First of all, get used to it -- Omar Khadr is destined to come back to Canada, land of his birth, if not his affections and loyalty.
For nearly 10 years he's been a "detainee" at Guantanamo Bay after being wounded and captured fighting for al-Qaeda in Afghanistan as a 15-year-old in 2002. Canadian governments (Liberal and Conservative) have wanted no part of him.
But we're stuck with him and what's left of his family, after his father was killed in a 2003 ambush in Pakistan. Former PM Jean Chretien had appealed to Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1996 to get Khadr released from jail, only to be killed later.
As a teenager, young Khadr didn't have much of a chance.
He was enrolled in al-Qaeda, believed in Osama bin Laden, fought the enemies of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In 2002 when U.S. troops attacked, Khadr killed a sergeant and badly wounded another with a grenade and was shot in the chest.
In 2010 he pleaded "guilty" to murder, spying, conspiracy and terrorism. He was sentenced to eight years (most of it time served) and is now awaiting return to Canada.
Clearly he's not wanted here, but has become something of a folk-hero to some human rights activists and the CBC.
The Americans want Khadr transferred to Canada, where a spokesperson for Justice Minister Robert Nicholson has said the possibility of criminal charges against Khadr "rests with police and provincial Crown attorneys."
This is an odd reaction -- but not as odd as the Conservative party's view that "any Canadian citizen . . . who commits treason by taking up arms against the Canadian Forces (or allies) . . . automatically invalidates his or her Canadian citizenship."
The suggestion is that Khadr should be charged with high treason for "assisting an enemy at war with Canada" or (assisting) those against whom the Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities. Bafflegab.
To view Khadr as "treasonous," or even as "criminal," is wrong to the point of absurdity. He's done nothing against Canada. His "crime" of murder -- to which he confessed, in order to facilitate return to Canada -- was fighting against an invader. America attacked Afghanistan and al-Qaeda, to whom Khadr had pledged allegiance.
Canada wasn't involved -- had no links nor interest in Afghanistan prior to 9/11.
Killing in a war is not usually considered "murder," and certainly isn't treason. Surely some Ottawa authority can see the difference? While we may not like the Khadr family, Omar has done nothing to warrant criminal charges in Canada.
It's also unfair to compare Khadr with Kanao Inouye, the only Canadian ever convicted of high treason. As an interpreter and guard of Canadian soldiers captured at Hong Kong in WWII, Inouye was known to POWs as the "Kamloops Kid" who consistently beat and abused Canadians.
Sentenced to hang by the British for war crimes, the verdict was overturned on appeal and he was re-tried by Canadians and in 1947 was hanged for high treason.
Ironically, Inouye's father served honourably in the Canadian army in WWI, and won the Military Medal for Bravery in the Field.
Omar Khadr is no Kanao Inouye, and really is an accidental Canadian who has done nothing criminal against this country. Nor has he done anything for Canada.Suggest a correction