Dr. Dawg

The Khadr persecution

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In the wake of the latest attack on Omar Khadr by our Minister of Torture and Surveillance, it might be useful to review precisely what it was that Khadr allegedly did on that fateful day in Afghanistan, July 7, 2002.

Briefly, the compound in which he was staying at the time was bombarded by US forces, and then attacked on the ground. Most of the occupants were killed: Khadr, although shot twice, survived.

He is alleged to have thrown a grenade that killed an American soldier, Christopher Speer, before his capture and incarceration.

Leaving the accuracy of that charge aside (and substantial doubt on that score exists), it it an odd view that only one side in an armed conflict may attack the other with deadly force, and that deadly resistance by the latter is akin to murder and terrorism.

That point is made eloquently here. By extension, the author argues, I think convincingly, that if throwing that grenade was indeed a “war crime,” then those out of uniform deploying deadly drones around the world have a good deal to answer for.

An article in the Washington Post (h/t Ken Hanly) makes this abundantly clear:

Every day, CIA agents and CIA contractors arm and pilot armed unmanned drones over combat zones in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including Pakistani tribal areas, to search out and kill Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters. In terms of international armed conflict, those CIA agents are, unlike their military counterparts but like the fighters they target, unlawful combatants. No less than their insurgent targets, they are fighters without uniforms or insignia, directly participating in hostilities, employing armed force contrary to the laws and customs of war. Even if they are sitting in Langley, the CIA pilots are civilians violating the requirement of distinction, a core concept of armed conflict, as they directly participate in hostilities.

In case we need reminding, most of these illegal belligerents are not 15 years old under the tutelage of violent jihadist parents. They are operating openly on behalf of the US government, and are no doubt well paid for doing so. One doesn’t expect the US, of course, to be consistent in its application of international or even domestic law. But here at home, is it too much to hope that wiser heads than Vic Toews will recognize the Kafkaeque absurdity of the continuing persecution of Omar Khadr, and get him early release?

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on October 22, 2012 10:55 AM.

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