Monday, October 25, 2010

Khadr - Reserve Thy Judgment

Here's all you need to know about Omar Khadr - you don't know and probably won't know for years at the very least.   You don't know what he did in the Afghan cave and you don't know what was done to him at the time and in the years at Guantanamo that followed.

There are a few things you do know.   He was a "child soldier" when he was shot twice in the back and captured.   You know that even the United States is a signatory to the protocol that requires captured child soldiers to be treated as victims, not perpetrators.   You know that, from the outset, the proceedings against Khadr in Guantanamo have made a farce of any notion of American justice.

So Khadr finally pleaded guilty to all charges brought against him.  I suppose if the deck is stacked high enough you really don't have much choice and stacked it truly was.

Did he commit the crimes for which he was charged?   I really don't know and neither do you.   Is his guilty plea an admission of guilt?   In these circumstances, not at all.   It's an administrative not a legal act.  When your captor claims the power to hold you forever regardless of charge much less guilt, there's nothing remotely legal in the decisions taken by a captive.


Beijing York said...

This case leaves me completely disillusioned with our ability to choose any leaders with moral clarity.

Not a single official statement on this news from any of the opposition parties. Ignatieff made sure to issue a statement on UN Day (yesterday) crowing about Canada's support for so many UN initiatives (no mention of the child soldier protocol).

By all standards of international law and human rights protocols, this case is a sham. The hypocrisy of being up in arms about leaked documents about torture while being complicit in supporting the torture of Omar Khadr is demoralizing.

Okie said...

Yes, I have noticed that nothing has come out in the press from Igg, Jack or Gilles on this.

From the descendant of white russians, I'm not surprised, but that is the least of the issues as I see it.

This is such a red herring that so many are chasing and it is hard to believe they think the way they do.

Some years after having faced Kurt Meyers 12th SS, and subsequently being gravely wounded at Caen, my Father was employed at the federal penitentiary that housed Meyer for his "10 year" sentence. In later years my Mother told me that the two of them spent many hours talking to one another. Apparently there was no hatred between them. I can only assume some sort of bond developed between old foes who understood the greater picture. I don't know for sure as I was never personally privy to his thoughts. He died as a result of the wounds and the treatment he received from VA when I was young. As time proved, VA was at least as great an enemy, only more insidious.

America never incarcerated a Viet Cong in a Gitmo. The Taliban and the Viet Cong have similarities, including the absence of uniforms and the Cong did far greater harm to American military personnel than the insurgents in Afghanistan. Splitting hairs one could argue the Cong weren't born in Canada, but what does that matter when the kid was influenced the way he was?

I can't see that he means anything in the great scheme of world affairs other than propaganda value, and really what are the odds the world will be reading his version of Mein Kampf in 20 years or so?

In todays Canada I guess I would be seen as a victim. A victim of the those who crewed the Panzer that destroyed my Fathers life, but as far as I know, he didn't hold malice toward them. So I don't either. My sentiments toward VA is another matter.

I feel very badly for anyone harmed in conflict, and I don't dislike the American people at all. I would hope that the families of any American service personnel who might have suffered as a result of actions taken by Khadr, will see these things as I do, as my Father and Meyer came to see them.

Ordinary men don't start large scale armed conflicts, and neither do young boys.

The Mound of Sound said...

Okie, did you know that after his reprieve and release, Meyer worked as a sales rep in Germany for a Canadian brewery concern?

I know the VA had many failings but I was sure grateful for the consideration they showed my Dad in his last few years. Of course that was after most of the WWII vets had dropped off and they were suddenly flush with money.

Okie said...

No Mound I don't remember that he worked for a Canuck company after returning to Germany. I remember he died fairly young by todays standards.

The VA did buck up considerably after they were most needed. I remember that vividly. I also remember that dealing with them at times was a lot like what Forrest Gump said about life. It's like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're going to get. There was no consistency other than the usual civil service / political posturing. Never admit a mistake.

They had xrays from the Veterans hospitals showing the shrapnel embedded in my Fathers spine, but they never told anyone. Instead they gave him cortisone in doses strong enough to kill a horse. They did kill him in the end. What the Panzer didn't accomplish, the bureaucrats did. After a year in military hospitals following Caen, they eventually gave him a 20% disability pension and didn't bump it up (35%)until he was so miserable that he went to a chiropractor (1960) just about the same as a witch doctor in those days. Said chiro took some simple xrays and voila..the remaining shrapnel that was never extracted appeared clear as day pushing on the spinal cord.

VA was careful not to give him enough income to support his family. They treated him like a malingerer and handed out scraps like he was a beggar.

He proved he wasn't a malingerer on April 6th, 1964. That was the last day he went to work. I remember watching him from the window of our house, struggling to get his stiff and pained body down the driveway. He died right there at his work that day. He proved to VA that he was telling the truth all along. He wasn't the liar, nor the deceiver. They were. They hid the records and then they denied his family that meagre disability pension for the next 7 years.

I am glad that Bruyea received an apology on behalf of VA. There were many who deserved an apology even more than he did.

That said, my Father taught us all about handling guns. He had supplemented his families income as a hunter for some years prior to joining the RCA. They of course offered their training as well. The first thing he taught us was safety and total respect for what a firearm could do. With that training in hand, I never feared a firearm. Bureaucracy is far more dangerous.

The Mound of Sound said...

They sure gave your Dad the dirty end of the stick, Okie. I know my Dad had his fights with the VA in the 50's and 60's but that turned around completely when the mid-90s rolled around.