Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Omar Khadr Situation

And so we have a resolution, of a sort, to the whole Omar Khadr affair, which featured successive Canadian governments boldly and decisively aided and abetted in the torture and prolonged incarceration, without trial, of a juvenile Canadian citizen.

Oh, Omar Khadr got his trial in the end. And therein he was given a choice: Admit to being a war criminal, plead guilty, and be free man in a few years, or contes the trial and spend the rest of his life in prison (anybody who thinks the possibility of acquittal was greater than zero is deplorably naive). And hey, look, he admitted to being a war criminal and pled guilty! Well shit, I'm convinced!

Of course, the fact that Omar Khadr was physically, mentally, and emotionally tortured before being put though a judicial process that would give Josef Stalin pause for thought in no way reduces the magnitude of the tragedy that has befallen the family of Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer. Compassion for Khadr does not in the slightest degree preclude or prevent compassion for them.

Anyway, I have very little more to say about it, particularly given the volume of material out there on the case already. Here are a couple of good reads, though:

"America rewrites the laws of war for Omar Khadr" from The Guardian.

"Khadr case: This is war, not a war crime" from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald.

As one of Khadr's lawyers put it, accurately and succinctly, "fundamental principles of law and due process were long since abandoned in Omar's case."

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