernie Ebbers, the Edmonton high-school basketball coach who somehow gained control of the world's second-largest telecommunications firm, WorldCom Inc., whose collapse still ranks as the biggest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history. The Canadian partners Conrad Black and David Radler, who asset-stripped dozens of small-town U.S. newspapers and drove the proud, now-bankrupt Chicago Sun-Times to ruin. (Ebbers and Black are each doing stir in U.S. prisons.) David ("Axis of Evil") Frum, briefly a White House speechwriter, who gave Dubya some of the earliest sophistry to pitch the ill-fated U.S. invasion of Iraq. (Frum argues that his original "Axis of Hatred," for Iraq, Iran and North Korea, was changed by others - Bush himself or chief speechwriter Michael Gerson, depending on the account. Also neocon bile-spewer Charles Krauthammer, a McGill poli-sci grad and Massachusetts General psychiatrist who somehow evolved into a ubiquitous U.S. foreign-policy charlatan.
We profoundly apologize to our American friends about the most unfortunate migration pattern of Ponzi, obvious role model for Bernie Madoff. But please, if for no other reason than your dependence on our joint defense of the continent and imported Canadian energy and BlackBerries, educate yourselves about the true origins and practices of modern terrorism, as we are doing. And stop needlessly pissing off the best friend you've ever had.