“Omar Khadr was the luckiest teenager in the world and remains one of the world’s most fortunate adults. Just how many times in combat does an enemy kill the unit medic and survive to be captured? Let alone that Khadr was operating outside any formal, national military framework and instead, fighting de facto as part of a terrorist gang. That he was not summarily executed is apparently irrelevant to Canadians.”
July 7, 2017
David T. Jones
The Toronto Sun
Canadians are being treated to the latest episode in the long-running Omar Khadr sob story. Now, he’s getting $10.5 million and a grovelling apology from the Canadian government.
The outraged widow of the U.S. medic killed by Khadr is dissed in Canadian media with story titles such as, “Widow goes after money Canada will give ex-Gitmo prisoner” (doubtless a greedy money grubber), and comments such as Khadr is only “alleged to have killed” his victim as a “child soldier” when he confessed to the killing.
(Khadr later said he only confessed so he could be transferred from Guantanamo to serve out his sentence in Canada).
Nevertheless, it is useful to review the record to remind Canadians of the Khadr reality — not the “poor little boy/child soldier” legend perpetrated by media driven by hostility to the United States and/or the previous Stephen Harper government in Canada.
Omar Khadr, was convicted of killing a U.S. Army medic and severely wounded (blinding in one eye) another U.S. soldier in Afghanistan in 2002.
Khadr, who was 15 years old at the time, was fighting as an illegal combatant for the Taliban when, rejecting calls to surrender, he grenaded the U.S. soldiers.
Although themselves wounded, U.S. forces effectively treated Khadr and subsequently transferred him to the Guantanamo prison facility, where in October, 2010 he pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to eight years in prison (not including time served).
The Canadian fibrillations over Khadr reflect simple anti-Americanism and are a caricature of reality.
Omar Khadr was the luckiest teenager in the world and remains one of the world’s most fortunate adults. Just how many times in combat does an enemy kill the unit medic and survive to be captured?
Let alone that Khadr was operating outside any formal, national military framework and instead fighting de facto as part of a terrorist gang.
That he was not summarily executed is apparently irrelevant to Canadians.
These critics of U.S. action expend not a scintilla of concern for the widow and perpetually fatherless children of the murdered medic (and the blinded U.S. soldier often goes unmentioned).
Somehow, Khadr became the victim — as if Canadians should be able to travel the world, kill U.S. soldiers, and suffer no consequences (particularly if they do so under the age of 18).
Recalling history and the individual capabilities of teenagers, an American might conclude that if Khadr was old enough to be throwing grenades, he was old enough to imprison.
After protracted legal pushing and pulling, Khadr was transferred to a Canadian prison and ultimately released in May, 2015.
Following his release, Khadr was lauded as heroic, free to milk his miraculous survival into profit.
Ultimately, nevertheless, there may be a legal comedownance to his expectations of riches.
The widow of the murdered medic, and the blinded former soldier, sued Khadr in a Utah district court, and were awarded US $102 million which was essentially uncollectable at the time.
However, the 2012 Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act allows for the collection of damages from U.S. judgments in Canadian courts.
Now they are attempting to block the government of Canada’s $10.5 million payment to Khadr, and obtain appropriate compensation.
Khadr is far from finished paying for his crimes.
Jones is a retired senior U.S. State Department diplomat who served as political minister counsellor at the U.S. embassy in Ottawa.