On July 27, 2002, Omar Khadr, son of prominent al-Qaeda financier Ahmed Khadr, was captured in the eastern Afghanistan village of Ayub Kheyl, following an intense firefight in which he killed American medic Sergeant Christopher Speer with a grenade, and blinded U.S. Special Forces Sergeant Layne Morris. Extenuating circumstances would soon bring Omar Khadr’s case international news coverage.
Khadr was only 15 at the time of his capture, and furthermore, a Canadian citizen. The conservative government of Stephen Harper fully supported the United States in its vigorous criminal prosecution of Khadr, which resulted in his detention in Guantanamo Bay. Justin Trudeau‘s government, in a development that many have found utterly distasteful, has recently announced that the Canadian government will be awarding Khadr USD $8 million ($10.5 million Canadian dollars) for the violation of his rights.
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The decision has come under fire, particularly from the soldiers who captured Khadr 15 years ago in rural Afghanistan. Layne Morris, in an interview with the Toronto Sun, argued, “I don’t see this as anything but treason…it’s something a traitor would do. As far as I am concerned, Prime Minister Trudeau should be charged.”
Trudeau has claimed, however, that the case is out of his hands, noting at the G-20 summit in Germany that, “the charter of rights and freedoms protects all Canadians, every one of us, even when it is uncomfortable. This is not about the detail of the merits of the Khadr case. When the government violates any Canadian’s charter rights, we all end up paying for it.”
Khadr’s case raises serious questions about the legal status of child soldiers and the use of so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques utilized by the Bush administration during the War on Terror.
The libertarian movement has had a contentious relationship with the War on Terror. There is no doubt that Bush in the post-9/11 era used the threat of radical Islamic terrorism to drastically expand the size and scope of the federal government, creating such bureaucratic behemoths as the Department of Homeland Security, and ramping up funding for the CIA, NSA, and the military.
Unfortunately, Bush’s foolhardy foreign policy led us down the road of costly and impractical foreign military adventurism and nation building, rather than focusing on eradicating terrorist networks. It appears clear now that the War in Iraq, in particular, did nothing to diminish terrorism; in fact it did just the opposite…allowing radical jihadis in the country’s restive Sunni triangle to use the fragile young nation as a springboard for launching radical jihadi networks throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Regardless of your perspective on American foreign policy in the post-9/11 era, what is clear is that Omar Khadr is no innocent victim in this matter. If the United States government does not have the will to aggressively prosecute a 15 year old terrorist who has American blood on his hands, it will only further incentivize the use of even younger children by terrorist networks in the future.
Canada’s Conservative leader Andrew Scheer was outraged by the payout, calling it “a slap in the face to men and women in uniform who face incredible danger every day to keep us safe.” However, according to Canada’s Liberal Party establishment, Khadr is entitled to the compensation due to the fact that the Canadian government violated Khadr’s civil rights by helping the US government to use harsh interrogation techniques to collect evidence to be used against him at his trial.
Khadr pleaded guilty to murder and war crimes, was sentenced to 8 years, repatriated to Canada in 2012, and then released from prison in 2015.
Despite the extenuating circumstances involved in the case, and complicated issues of criminal law, it should be substantially clear to all but the most indoctrinated left-wingers that Khadr’s payout of USD $8 million at the hands of Canadian taxpayers is a travesty. Three generations of the Khadr family have pursued terrorism and radical jihad, waging war against the West and our values.
This will go down in Canadian history as the most despicable instance of appropriation of government funds. Omar Khadr is a terrorist and a murderer and it is an outrage that Justin Trudeau’s government is hijacking the language of morality to justify this onerous settlement, just one more example of political correctness run amok.
Only in Canada can you join al-Qaeda, murder American soldiers with a grenade, and then get rewarded for your experience at the hands of the taxpayers. The battle against al-Qaeda and its radical jihadi allies is not a game of capture-the-flag. It is war. And it is time that we start treating it as such.