Omar Khadr was not a terrorist then, and isn't one now. He was never a terrorist. Yes, I get that might leave some frothing, but the truth needs to be spoken.
At the age of ten Khadr was taken, along with other male family members, by his father to live in a Taliban ruled Afghanistan. Then 911 happened. At the time the Taliban ruled most of Afghanistan, with a small faction known as the "Northern Alliance" fighting a losing battle with them for that control. Post 911 the US government demanded the Taliban government of Afghanistan, yes I said "government of Afghanistan" because that is what they were in 2001, hand over 911 mastermind Osama Bin Laden to them. The Afghan government refused on the traditional Islamic grounds that he was an "invited guest" in their country, and they were therefor obligated not to hand him over. At least that's what they said.
Bottom line is that didn't wash with the US and a small coalition of countries, and under a UN mandate they went to war with Afghanistan. It was a war. Not a policing action. Not an anti-terrorist operation. So let's agree on that point, because it is important. The United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and others went to war with the ruling power in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, US President George Bush, and many US politicians, claimed that if you supported the terrorists you were in fact a terrorist yourself. That was pretty convenient for the US government as they then treated Taliban (then the Afghan Armed Forces) as enemy combatants, or more accurately "unlawful combatants".
In reality, the captured Taliban forces in Afghanistan were really prisoners of war. By skirting the use of the proper term "prisoner of war", and by housing these people in Cuba, the US was able to skirt international and for that matter their domestic law. That allowed the US to, as former US President Obama said: "we tortured a few folks." Bush and company referred to it as "enhanced interrogation".
On July 27, 2002, Omar Khadr was involved in a battle against US Delta force soldiers. A battle for his life. One small battle, or more accurately "fire fight" in the midst of a far larger war. He was severely injured with two massive bullet exit wounds to his chest, and a lost eye - among other injuries. In the midst of the chaos he is alleged to have thrown a grenade that killed a US medic, and cost another US serviceman an eye. For this act he was charged with a war crime. But was it a war crime? Battle is chaos no matter what you might think. The old saying that the plan only lasts as long as the first contact with the enemy holds true. In order for this act to be considered a war crime he would have to be deliberately attempting to kill a marked medic. In any case, whether he did or didn't commit a war crime is not the issue here.
The issue here is whether he is a "terrorist" or a "prisoner of war". Certainly the US medic who saved his life on that day did not consider him as a terrorist:
"This is a human life. This is war. This is something that most people can't fathom, and they want to be real quick to give an opinion just because it makes them feel good about themselves ... but there's more to this story than just talking points."
The Canadian Press story then goes on to summarize Donnie Bumanglag's take on the circumstances:
"At the time, he is clear that Speer and Morris were grown men who had signed on the line to become elite professional soldiers, knowing the risks of their jobs. On the other hand, Bumanglag also makes it clear he empathizes with the young Canadian who was taken by his father to another country and thrown into an ideologically motivated war over which he had no control."
You can't put it any more truthfully, or correctly then that. You can read Donnie Bumanglag, the medic who saved Khadr's life, here . I highly recommend it. As a retired infantry soldier/officer, I admire Bumanlang's professionalism for calling it as it was. Strip away the whole political spin job of if you're not with us you are a terrorist - as Bush put it. Understand that professional soldiers are volunteers. I was one myself. You sign up. You know your health and life are at risk. You know when you go into combat that it is war. You know that an enemy that surrenders is a prisoner of war, and entitled to Geneva Convention protection - just as we would expect for our own. It is only the opportunistic, and morally bankrupt political class, that have in turn influenced some of the same in the military class, to see a bogey man when in fact you ought to see a prisoner of war.
Bottom line is this, Khadr did not, to the best of my knowledge: massacre civilians; hijack an aircraft; kill athletes at an Olympics; or any other normally terrorist associated acts. How pathetic, and insecure in ourselves do we have to be to label other people as terrorist because they fight on the battlefield for what they believe? Is that what we have become in Canada? Simple minded, unquestioning, and brain washed by US propaganda used to justify breaking international law in the treatment of prisoners? Has our collective soul become that poisoned? It sure seems that way.
The polls show a majority were against the actions of our Prime Minister when he did the right thing by upholding values we as Canadians have always upheld - until we became brain washed that is. Now the Conservatives are going to the US to try and humiliate our government to score political points. That is just too morally corrupt to even speak about. It's as if we can't enforce our own Constitution, because it might upset the US government's sense of moral superiority. That's what it boils down to. You're either with us or against us. Your national values are of no consideration. All options are on the table. There is no right or wrong way. Just our way. This is a war on terror, and we define terrorists as those that oppose us. In case you haven't noticed, every other tin pot country in the world began labelling opponents to them as "terrorists". It's the new catch all phrase. Every time it is used it loses its original meaning - those that terrorize. Was a 15 year old kid, facing a US Delta Force unit in a fire fight, being a terrorist? Or was he more likely a child soldier scared shitless? Common sense should tell you that he wasn't "terrorizing" anyone at all, and in fact he was likely the only one "terrorized" in that firefight.
Whether you like it or not, whether you agree or not, there is no question that Omar Khadr was never a terrorist. He was a child soldier at best. He fought in self-defence against one of the most elite special forces units (Delta Force). A mismatch if there ever was one. You could say he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. You could say he was brain washed by his father, and 5 years in Taliban Afghanistan. You could say he fought in self-defence for his life. One thing you cannot say with any credibility at all is this 15 year old kid, as he was then, was a terrorist. To say otherwise is to make comment on your own conditioned reasoning.
Omar Khadr as a 15 year old "terrorist"
Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)