Monday, January 12, 2009

Obamas' flip flop and Child soldiers

I read two stories yesterday that highlighted President Elect Obamas' attitude towards Canada. The first, that he would be making his first international visit as President to our great nation. The second story though, left me with my first bitter taste from the Obama soon to be administration.

Senator and Candidate Obama said Guantanamo would be closed. For Canadians this hopefully means the conclusion to a sad chapter in Canada-U.S relations, that being the sickening detention of a Child, Omar Khadr, charged with murder for killing a marine. ( A Marine might I add, who was part of a group of soldiers who were involved in a war and were attacking said child soldier) .

Obama has no stepped back, albeit only slightly from his plan to shut down gitmo. I hope, as he is now saying, that the plans are the same, and that it just may take a little longer to accomplish.

The terrible reality about Omar Khadr is this. He was a child, following the lead of his father, a man who does have terrorist links. This child didn't do anything that any child wouldn't. You believe your parents, you look to them for guidance, protection, etc., As a boy this child, who is Canadian, was brainwashed by his father. Most likely told how evil and terrible the Americans were. Made to fight by his father, and under attack from American soldiers, this child killed a Marine. He was captured, locked in jail with adults, denied counsel, and from the well documented cases of abuse and torture, does anyone really believe he was handled with kid gloves. He most likely faced some sort of abuse/torture.

My question has always been this. If the marine had shot and killed Khadr, would he/she have been charged with murder. While i loathe war, and am no 5 star general, my basic understanding of war was that people get killed. Why is this boy charged with Murder? Are these the new rules of engagement? Kill an American soldier during battle, go to jail.

Think about a 15 year old you know, maybe a son, daughter, niece, nephew neighbourhood kid etc., Now imagine if their father, from an early age, introduced them to hate, and terror, trained him/her to fight, and threw them into battle against a country that he/she had been raised to fear. Imagine the fear this young boy faced, bunkered down, surrounded by grown men, bullets flying by, explosions all around you, I know I would be scared for my life at 31, I can't imagine what I would feel at 15. He threw a grenade at people who were attacking him. He was a child, he was denied legal rights, kept in a camp known for torture, and he is Canadian. What chance did this kid have?

If the Americans can do this to one Canadian, are the rest of us safe? We do have lots of oil, but it's not like wars are ever waged over that though, right?

1 comment:

  1. The facts of this case are a little more under dispute than your post here seems to admit.

    As I understand, the soldiers have stated that Khadr didn't throw the grenade until after the firefight was over.

    Alternatively, it's been suggested that the grenade wasn't thrown by Khadr at all, but rather was thrown by another marine during the firefight (friendly fire).

    It may take a trial to determine which of these stories -- or if either of them -- is true. The question I'd ask you is: do you think the answers are important? Are they important enough to send Khadr to trial in order to get them?