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Friday, October 29, 2010

A Few Words About Omar Khadr

  This week Canadian-born child soldier Omar Khadr pleaded guilty to terrorism and war crimes charges after being held for the better part of a decade in the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Under the plea deal, Omar will likely only serve a year more in prison, but Stephen Harper refuses to  acknowledge the deal because it means that Mr. Khadr would be returned home to Toronto.

 I dare ask Stephen Harper where this natural-born citizen should go. This is a boy who was forced into war, into fighting for his life.
People seem lost as to the definition of "firefight". What was going on when this kid killed the American soldier was a mutual exchange of fire that lasted over 4 hours. If Khadr hadn't launched the grenade he would have been killed. If Chris Speer had killed Khadr, he wouldn't have been charged with terrorism; he would have been adorned with a medal. If you volunteer for the Army, like Mr. Speer did, sometimes people do die.  Death is the universal tragedy of war and if you cannot comprehend that, don't marry or become a soldier.

  Omar Khadr was shot twice and subjected to 8 years of constant torture. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled numerous times that Mr. Khadr's liberties were violated in appalling ways. Omar was a child who was continuously threatened with rape, assaulted, and humiliated by men who were later convicted of abusing other detainees. This boy was and still is a victim of a most cruel system, one that involves the U.S. flagrantly refusing to abide by the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

  There are rules that one must abide by when dealing with prisoners, and separate ones when the detained are children. Omar Khadr shouldn't be incarcerated as a war criminal, but the perverse interrogators certainly should. Amazingly, Omar Khadr does not display the hatred or bitterness of other captives or those who singled him out for abuse. If Omar Khadr can forgive, we should stop punishing him for the sins of his father.

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