Republished in view of recent controversy over Canadian government appeasement of this young war criminal.
Omar Ahmed Khadr is about as Canadian as a Chiquita-brand banana. The unrepentant confessed murderer and terrorist would fit in like a tropical fruit tree planted in Tuktoyaktuk.
Khadr was born 19 September 1986 in Toronto; that is the only relevant fact presented by those who advocate repatriation. All other supporting argument stems from this fact, including the prospect that Khadr may be able to successfully sue the Canadian government for damages, alleging its complicity in condemning him to the comfortable horror of Guantanamo Bay.
There is more to citizenship than coincidence of birth. Moral consideration must come into play. Most analysts assume Khadr is automatically protected by Canadian law and that Canada has a responsibility to actively protect him. Then they try to wade through the legal morass to rationalize the outcome they want instead of considering the facts of reality.
Khadr is serving an 8-year term for his crimes and will be eligible for parole on 1 July 2013. That leaves time for Canadian officials to decide how to properly handle the case of his repatriation; there is no reason to hurry the process. Khadr seems to have spent less than a year of his infant life as a Canadian resident; he has no ties to Canada, whether or not it was his choice to live in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
Khadr ought to be consulted and interviewed with respect to his future plans. This would contribute to the case for his citizenship status. Is he prepared to make simple citizenship pledges? Can he convince authorities that he accepts related responsibilities to follow the law? Would he endeavour to be a productive citizen? If so, then any assistance in finding him employment post incarceration would be a reasonable, helpful and positive action.
However, if Khadr represents an overt threat, as many observers have noted, then a case should be built for his being stripped of Canadian citizenship. Reports have indicated that he is unremorseful for his previous actions and remains committed to “jihad” directed against the west.
Much has been made of Khadr as a “child soldier” who was exploited by his criminal parents. At the same time it is argued that Khadr is a “bright individual” whose early language skills were some of the attributes so exploited in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
A 15-year old fighter when he was arrested, he had his own life saved by his captors. He was old enough to know right from wrong. Upbringing is irrelevant to the current situation; Khadr may simply be a “bright criminal”. Whatever his youthful misfortune, it is not a claim on the lives of typical Canadians, whom he doubtlessly despises anyway.
©Copyright 2012 Edward Podritske