Saturday, July 19, 2008

Omar Khadr: Warrior or Criminal?

NPR reported this week on Canada's response to the release on YouTube of this excerpt from an interrogation at Guantanamo Bay.

The prisoner is Omar Khadr, then a 16-year-old child soldier; the interrogators are Canadian intelligence officers. Whether this constitutes fair treatment of a child detainee or not, the bigger question in the Khadr case is put forth by Corey Flintoff during the NPR segment. This question has nothing to do with his treatment, nor with his age, but rather with his status:

"The story of Omar Khadr's capture is the story of a firefight in Afghanistan, an exchange of gun fire and after the exchange he allegedly throws a hand grenade... that sounds to me as close to the capture of a POW and as different from capturing somebody who's hatching a plot to bomb airplanes as I can imagine."

1 comment:

LFC said...

The detention facility at GB was a bad idea from the start, but its rationale as I understand it was never to house only suspected terrorists, as Flintoff implies, but more generally anyone who did not clearly fit within the definition of a uniformed soldier on the battlefield (hence the loose term 'enemy combatant'). A 14-year-old (as I think Khadr was at the time of his capture) who allegedly emerges after a firefight to throw a hand grenade is not really just like a uniformed soldier, and hence his being sent to Guanatanamo was, given the way the administration conceived things, not surprising. Again, I am not defending Gitmo but pointing out that the admin never said its purpose was restricted to housing suspected terrorists.

"; urchinTracker();