Make up your own mind...but stick to facts
Whenever we discuss Omar Khadr people get up in arms. I interviewed retired Sergeant Layne Morris on the show this morning about his lawsuit against Khadr and was hit with a flood of messages about how I was either too hard or not hard enough on him along with the usual tart texts about how liberals love terrorists.
You can think what you want of Khadr, but we should all be working from the same facts. I've listened to a few people today say things that just aren’t true. Just one example: One person this morning quoted a judge’s ruling that found there was no evidence Khadr had ever been tortured. Pretty persuasive. What they didn’t tell you is that ruling was based on the few months Khadr spent in captivity before he went to Guantanamo Bay. So the person who uses that talking point either doesn’t know that detail or they are lying.
You are welcome to plow through all of the details of the Khadr case which are available on the web but here are a few highlights.
Omar did not grow up in Canada. He spent most of his life being shuttled from one unstable country to another. He never went to a mainstream school in Canada but did attend a Muslim school for one year. The rest of the time he was homeschooled or sent to radical Islamic schools in other countries.
Canadian intelligence files concluded Omar was a fairly ordinary teenager with little interest in his father’s terror although there is video footage of Omar playing with a detonator cord while men build a bomb.
On the day of the infamous battle Omar was in a compound that was surrounded by American and Afghani troops. When troops went into the compound they were fired on. This precipitated a firefight between both sides. Several Americans were wounded and removed from the scene including Layne Morris. Some time later several soldiers went in. There are differing accounts of what happened next but there is no reliable eye witness account that Omar Khadr engaged the soldiers. The original account was that a combatant threw the grenade and was shot dead. Then they found Khadr severely wounded. That account was later changed from the combatant being "killed" to "engaged" to open up the possibility that it was Khadr. At least one Lt. Commander has offered up the theory that the grenade was the result of friendly fire.
Khadr was sent to Bagram and then on to Guantanamo Bay where amongst many things he had bags placed on his head, was hung from his wrists, deprived of sleep for days at a time, forced to soil himself and threatened with rape. His interrogation officer was found guilty of torturing other prisoners. His defense attorney -a marine- quit because he said his trial was “a sham”. His prosecutor -a Colonel- quit because he said he wasn't going to take orders from pro-torture Donald Rumsfeld. Facing thirty years detention in the prison he was in and the chance to do one year and go home to a Canadian jail, Khadr signed a confession that he now says was given just to get out of Guantanamo.
So when people start squawking about Khadr’s ”fans” wanting to “give him a hug” maybe it’s just a case of people who like to stick up for the rule of law. And that’s not limited to bleeding heart liberals. To hear what Lorrie Goldstein, Jim Richards and Michael Coren have to say about the case listen to Viewpoints at 3PM on Saturday and 5PM Sunday.