Friday, July 11, 2008

Omar Khadr - The Harper Spin...Then There's Reality

Let me be clear, I don't think Canada's government has ever done "right" in the Omar Khadr affair, but Stephen Harper's pronouncements in the last couple of days have sunk to a new low.

"The previous [Liberal] government took a whole range... all of the information into account when they made the decision on how to proceed with the Khadr case several years ago," he said.

Around about the time I heard this little bit of deflection on the radio, I got quite angry. First of all, the situation when Khadr was captured is quite different from the situation today. Given the petulant, immature behaviour that George W. Bush has shown in office, I'm pretty sure he would have simply ignored any lobbying from the Chretien or Martin governments purely on the basis that they weren't right wing enough for Dubya.

The second point is that in the intervening years, we also have the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay - and it isn't pretty. So, when Harper tries to pin this all on the Liberals, he's full of it. His government is in power today, and his government carries the obligation to review and act upon the situation intelligently.

And then there's the bit that Harper doesn't want to talk about:

In an interview, Gar Pardy, the now retired head of consular programs for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, said that in 2002-03 “we were fighting for Omar [Khadr],” whom he regarded as too young for Guantanamo.

“I wanted to use his age as the largest club we had to beat up the Americans on,” Mr. Pardy said. But he added that Canadian initiatives to protect the prisoner's rights got lost among departments and officials with competing priorities.

So, let me get this straight - Canada's government in fact did take steps to intervene on Omar Khadr's behalf ... but that was BEFORE PMSH. Unsurprisingly, nothing happened - and I think we can guess why - the reason sits in the Whitehouse.

Make no mistake, I certainly do not approve of the actions of Omar Khadr's father, whether his apparently active participation in paramilitary activity in Afghanistan or the fact he took his then young son with him into that situation. However, when it comes down to it, what Omar Khadr is accused of doing happened in a combat zone, and at a time when he was the ripe old age of fifteen. Adults aren't terribly rational in a firefight, what in heck makes anyone think a fifteen year old male is going to be? (Hello, hormones anyone?)

Omar Khadr should have been in a Toronto high school at the time - discovering girls and preparing for his future. If anyone is to be held responsible for what happened in Afghanistan it is his father who took him there, not Omar Khadr.

PMSH is being a petty, petulant ideologue in this matter - and he is trying to make his own government's failings someone else's fault. I haven't seen such immature and stupid behaviour since I was in junior high.


Anonymous said...

It is a wonder that Harper can sleep well at nights. The more that comes out about this government the more important it becomes that we have to get rid of them.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Hypocrisy of the "Repatriate Omar Khadr to Canada" Movement

As soon as the Gitmo interrogation tape of Omar Khadr hit the Internet, the blogosphere was flooded with demands to repatriate him to Canada. This wave is reminiscent of a Soviet campaign to free Luis Corvalán from the "fascist regime" of Augusto Pinochet thirty five years ago. The scenario is strikingly similar. A "victim" held by "fascist regimes" this time run by Bush and Harper, and a public outcry for justice. Except for the fact that Luis Corvalán didn't kill anyone and didn't fight for a terrorist group that wants to impose Sharia.

The "repatriate Khadr" crowd describes him as "a child", "a kid", "a boy", and even "a torture victim", with no facts to substantiate the torture claims notwithstanding. They complain about Khadr being mistreated, again, without anything to back up their claims. Some of them are outraged about "child abuse." And they all scream for justice.

They want justice? OK, let's talk about JUSTICE. What about justice for Sgt. First Class Christopher J. Speer, who was (according to an eyewitness) murdered by this "child"? What about justice for Tabitha Speer, who is a widow because of this "kid"? What about justice for Taryn and Tanner Speer, who are left without a father by this "a boy"? And what about all those Afghani civilians and NATO troops who are a little bit safer because this "torture victim" is behind bars? How many of these "repatriate Khadr" hypocrites concern themselves with justice for real victims? In literally hundreds of posts, we couldn't find a single one.

One would ask, what is the reason for this idiocy? The answer is simple. Ignorance. Complete and utter ignorance. Let's forget for a second that Omar Khadr killed Christopher Speer. Let's forget that Khadr's father was an al Qaeda financier. Let's forget that Khadr's family is known for it being al Qaeda sympathizers. Let's just remember what this "child" was fighting for in Afghanistan.

This is what Taliban-imposed Sharia looks like in real life:

Why don't all of you, bleeding heart demagogues go to Afghanistan and spend a day in a Taliban-controlled territory? And let's talk about Khadr when you get back. If you get back.

MgS said...

Look "Muslims against Sharia", you've completely missed the issue here.

This isn't about liking anything that Omar Khadr's parents did, or for that matter whatever Omar Khadr believes today, or at the wise age of fifteen for that matter. Nor is it about whether I like or agree with the Taliban and what they do.

This is about a Canadian citizen being held under questionable circumstances by a foreign government. It is about a Canadian government that has repeatedly failed to act as an advocate for its citizens when they are held abroad. When you get it through your thick skull that the issue is about the Harper government's negligence towards Canada's citizens when they are in the direst of circumstances.

MgS said...

Muslims against Sharia writes:

No, it is about an enemy combatant being held by a government that could legally hold him until the cessation of hostilities without any trials. After the hostilities ceased, the government must either release him or charge him with war crimes.

(1) I've edited out the last part of your comment deliberately. I will not tolerate verbal insults in my comment section.

(2) The term "enemy combatant" is a fabrication of the Bush Administration to side step its obligations under the Geneva Conventions towards prisoners captured in a combat zone.

Nobody else in the world either acknowledges or accepts that definition as valid. Khadr is being subjected to a "criminal trial" system that was invented after the fact and doesn't even meet the standards of military law in the United States, much less the standards of law in the civilian system.

Oh yes, and how significant is a 15 year old in a combat zone? He's certainly not in a position of command, nor would he be the carrier of any significant command intelligence.

In my opinion, allowing this charade to go forward merely demonstrates that the HarperCon$ couldn't give a damn about Canadian citizens abroad, solely in the name of sucking up to Harper's masters in the GOP.

MgS said...

Dear "Muslims Against Sharia":

Since you insist upon using juvenile language to preface your comments, you can consider yourself banned from this blog.

I will NOT publish comments that are predominantly an ad hominem attack upon myself or others that comment here.

... and yes, I've read the Geneva Conventions - probably in considerably more detail than you want to know.