Meet Canada’s newest millionaire. He is Maher Arar, and he earned his money not exactly the old-fashioned way. He was tortured for it. Finally, the government of Canada has moved to correct a terrible injustice involving this Canadian citizen who was pulled off a plane in New York by U.S. authorities in 2002, deported to Syria and tortured there for ten months. And though Mr. Arar went through one of the most exhaustive investigations ever conducted in Canada, which ended in his complete exoneration of any involvement in terrorism and led Canada’s prime minister to make an official apology and the government to cut him a cheque for $10 million, the United States insists that he be kept on its terrorist watch list and prevented from travel to or over the U.S.
No reasons for the decision were given.
It is this kind of unreasonableness that shows America too often has the wrong priorities and the wrong people in its sights in its war on terror. Mr. Arar’s case is one that came to public attention. How many more innocent people that no one knows are on the government’s terror list and are being made to suffer because of it? How many more friends will America lose because of these kinds of actions?
To defend against real terrorists is a necessity. To target those who clearly pose no threat, and have had their lives turned inside out to prove it, is insanity.