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.