What we’re talking about when we talk about Omar Khadr


CBC had a panel of MPs discussing Omar Khadr this afternoon. For the Conservatives, it was Pierre Lemieux, who quite successfully repeated his lines about “serious crimes” and the “process.” Martha Hall Findlay, from the Liberals, proceeded to smack him about until Lemieux noticed that Hall Findlay didn’t have an answer to the question of what to do with Khadr were he returned. The end result was probably a messy draw, though admittedly I zoned out in the cross-talk.

Anyway. Debate is fun, but information is generally important. Here is the U.S. Defence Department’s database for the military commission that was, until yesterday, hearing Khadr’s case. Here is the hub of Toronto Star’s coverage, built around the work of Michelle Shephard (whose book on Khadr is required reading in this regard). As well, Wikipedia’s Khadr page seems fairly thorough. (Wikipedia’s pages on Bagram and Guantanamo might also be helpful.)

Political language is sometimes destructive numbing, but perhaps no more so than when the story is as gruesome and complicated as this one. “Process,” for instance. It’s variously a term of biology, law, mathematics and science. It’s aseptic. It implies a sort of natural unimpeachability.

Take that word and keeping it in mind, read through the affidavit filed by Omar Khadr—the allegations contained therein unproven by due process as they are. A few excerpts.

During one interrogation at Guantanamo in the spring of 2003, an interrogator spit in my face when he didn’t like the answers I provided. He pulled my hair, and told me that I would be sent to Israel, Egypt, Jordan, or Syria – comments that I understood to be a threat of torture. The interrogator told me that the Egyptians would send in “Askri raqm tisa” – Soldier Number 9 – which was explained to me was a man who would be sent to rape me.

The interrogator told me, “Your life is in my hands”. My hands and ankles were shackled, and the interrogator then removed my chair, forcing me to sit on the floor. The interrogator told me to stand up. Because of the way I was shackled, I was not able to use my hands to do so, thus making the act difficult to do. As ordered by the interrogator, I stood up, at which time the interrogator told me to sit down again. When I did so, the interrogator ordered me to stand again. I could not do so, at which point the interrogator called two military police officers into the room, who grabbed me by the neck and arms, lifted me, up, and then dropped me to the floor. The military police officers lifted and dropped me in this manner approximately five times, each time at the instruction of the interrogator. The interrogator told me they would throw my case in a safe and that I would never get out of Guantanamo. This interrogation session lasted for approximately two to three hours…

Around March of 2003, I was taken out of my cell at Camp Delta at approximately 12:00 – 1:00 a.m., and taken to an interrogation room. An interrogator told me that my brother was not at Guantanamo, and that I should “get ready for a miserable life”. I stated that I would answer the interrogator’s questions if they brought my brother to see me. The interrogator became extremely angry, then called in military police and told them to cuff me to the floor. First they cuffed me with my arms in front of my legs. After approximately half an hour they cuffed me with my arms behind my legs. After another half hour they forced me onto my knees, and cuffed my hands behind my legs. Later still, they forced me on my stomach, bent my knees, and cuffed my hands and feet together. At some point, I urinated on the floor and on myself. Military police poured pine oil on the floor and on me, and then, with me lying on my stomach and my hands and feet cuffed together behind me, the military police dragged me back and forth through the mixture of urine and pine oil on the floor. Later, I was put back in my cell, without being allowed a shower or change of clothes. I was not given a change of clothes for two days. They did this to me again a few weeks later.

Again, none of the above has been proven in a court of any kind. And perhaps none of it is true. But the mere possibility that some of it might be would seem to render words like “process” rather trite.


What we’re talking about when we talk about Omar Khadr

  1. “But the mere possibility that some of it might be true”

    Whatever that means.

    If I claimed Canadian judges were being paid off by a cabal of organized crime lords, would you say that my claims are enough to declare that Canadian due process is flawed? Just because I said so? I’m an honest guy, really! At least as honest as Khadr!

    You could say the same about any prisoner anywhere – they’re all innocent if you believe what they’re saying.

    Of course he will be saying he was tortured. Why not? It might help him get out of there. It he says it there’s a chance that softies like you will believe him. Just like the rest of the inmates were claiming that Korans were flushed down the toilet, an impossibilty, but it was enough for people to riot in the middle east.

    Of course whatever he says is enough for you to declare there is no process. He could claim the moon is made of green cheese and that would be enough for you to cry foul.

    • I think the meaning is pretty clear. Unlike the Khadr affidavit, there is no plausible reason to think that your claims of judges being on the take might be true. The fact that there is evidence to suggest that Khadr’s claims *could* be true would surely suggest that they are worth at least investigating before passing judgment, no?

      • And while we’re at it, if there is reason to believe that any convicted criminal’s claims of innocence might be true, shouldn’t you be eager to have those claims investigated to ensure justice was done?

        Note that the key phrase there was “reason to believe.” I’m not talking about unsubstantiated or at least implausible claims.

      • What evidence?

    • sf,

      If I may, I would like to suggest that the dexter end of the political spectrum has some reconciliation to do. “They” argue for libertarian-like ideals centered around the concept that the state is a dangerous force agaisnt which each able-bodied citizen must be individually armed and protected; argue that the state has no business intruding on the private lives of citizens in affairs of business and social programming; that the state has to be carefully bound by a constitution to ensure that it does not overstep its juridiction or powers.

      In the meantime, “they” consider civil rights for minority groups an entirely separate kettle of fish. It’s OK to assume guilt, when the accused isn’t Christian, white and middle class. It’s OK for a president, PM, the state, to disregard human decency, signed treaties, constitutions, laws, etc… when it’s “obvious” the accused is guilty. Obvious how? Obvious to whom?

      The measure of a society is not how it upholds its principles when it’s easy. That measure is taken when living according to its principles is hard. You speak of “softies”. Name a Commandment that would support the kind of treatment claimed above. Articulate a teaching of Christ that would harden your heart to such claims.

      Surrendering your principles in the name of war is the first win for the enemy; you lose the moral high ground you are supposedly claiming.

      • Well, they put in a place of due process, so I don’t know what you are talking about. It is you who is advocating the abandonment of due process so a killer can go free.

        What Khadr wants is to get back to Canada. Which would mean the United States would abandon due process to hand a killer over to us. At which point the US would no longer have any control over whatever justice occurs, and they are the ones whose soldier was killed in battle.

        So there is no contradiction to what “they” want.

        “Name a Commandment that would support the kind of treatment claimed above”

        There is no evidence that what he claims is true, so you can stop your grandstanding.

        What is certainly true is that an American soldier died in battle. What is alleged is that Khadr tossed a grenade at the soldier and killed him. There is substantial evidence to support this, which is why Khadr ended up at Guantanamo Bay. There is no doubt that Khadr was there at the scene where the soldier was killed.

        • Oh, there was a process. But it was specifically set up in Cuba with secret hearings so that it wouldn’t be “due” process. Which is in itself an abuse of due process.

          • If it was secret you would not know he is there.

            It is you who is trying to invent your own version of due process. So maybe you could let us in on your opinion of where this due process should take place, for a non-American captured in a foreign country in a battle fighting against Americans? Toledo? Sacramento?

            Just because he is a Canadian citizen does not grant him special status to be flown back to Canada when something goes wrong. If you fly to Afghanistan to fight battles against Americans, then you must pay the consequences.

            Cuba is as good a location as anywhere else.

          • They are called secret trials because of the extent to which the public record is kept secret. And while yes, the Bush administration could (and did!) break the law even in the U.S., those prisions were deliberately off of American soil.

  2. What to do with Khadr if the US returns him to Canada? Is there seriously a debate about that?

    Like other child soldiers, he’s to be reunited with his family and reintegrated into society. There’s no debate to be had about that.

  3. I don’t even know why Politics with Don Newman even bothers inviting Conservatives anymore. They’ve got their patter and repeat it endlessly: *Bawk* “serious crimes!” *Bawk* “process!”

    Waste of time and an insult to the intelligence of normal people.

    • Because people who spout predictable dogma and knee-jerk opinions aren’t worth listening to, eh, Ti-Guy? I tend to agree.

      • Glad to hear it.

        • You still don`t know when people are making fun of you.

          • Who’s making fun of me?

            *rolls eyes*

  4. Anyway, the retarded Pierre Lemieux couldn’t think past his squawking points to understand that there is no process that is recognised under Canadian or international law and it’s been suspended anyway.

    What’s worse…he sounded even dumber in the rest of the segment.

  5. Bring him back here, reunite him with his mother and sister and then deport the whole works to western Pakistan. And as they are getting on the plane relieve them of their Canadian passports and inform them that they are no longer welcomed in Canada.

    • Is it possible to deport someone born in Canada?

      • Sometimes I wish it were.

  6. Is it a “crime” to kill a soldier who has invaded a nation? Although Kadar has a Canadian passport, he does have connections to Afghanistan. Is it not the same “crime ” to kill children in the process to “creating a democratic society”?

    War is War and when you enter into a conflict, there will be casualties.. Charging one with “murder” does not seem to me to be logical.

    Of course, WAR is not logical either.

  7. Don, Canada has as much right to do that to you as it does to do it to the Khadrs.

    I’m amazed at how quickly you’d be willing to throw away the rights of Canadian citizens just because George Bush’s America tells you to.

    • I’m amazed at how little you value the lives of the Khadr family’s victims.

      • Sorry, are these the victims in the original report of the incident, or the one that was doctored by Omar Khadr’s accusers? Or are these the victims who he admitted to harming while he was being tortured?

        But this is beside the point. He was a child soldier. It is unconscionable for the US to treat him as they have, and even worse that Canada should stand by and watch silently.

      • What victims? Omar Khadr hasn’t been convicted of anything and the evidence against him gets shakier every time it’s analyzed.

        For the love of god, just because a person is an “accused terrorist” doesn’t mean they’re guilty. Look at the US’ abysmal record of getting convictions at Guantanamo despite the crooked process of “justice”.

      • avr stoutly refuses to budge from the view that Khadr must be guilty, otherwise why would he be at Gitmo. People always tsk tsk at pictures of the old lynch mobs, but Khadr would have long been strung up by the rules of evidence required by some people.

    • Bull S***, the Khadrs are Canadians of convenience and there are thousands of those types here. If I hated this country and its values as much as the Khdars do I certainly would not be living here.

      I have zero sympathy for them and cannot fathom that there are Canadians that support the ideals spouted by the likes of Hamas, Al-Qaeda and other groups that use indiscriminate bloodshed as a means to an end.

      • Apparently you’ve been misinformed about this country’s values. The rule of law happens to be up there among them.

        I have zero sympathy for people who delude themselves into thinking secret torture prisons are somehow a way to combat Hamas, Al Qaeda, and the like. Froth away, Don. Froth away.

        • And while you’re frothing, Don, let’s be clear: defending Canadian values (like the rule of law and equality for ALL citizens) does not imply support for other groups around the world who do not share those values.

          Jeez man, if you weren’t such a hater you might come to understand this stuff.

          • Its very nice that you can sit behind your computer screen and type pleasant things about poor misunderstood Omar and how much you value the rule of law. But the ones who raised Omar, trained Omar and hoped that he would be martyred Omar do not give two hoots about our rule of law, due process and chain of evidence. They only care about killing and mayhem. Does that mean that we should stoop to their level? Of course not, but we also not give their supporters here and abroad our sympathetic ear because that only gives them more reason to manipulate us.

          • You explicitly recommended: “deport the whole works to western Pakistan. And as they are getting on the plane relieve them of their Canadian passports and inform them that they are no longer welcomed in Canada.”

            In other words, abandon the rule of law and Canadian values. THAT, Don, would be “sinking to their levels”.

      • If I hated this country and its values as much as the Khdars do I certainly would not be living here.

        I think your ignorance of how this country works and your indifference to due process and the rule of law is worse than actively hating it. I certainly don’t have any confidence in people like you defending my civil rights if it were required. Ultimately, that poses a bigger personal threat to me than the vanishingly small probability that I’ll perish in an act of terrorism.

  8. Sorry, Don, I missed that point where you showed where someone proved that Khadr is guilty of what he’s been accused of. You also forgot to explain how a 15-year-old is not a child soldier under international law.

    When you do those things, you can continue with your regularly scheduled frothing.

    • Wow, I’m getting piled on by the hold-me-close-crowd.

      • You’re the one who’s all for the torture and indefinite imprisonment of a teenager, and the deportation of Canadian citizens. Quit whining.

        • You just don’t sarcasm do you. Anyway you and I couldn’t agree on the time of day so I’ll end my part of this never ending debate.

    • He is guilty of something = Wasn’t Khadr picked off a battlefield in a firefight! This is justification in and of itself for placing him somewhere where he can not participate in more of the same. Strange days we live in terroists running around blowing themselves and innocents away and here we have self-righteous hypocritical canadians saying poor little Kadr let’s bring him home here as we think the evil meanie torturing americans have been abusing him. and he has such nice eyes! Let’s face it folks he is lucky to be alive because being the last one at the battle … This is not a’ Crime ‘ issue though it is being portrayed as such as technically speaking there was no law and order where he encountered and as such no law except international agreement existed and he was no child soldier – read the law folks

      • If he was picked up on a battlefield, then he should be treated according to the Geneva convention. Not to treat him as such is actually a war crime, Wayne. So do you agree that the US is guilty of a war crime in this case?

        As for his status as a child soldier, what law are you referring to, Wayne? He was under 18. There’s no dispute here, under international law. He was a child soldier.

        Strange days we live in, with Canadians acting as apologists for other countries’ war crimes.

        • Strange days we live in, with Canadians acting as apologists for other countries’ war crimes.

          War-crime envy from our own indigenous fighting keyboarders. Nothing like supporting brutality to get the blood flowing…

          …away from the brain, unfortunately.

        • (1) The Geneva convention applies to the signatories – since when did Al Qaeda sign up? (2) The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Art. 38, (1989) proclaimed: “State parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 15 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.” However, children who are over the age of 15 but still remain under the age of 18 are still voluntarily able to take part in combat as soldiers. Kahdr was 15 when picked up hence = no child soldier.

  9. Frankly put I personally don’t really care one way or another what happens to Khadr as when you get caught up in a firefight on a battlefield everything is irrelevant after that much like a crime if you are there and participating the exact details are moot. The only concern I have is that we get something in return from the Yanks, if we take this problem off their hands after all folks let’s face it when push comes to shove we all know he will coming back here one way or another … the only outstanding issue is what to do with the person and no matter what happens it will end up costing taxpayers oodles of money as always – therefore I hereby suggest we try and get a little quid pro quo as it were as I am reasonably certain Khadr is one headache Obama would love to have taken off his plate.

    • It will be interesting to see who has the bigger headache here. I take the opposite view to you. Remember that Obama can read too. He’ll know where Steve’s pressure pts are. As i said yesterday, do you really think Obama will risk looking like he’s trading in human lives at this pt of his administration?

      • Of course he will trade in human lives as every leader essentially must … when a leader send troops to the field he or she is trading in lives as they are ultimately sacrificing them to gain something. Though the words used will be something along the line of after re-assessing and reviewing we have explored all of our options and in order to advance the cause of our near and dear american values and after some very productive negotiations with our canadian counterparts the PM and I have bla bla bla then next item on agenda another speech regarding the new joint committee or working group to be stricken in which we will tackle the greatest chalenges facing both of our nations bla bla bla.

        • I don’t disagree with you, and you certainly have the bla, bla, bla right, but it’s too early in the game for this kind of thing, for Obama anyway. He’s still thinking about shining cities on a hill. Sooner or later he’ll probably realise that the hill he had in mind is in the next world, not this one. And sending troops overseas is not the same as swoping chlidren for favours from yr friends to the north. Chidren for oil, ooh, that don’t look good at all.

  10. Why is it that so many people seem to think that due peocess is so flexible and maleable that you could say it’s only for the just. These folks just can’t grasp the simple concept that innocense is not a favour you have to earn. It’s the golden thread that runs through our system [ take a bow Rumpole] Our forefathers fought and died to wrest this right from Kings. It throughly depresses me when i see evidence all around us of how nonchalantly many would cast these freedoms away, as if they no longer served a purpose.

  11. One of the reasons why it is easier for the opposition to call for the return of Khadr and his ultimate release into Canadian society is because they can ignore the betrayal of the Khadr family to Chretien 6 years ago. Chretien assumed the Khadr`s would be grateful if he offered to help but they simply repeated their terroist mantra about their hatred of our society.
    So let`s say Khadr is brought back to Canada—he`s tried and receives a suspended sentence and is released into Canadian society. Now the rule of law and procedure most of you above are obsessed with says he should be released into the welcoming arms of his family. But Corrections Canada cannot do that because his family are still on record as wanting to continue with terroist activities, so what to do with him.
    I have an idea—-if those of you above really believe he`s a sweetheart why don`t you get together and offer to sponser him yourselves—-you know, he could take turns living in each of your basements—-that would be a productive use of your talents.

    • William, way to prove my pt about folks blithely pissing all over our laws and freedoms whenever they don’t like the outcome. We don’t have to like the Khadr family, i certainly don’t, but that’s not the pt. The law isn’t a popularity contest. We can’t just pick and choose. If there was a legal way to compel this family to chose between their beliefs and core Canadian values, then we could simply ask them to go elsewhere if we didn’t get the answer that most of us want to hear. Maybe something should be changed re: citizenship oaths, but until we make those changes let’s just obey the law!

      • Short-sighted people hide behind words and propose solutions in vague idealistic terms. I`m not pissing on our laws and freedoms—I am just looking further ahead—The law states that a prisoner, when released by the court, must be placed in a stable environment where he will not be tempted to commit a similar crime from his past. That rules out Khadr moving in with his family or his friends—-the Bin Ladens.
        I was merely trying to help you along in your wish to have this man integrated back into our society. Please let us know if you have thought past your partisan interests and have some useful ideas—and please spare us the preachy — teachy stuff.

        • If you had paid any attention at all in civics class there would be no need for any preachy stuff. I’m hiding behind magna charta actually, may seem vague and idealistic to you, but it’s one of the reasons we can have this conversation. As to how to integrate Khadr, do you expect him to start running around throwing grenades at people? It will probably have its difficulties, so what. As to partisanship, well it’s something we all engage in, no need to get all preachy, teachy William.

          • Great—I think Khadr will be just fine blending back into Canadian society—-so glad you`ve moved beyond your naive idealistic tone and feel Khadr is indeed harmless.
            So I`ll assume he will be moving into your basement—-be sure to let us know how it is working out.

          • William, if i thought it would help that kid become a decent human being, after all he’s seen and done, i’d gladly let him have my basement. Jeez we didn’t even have a trial, maybe he didn’t kill that guy. And if he did. wasn’t it war? That soldier knew that. If he’d killed Khadr it wouldn’t have been murder either.

      • The problem with self-righteous idealism and belief in absolute abstract ideas as unchanging principles is that a person can lose all perspective. Take this rule of law you keep mentioning – rule of law is just a bunch of words on paper where people agree on certain things … however … these agreements are not permanent nor are they written in stone and they are continuously re-interpreted by a special class of people called judges. The rule of law is whatever we say it is when we create the law. Thou shall not kill – excellent everyone in agreement until a mad psycho axe murderer breaks into your house and threatens your children THEN if you don’t kill him first you are just plain stupid and deserve to be culled from the gene pool. Try a thought experiment let’s say you are an american soldier you and your team under fire edge closer and closer to the source of the bullets and a hand grenade is thrown over a wall not 10 feet away from you – you duck and cover and only get a little scratch but your best bud and partner saves your life by throwing himself on the grenade after this you rush into the area and find Khadr – what amazes me is that he is still alive (apparently he came very close to not being alive)! Do I really need to go on – yeah child soldier bla bla bla .. rule of law? What law ? as you are in Afghanistan and there are no police or judges in this particular tribal area only soon to be abandoned Al Qaeda training camps. Now I am not saying I abide with torture or with mistreatment or bla bla bla … however what I am saying is that this rule of law you keep mentioning sometimes doesn’t hold up to common sense and maybe we need to change the law again. Let’s make a new law if you are Canadian and engaging in terrorist activities then bla bla – oops we already have such laws where are they again – damn gotta find one of those other special class of people lawyers to find out. Then again pertaining to the Khadr family we have laws such as sedition, treason, uttering public threats etc etc etc maybe we should think about them.

        • Wayne we’re talking about different things here entirely. You say law can be changed and i agree with you. We change bad laws every day. But underlying principles are not changed. Take, for instance innocent until proven guilty, or the right to a trial before a jury of yr peers. These things are not negotiable, they’re for everyone in our society, even O.Khadr. I’m just lamenting that too many people today think we can just piick and choose from among these underlying principles; we can’t , it’s who we are. And by the way i’m no pacifist. You hurt my little girl and i’ll kill you. But then i’ll suffe the consequences. Back to the law again.

          • Only because we say they are. Let’s try another thought experiment the year is 1940 something or the other and Pearl Harbour is attacked by the Japanese and the Americans declare war. Faster than you can poke yourself in the eye here in Canada as well as the USA – in BC here … canadian citizens those of japanese descent anything oriental actually) are rounded up ther property confiscated and they are all placed in camps – now by today’s laws and standards only 60 years later mind you this is terrible, unlawful against all principles bla bla bla and indeed I would agree with you however even though a few people stood up against it most didn’t therefore according to the law all was legal. I use this becuase my grandfather had a japanese partner and he took care of his property until he got out of the camp and then actually gave it back!!!!!! – there are quite a few rich families out here right now who said they would give the property back but somehow when it came time … well you know what I’m saying! This was’ the Rule of Law ‘ and it was wrong

          • Wayne, yr Granpa was a great human being in my book. It’s a pity, as you say there are lots of others who are’t big enough men to actually live by their own priciples. I don’t agree however that the founding principles of our society only exist for as long as it suits us. Yes we have suspended and ignored them when it suits us. But we always return to them. No one suggested after he war that oriental people not be allowed the privilege of innocense before the law until guilt is proven. No things are not as flexible as that, even if our history is full of people not receiving the full benefit of the law.

    • He’s 22 now. They’ll probably put him on the street in an orange jumpsuit like everyone else who doesn’t ultaimtely get convicted of anything.

  12. kc——-You`re right , It was a war and ” all`s fair etc. ” . So let`s suppose we change the circumstances a little—-Suppose the 15 year old was your or my son and he was in a losing battle against the Taliban and he killed one of them just before he was captured. Now do you think you would get a favourable response from them if you started quoting passages from the Magna Carta to them.
    I point this out not so you can preach to me that we must not act like savages just because our opponents do but because it was a war and Khadr was siding with those who were directly responsible for 911. You seem to think he is just a wayward youth. He is one of the violent extremists and he would almost certainly go back to his old ways. Chretien knew that and Obama and Harper know that and nobody wants to be the one to let him out, and No you shouldn`t let him live in your basement.

    • Sorry, i’d like to agree with you William but we’re miles apart on this one. You’re probably right they’d in all likelyhood kill him on the spot. I don’t mean to sound preachy but you still don’t get that Khadr may not have killed that soldier, but it doesn’t matter anyway because as you say, it’s war. He shouldn’t even be on trial. It may be a fact that these guys will go back to their old ways and i really don’t know what to do with them. Khadr is a different case. It’s not for sure he can’t be salvaged and there is no evidence, in his case that he would backslide. Our standards are for us to keep our humanity intact, if they choose to be savages what can we do about that? If we go far enough down the road of eye for eye and lower the bar for ourselves simply because they do [ ie Bush & torture] when do you think we’ll cross that line and become nazis ourselves? You’re under the impression that i;m advocating that we fight with one arm behind our backs because i’m naive. Not so. Nothing would make the terrorists happier than if we shred all of our principles. In fact it’s the only way they get to win.

      • Well, No actually they win when we train them to fly airplanes so they can use them to kill innocent civilians. If we are dealing with a people with similar values as us in regards to life and due process etc. then we can afford to go to any length to ensure their liberties are taken into account. But a group whose main means of battle is the suicide bomber requires an unusual amount of care on our part—-this is about our trying to prevent more innocent civilans being killed. Sorry basic survival trumps the Magna Carta here. WE are so insulated from what is happening over there, I`m sure the returning Canadian soldier must think there`s not much further apart then the Magna Carta and exploding IED`s.

        • Thing is, the Geneva Conventions aren’t really marketed as a handy way to keep your own guys alive as POW’s. Most people, I’d wager, consider them to be moral standards; and if so they aren’t optional, to be raised or lowered as a flag of convenience. You’re quite right that they began as a bargain between belligerents of the same general cultural outlook, but that isn’t what they are now.

          “Basic survival trumps the Magna Carta here.”

          Uh, can we say “slippery slope”? Also, if you think al-Qaeda threatens your “basic survival” you need a crash-course on minimal male courage.

        • We can agree at least that killing innocents is wrong. I think you’re mistaken when you say that our soldiers aren’t in fact defending our deepest principles. If they aren’t , then what the hell are we there for. If it’s just revenge for 911 then they might just as well come home. Not one single life in those towers can be restored and every single accidental afghan death only makes that fact more clearer with every passing day. You say survival trumps magna charta, Bush thought this too. It’s a position i can’t support. It’s a false dichotomy you propose, we don’t have to abandon one to have the other. If we abandon those principles we may win, as you say, but i say that’ll just prove those savages were right all along.

          • Well, with your views on basic survival against extremists and their right to a fair trial, I don`t think I`d like to be beside you in a firefight unless the opponent was a bunch of nerdy law students, then we might have a chance.
            More so then the economy or the environment , violent terroist acts will be the story of the first part of this century. Soldiers know that , Obama knows that (large contingent of American troops going to Afgha.). Keeping the extremists boxed into one place has kept us safe here. Soldiers know that. Defending deepest principles—well that`s down the list.

          • William
            We’ve always had violent terrorists. Admittedly the stakes are higher now.I grew up in the UK living with the daily threat of bombing by the IRA. I’d guess i have a better idea of living with that sort of fear than you. These kind of debates were a constant staple of daily life back then. Thankfully the authorities didn’t listen to people like you, who wanted every Irishman rounded up, or worse. So don’t tell me we can’t have both, rights and a will to defend ourselves. Rules were broken then too and lives needlessly lost. If you choose to believe that ignorant clown who just went back to the farm, that the world’s a safer place , and all because he was forced to choose between principle and necessity then what more is there to say? Other than you have no right to throw out the principles that our culture stands upon. It’s what separates us from the savages after all.

  13. An honest question, with an easy-to-expose level of bias underpinning it:

    Is it against Canadian law for a Canadian citizen, regardless of age, to go to a foreign country and fight the US (or any allied) (or any) military without a uniform?

    If yes, many thanks for quoting the specific section, article, clause, etc, of the Criminal Code.

    If not, what on earth are those who want to bring Omar home for a “trial” in Canada thinking?

    • Is it against Canadian law for a Canadian citizen, regardless of age, to go to a foreign country and fight the US (or any allied) (or any) military without a uniform?

      Maybe a CIA operative around here familiar with Central and South America knows the answer to that?

    • In Khadr`s case, if he was in Afghanistan fighting the Americans who are our ally there, then wouldn`t the law he broke be of the treasonous variety ?

    • I suspect they might try treason or the new terrorism provisions which were added a few years ago. I am not going to look them up specifically, esp. as Peter MacKay might have somebody on it full time very soon.

      But even if somebody says to face trial, it’s worth thinking of it as facing ‘justice’. America has failed spectacularly and their ability to provide a respectable process is compromised – hopefully not forever, but for a long time. If there’s no trial, it’s because a fully functioning judicial system decided that the matter couldn’t realistically pursued.

  14. kc—-Now you`ve done it—you`ve just compared the Irish to the Taliban terroists. If you were really in UK then you would know that the IRA would often call ahead to let authorities know of a bomb so that people could evacuate. I don`t see that happening with the Muslim terroists these days. By comparing the Irish to the Taliban you have lost any sense of reason. By doing this you have shown a complete lack of understanding of today`s world. You would be dangerous if you wern`t so harmless and naive.Thankfully those in leadarship roles like Obama , Harper, even your Iggy know there is no threat on ” Our Deepest Principles “. Muslim extremists may have a lot of reasons to want to terrorize us but “the right to a speedy trial ” is not one of them.
    I won`t defend Bush—he was a bit of a fool sometime, but probably no more then Clinton chasing interns around the White House while Bin Laden was planning his tricks.
    I still can`t believe that analogy you made—-the only leader I think who is fool enough to be so naive is Jack Layton—you might consider switching to ndp.

    • William i did say that the stakes ARE much higher now. It wasn’t meant to be a direct comparisan and yes idid live through those times. The IRA did not always give warnings – bombs in letters and in coats at xmas did make that rather difficult for them i suppose. If yr pt is that they were maginally more humane then tell that to the innocents who died, i’m sure they’ll appreciate the distinction. I tried to pt out to you through personal experience that libertys were at stake then too. Have it your way, as it seems yr take trumps my actual experience.
      I never intended to imply that you don’t care about what underpins our cultures beliefs, merely that you don’t fully understand them.

      • William if you ar planning a rebuttal full of personal attacks like yr last one, save both of us the bother.

        • Sorry—I didn`t think my implying that you might be more comfortable with the ndp would be considered a personal attack.

          • Good one. You argued yr pt passionately, ill concede that much.