‘One neat diplomatic move’


Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick reviews all the reasons why Barack Obama should discuss Omar Khadr tomorrow.

Videos of him weeping during an interrogation surfaced last year and served only to remind the world that he was a teenager confined at Guantanamo among “the worst of the worst.” Khadr was allegedly shackled in stress positions until he urinated on himself, then covered with pine solvent and used as a “human mop” to clean his own urine. He was beaten, nearly suffocated, beset by attack dogs, and threatened with rape. In May 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Canada v. Khadr that the detention of Khadr at Guantanamo Bay “constituted a clear violation of fundamental human rights protected by international law.”

Khadr isn’t just a poster boy for closing Gitmo; he’s a poster boy for the prisoner abuse of children there. If you haven’t yet read the new testimony of Army Spc. Brandon Neely about the sexual and physical sadism that went on at Gitmo, it’s worth your time. It’s not enough for the United States to renounce torture, although that’s a good start. We need to start to make amends for the fact that children in our custody were tortured.


‘One neat diplomatic move’

  1. I think the families of Robert Fowler and Louis Guay should contact Khadr’s pr team. It is amazing how little we hear about the two diplomats compared to the terrorist.

    • And again, JWL completely misses the point.

      • Perhaps it is you who has missed the point.

        • Actually , Matt hasn’t, As usual its you and jwl.. and here’s the key paragraph in that piece I thnik Aaron should have hilighted:

          Khadr was never treated in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which hold that when a signatory captures juveniles on the battlefield, it must work to rehabilitate them, even when they are nasty brats. Special accommodations are required for their incarceration and treatment. But the Bush administration always took the position—and Stephen Harper always agreed—that Khadr was not a child soldier. Of course, Khadr was the very definition of a child soldier, radicalized by his bat-shit family at a young age and sent to training camps before he even had facial hair. If Obama wants to send the signal that international statutes and treaties have meaning in this country, even when that’s not convenient, admitting that Khadr was not treated in accordance with those treaties is critically important.

          • Please also note the inference that Harper believes international statutes and treaties don’t have meaning in our country because its inconvenient.

          • Scott
            Hasn’t Obama pretty well done, or at least signaled this already? What the hell’s wrong with SH? Even a ignorant sod like me can see that if you treat international laws as matters of convenience, then how are we ever going to hold other states to these same standards. What are they thinking in China when they see this kind of behaviour?

          • kc, China hasn’t stopped laughing at the ‘Harper gets tough with China’ posing in the Canadian media a few years ago. so they probably haven’t noticed yet.

        • Wrong yet again avr. Even after reading about the treatment Khadr received at Gitmo he still uses a false moral relevancy arguement. While the diplomats are deserving of our sympathy Khadr isn’t, because he’s already guilty in jwls eyes and therefor unworthy of the laws protection. The sympathy arguement is debatably true, but the protection of the law is for everyone – both th guilty and the innocent.
          Why can’t cons like you grasp this simple concept. If a man has been say a b& e artist at some pt in his life, you can’t decide a later charge in his life by a different standard then say a blameless jwl who’s appearing for the first time in his life for some crime or other. Yes, if the 1st man is convicted yet again then a judge may well deal with him more harshly, then say first time offender jwl.
          Also judgement is reserved for 12 men and women good and true, and is not subject to the arbitrary whim of anyone, not even the blameless. For god’s sake educate yourselves!

    • Uh, that’s because Fowler and Guay are being held hostage by a group of renegade post-apocalyptic terrorist thugs, and Khadr is being held by the United States Government. ARE YOU EQUATING THE TWO?!?! Tsk tsk!

      • Fowler and Guay are being held hostage by a group of renegade post-apocalyptic terrorist thugs

        You mean that Fowler and Guay have stumbled into the plot of a Mad Max movie?

        • Pretty much, eh? Except for a few spots like Ghana, West Africa is such a disaster area. I must say that when Bob Fowler can be kidnapped at random, it makes me never want to go anywhere in the third world. Too many guns, too much desperation, and frankly in a lot of cases too much psychosis.

  2. I had no idea that Dahlia Lithwick was Canadian.

    • Since you seem to enjoy quoting yourself today, compare what was in the Slate article:

      Of course, Khadr was the very definition of a child soldier, radicalized by his bat-shit family at a young age and sent to training camps before he even had facial hair.

      with what I wrote in rebuttal to the learned DC lawyer:

      But, what about being brainwashed or coerced by his parents, or in the Madrassa schools etc he attended after being taken from Canada?


      Boring, isn’t it?

      • Since you seem to enjoy quoting yourself today

        I enjoy quoting myself every day. It’s just that most days, my self-restraint stops me from actually doing it.

        Boring, isn’t it?

        Not so much boring as ploddingly obvious. I don’t think anyone disputes the fact that Khadr was brainwashed since a very young age.

        • Howard seems to.

  3. As a former colleague of Bob Fowler I’m glad we’re hearing very little about the negotiations for his release. The higher the profile, the more the terrorists will demand.

    • I think that Mssrs Fowler’s and Guay’s biggest problem is that they don’t work for the CBC (or other media outlet). If they did, no one would have heard about this until the negotiations were done.

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