In light of Obama's desire to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Center
Far from the White House in far-off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a judge granted Obama's request to suspend the war crimes trial of a young Canadian, Omar Khadr. The judge, Army Col. Patrick Parrish, issued a one-sentence order for the 120-day continuance without so much as a hearing, possibly the beginning of the end for the former administration's system of trials for alleged terrorists. Obama has the intention of closing Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp. The inmates at Gitmo are suspected terrorists and should be considered high risk. I have to side with many of my cohorts when I stress that I see no problem of a death penalty being carried out for terrorists. I do not support torture or any other forms of prisoner mistreatment. I do not support the closing of Gitmo, but rather a tighter control of the how prisoners are treated. Even though they are terrorists, the basic necessities of human beings should be maintained. One must remember, though, that these people have elected to play the game without any rules. And therefore, we must also play outside the normal rules of war when dealing with these people.
So who is Omar Ahmed Khadr? Because his father, Ahmed Said Khadr, had raised his family in Peshawar, Pakistan since 1985 (actually 1885-1997), Omar spent his childhood moving back and forth between Canada and Pakistan, as his family was intent to subvert the nations of the West (Canada and the US.). His mother also wished to raise her family outside of Canada due to her animus for western social influences. Khadr was enrolled in a madrassah in Peshawar.
Ahmed Said Khadr (his father) was one of Osama bin Laden's senior lieutenants and known financier of al-Qaeda operations. Khadr's father frequently told his children, "If you love me, pray that I will get martyred." He urged his sons to be suicide-bombers, saying it would bring "honor" to the family. He actually warned his son Abdurahman, "If you betray Islam, I will be the one to kill you." In 1992, Khadr's father was severely injured while in Lowgar, Afghanistan when he stepped on a land mine; the Khadr family moved back to Toronto so he could recuperate. After the move, Omar became "hypersensitive to tension in the family" and would often quote Captain Haddock from "The Adventures of Tintin". Enrolled at ISNA Elementary School for Grade 1, Omar's teachers described him as "very smart, very eager and very polite"
After Ahmed's recover, the family returned to Peshawar, Pakistan. They actually lived on a large compound with bin Laden. Omar and his siblings attended a private school in Peshawar, and were home-schooled for two years returning to write their exams at the Ansar Scientific Institute. While he was not fond of math, his favorite subjects were English and Islamic Studies, as he already knew the topics well. Omar and his older brothers Abdullah and Abdurahman attended a military camp that provided instruction on handguns, assault rifles, bomb-making and combat tactics.
It's safe to say that Khadr was raised in the latter years of development, in an extremist environment, one has to wonder if the effects of being raised in such an atmosphere can be reversed. Because he was born and raised in Canada, it is easier for us to relate to him, and separate him from children born and raised in areas of conflict.
In 1995, Ahmed Khadr was arrested following Ayman al-Zawahiri's bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Pakistan, and accused of financially aiding the conspirators. Ahmed was hospitalized after engaging in a hunger strike, and 9-year old Omar spent every night sleeping on the floor beside his father's bed until his release a year later for lack of evidence.
Khadr's father moved his family to Jalalabad, Afghanistan in 1996, where they lived in their father's NGO office. The family often visited the compound of Osama Bin Laden, and the Khadr and bin Laden children played together. While many advocates for the release of Khadr will lead you to think it was a once-in-a-while get-together, the interaction between Khadr's family and bin Laden's family would be considered on a "somewhat regular basis".
Following the 1998 embassy bombings, the United States had retaliated by bombing camps in Afghanistan. Thus, expecting a similar retaliation following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Khadr family retreated towards the Pakistani mountains, where Omar went shopping, washed laundry and cooked meals.
In early 2002, he was living in Waziristan with his mother and younger sister while his father visited infrequently, and took up beading his mother's clothes as a hobby. At one point, he was forced to wear a burqa and disguise himself as a daughter to avoid scrutiny, an act that upset him. When his father returned, he asked to be allowed to stay at a group home for young men, despite his mother's protests. His father agreed, and a month later allowed him to accompany a group of Arabs associated with Abu Laith al-Libi, who needed a Pashto translator during their stay in Khost. Khadr promised to check in regularly with Maha, his mother. A later collection of biographies written by al Qaeda praises the elder Khadr for "tossing his little child in the furnace of the battle", and likens his son to a lion cub.
According to charges signed by military commission officer Susan J. Crawford, Khadr received "one-on-one" weapons training in June, as his visits home became less frequent.
Khadr had accompanied three of the men he was staying with, as they went to the village to meet with several other militants. Neither of his parents were told about the meeting, and his father shouted angrily at Abu Laith al-Libi following reports of the battle, for not taking care of his son properly.
From approximately February 2002, a team of American soldiers were using the abandoned Soviet airbase in Khost, Afghanistan as an intelligence-gathering outpost, as they tried to blend in and gain the trust of the local community.
In the early morning of July 27, 2002, a team composed of 19th Special Forces Group, the 505th Infantry Regiment and a "militia", composed of approximately twenty Afghan fighters loyal to mercenary warlord Pacha Khan Zadran and led by Zadran's brother Kamal, had been sent from the airbase in a tan Toyota Tacoma to the Ab Khail house where an elderly wheelchair-bound man alleged to be a bomb-maker who had hidden anti-tank mines several weeks earlier, was believed to be hiding. The search turned up no evidence against the occupants of the house.
While at the house, a report came in that a monitored satellite phone, possibly one owned by the Khadrs, had just been used 300-600 meters from the group's present location. Seven soldiers were sent to investigate the site of the phone call.
group was led by Major Randy Watt, and also included XO Captain Mike Silver, Sgt Christopher James Speer from Delta Force, Layne Morris and Master Sgt. Scotty Hansen, both from the 19th Special Forces Group, Spc. Christopher J. Vedvick from the 505th and one other man.
Arriving at a series of mud huts and a granary filled with fresh straw surrounded by a 10-foot (3.0 m) stone wall with a green metal gate approximately 100 meters radius from the main hut, the Special Forces team saw children playing around the buildings and an old man sleeping beneath a nearby tree.
Seeing five "well-dressed" men sitting around a fire in the main residence, with AK-47s visible in the room, Morris has claimed that he either approached and told the occupants, who had seen him, to open the front door or that he snuck quietly back without being seen and a perimeter was set up around the complex. Either way, the team waited 45 minutes for support from the soldiers searching the first residence, and at one point Morris chided the soldiers from the 82nd for setting up a defensive perimeter with their backs to the house, rather than properly covering the house itself.
During this time, the elderly man sleeping beneath the tree awoke and began screaming loudly in Pashto, causing a number of local children to run over and interpret for the Americans, explaining that the man was "just angry". Morris took a photograph of the children standing on the road outside the compound. A crowd of approximately a hundred local Afghans had gathered around the area to watch the incident unfold. An Afghan militiaman was sent towards the house to demand the surrender of the occupants, but retreated under gunfire.
Reinforcements from the 3rd Platoon of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion 505th Infantry Regiment arrived under the command of Captain Christopher W. Cirino, bringing the total number of Americans and Afghan militia to about fifty. Two of Zadran's militiamen were sent into the compound to speak with the inhabitants, and returned to the Americans' position and reported that the men inside claimed to be Pashtun villagers. They were told to return to the huts, and inform the occupants that the Americans wanted to search their house regardless of their affiliation. Upon hearing this, the occupants of the hut opened fire, shooting both militiamen.
Several women immediately fled the huts and ran away while the occupants began throwing grenades at the American troops, with intermittent rifle fire. After the firefight, a statement by one of the soldiers would contradict this and say that there had only been one woman and one child present, and both were detained by US forces after exiting the huts.
Morris and Silver had now taken up positions outside the stone wall, with Silver "over Morris's left shoulder explaining where he should try to position his next shot", when Morris fell back into Silver, with a cut above his right eye and shrapnel embedded in his nose. Both Silver and Morris initially believed the wound was due to Morris' rifle malfunctioning, though it was later attributed to an unseen grenade. In an alternate account of the injury, Morris has also claimed that he was inside the compound and hiding behind the granary preparing to fire a rocket-propelled grenade into a wall of the house when he was shot.
Morris was dragged a safe distance from the action, and was shortly after joined by Spc. Michael Rewakowski, Pfc. Brian Worth and Spc. Christopher J. Vedvick who had also been wounded by the grenade attacks.
Above is a photo of Spc. Michael Rewakowski and Pfc Brian worth in the hospital recovering. At 0910 a request for MedEvac was sent to the 57th Medical Detachment. Ten minutes later, DUSTOFF 36 and Wings 11, a pair of UH-60s, were deployed as well as AH-64 Apaches Widowmaker 23 and Widowmaker 26 as escort. Arriving at the scene, the Apaches strafed the compound with cannon and rocket fire, while the medical helicopters remained 12 miles (19 km) from the ongoing firefight. The helicopters finally landed at 1028 to load the wounded aboard DUSTOFF 36, while Brian Basham switched helicopters to take a wounded prisoner aboard WINGS 11, leaving Cpt. Michael Stone, CWO Ezekial Coffman, Spc. Jose Peru and Sgt. Frank Caudill aboard DUSTOFF 36, as a pair of F-18 Hornets dropped Mark 82 bombs on the houses.
At this point, a five-vehicle convoy of ground reinforcements arrived including a rifle squad from the 82nd Airborne, bringing the number of troops to approximately a hundred. Two of these vehicles were damaged beyond use by the militants. Ten minutes later, the MedEvac left for Bagram Airbase and a pair of A-10 Warthogs arrived on-scene and began attacking the houses along with the Apaches. The MedEvac arrived at Bagram Airfield at 1130.
Unaware that Khadr and a militant had survived the bombing, the ground forces sent a team consisting of OC-1, Silver, Speer and three Delta Force soldiers through a hole in the south side of the wall, while at least two other American troops continued throwing grenades into the compound.
The team began picking their way over the bodies of dead animals and three fighters. According to Silver's 2007 telling of the story, he then heard a sound "like a gunshot", and saw the three Delta Force soldiers duck - as a grenade flew past them and exploded near Speer, who was at the rear of the group and not wearing his helmet.
OC-1 reported that although he didn't hear any gunfire, but the dust being blown from an alley on the north side of the complex led him to believe the team was under fire from a shooter between the house and barn. He reported that a grenade was also "lobbed" over the wall that led to the alley and landed 30-50 meters from the alley opening. Running towards the alley to escape the grenade which he also didn't hear detonate, OC-1 fired a dozen M4 Carbine rounds into the alley as he ran past, although he couldn't see anything due to the rising dust clouds. Crouching at the southeast entrance to the alleyway, OC-1 could see a man with a holstered pistol moving on the ground next to an AK-47, with two chest wounds. From his position, OC-1 fired a single shot into the man's head, killing him.
When the dust cleared, OC-1 saw Khadr crouched on his knees facing away from the action and wounded by shrapnel that had just permanently blinded his left eye, and shot him twice in the back.
OC-1 estimated that all the events since entering the wall had taken less than a minute up until this point, and that he had been the only American to fire his weapon, although an American grenade had also been thrown into the living quarters after initially entering the complex.
Silver initially claimed that two Delta Force troops had opened fire, shooting all three of the shots into Khadr's chest, after the youth was seen to be holding a pistol and facing the troops. These claims all directly contradict OC-1's version of events as the only eyewitness. OC-1 did agree however, that something was lying in the dust near Khadr's end of the alley, although he couldn't remember if it were a pistol or grenade.
Above is the photo where they were loading mortally-wounded Sfc. Christopher James Speer. Entering the alleyway, OC-1 saw two dead men with a damaged AK-47 buried in rubble who he believed had been killed in the airstrikes, and confirmed that the man he had shot was dead. Moving back to Khadr, OC-1 tapped the motionless youth's eye, confirming that he was still alive. Turning him over onto his back, for entering troops to secure, he began exiting the alleyway to find Speer, who he was unaware had been wounded. While leaving the alleyway, he saw a third AK-47 and several grenades. Contradicting Morris' report of five well-dressed men, OC-1 maintained that a search of the rubble determined that there had only been four occupants, all found in the same alleyway.
Khadr was given on-site medical attention, during which time he repeatedly asked the medics to kill him, surprising them with his English. An officer present later recorded in his diary that he was about to tell his Private Second Class to kill the wounded Khadr, when Delta Force soldiers ordered them not to harm the prisoner.
He was then loaded aboard a CH-47 helicopter and flown to Bagram Airbase, losing consciousness aboard the flight. According to CBC, he would have died if he had not been treated.
The following day, soldiers including Silver returned to search the premises. Local villagers were believed to have taken away two bodies and provided them an Islamic burial, but refused to disclose their location to the Americans who wished to identify the fighters.
Above is two views of the premises from the attack the day before. Believing that the wooden boards beneath the last-killed rifleman could have been used to cover an underground chamber, an excavator was used to tear down the walls of the buildings. This demolition uncovered five boxes of rifle ammunition, two rockets, two grenades and three rocket-propelled grenades in the huts. Some of them had accidentally detonated while lying in the smoldering ruins. A plastic bag was discovered in the granary, containing documents, wires and a videocassette. OC-1's report claims the videotape was found in the main house, rather than the granary, and also mentioned detonators modeled as Sega game cartridges.
The video shows Khadr toying with detonating cord as other men including Abu Laith al-Libi assemble explosives in the same house as had just been destroyed, identifiable by its walls, rugs and the environment seen out the windows in the video, and planting landmines while smiling and joking with the cameraman. The 27-minute video displays Khadr assisting in the burying of landmines, and that of him handling weapons and explosives with great enthusiasm. It has been suggested that these were the same landmines later recovered by American forces on a road between Gardez and Khowst. How many innocent people-including children-may have been killed or injured while traveling through areas littered with Khadr's mines? Khadr's training by al Qaeda and his active involvement in al Qaeda activities (including statements of praise by Osama bin Laden) are well documented.
The firefight, originally labeled an ambush, was hailed as the first major engagement since Operation Anaconda had ended four months earlier. Hansen and Watt were both awarded a Bronze Star, for running forward under fire to retrieve two fallen bodies. Sources differ on whether these were wounded American soldiers including Layne Morris or the two Afghan militiamen shot at the outset. The five wounded men were all awarded Purple Hearts. Speer was moved from Bagram airbase to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where he was removed from life support on August 7, with his heart, liver, lungs and kidneys all being donated.
Khadr was interrogated several times about his timelines, affiliations, and activities. He expressed that he learned how to take apart grenades to use as explosives, and he was also actively used as a translator. He was questioned again on September 17, and stated that he helped the militants because he had been told the United States was fighting a war against Islam. When asked if he knew of a $1500 bounty being offered for each American soldier killed in Afghanistan, he responded that he had heard the story, but didn't know who was offering the reward. When asked how that made him feel at the time, the 15-year old stated "I wanted to kill a lot of American[s] to get lots of money". Defense attorney Nathan Whitling later argued that it was "hardly convincing for the U.S. to suggest that in the midst of this battle, and after the entire site had been flattened by 500-pound bombs and everyone else in the compound killed, Omar was lying under the rubble thinking about how to earn himself $1,500." Later, an interrogator draws out of Mr. Khadar that Afghans and at least two Arabs were present that fateful day, and there was talk of attacking the Northern Alliance the U.S.-allied Afghan group that opposed Taliban rule in Afghanistan. The interrogator repeatedly pressured Omar to reveal the location of his mother and siblings, attempting to convince him that Canada is trying to protect the Khadr family, and repatriate them to Canada for "rehabilitation." Otherwise, the agent suggested, his family could face torture, especially his brother Abdullah. "I don't want the Pakistanis to get him, because I know how they can treat people," the interrogator said. "I sure don't want the Pakistanis to get him and sell him to the Egyptians, because I know what they'll do to him, and so do you." If the Pakistanis captured his mother, the interrogator warned Khadr, they would sell her to the highest bidder.
Khadr insisted to his questioners he didn't know how to find his family. He told his interrogators that his parents left Afghanistan for Pakistan, leaving him behind in a home occupied by Afghan fighters, as well as men from Tunisia and Sudan. His father told him he would be serving as the group's translator. Instead, he found himself taking apart landmines.
When American soldiers and their Afghan allies attacked the house, the firefight began.
"At the end of the day, did you guys make a decision that you were going to fight until the end?" the CSIS agent asked.
"They made the decision," Khadr retorted.
"What did they say, that there was nobody going to leave there, that you were all going to fight until you died? Did you want to do that, did you believe in that when it happened?" he's asked.
"No," replied Khadr, softly, shaking his head.
"What made you do that?" asked the interrogator.
"I didn't do anything," answered Khadr. "I was in the house when the fighting started. I didn't have a choice." Khadr insisted he didn't kill anyone, and grew angry when the agent told him to take responsibility for his mistake. "What was my mistake? Being in a house where my father put me?" When Khadr repeatedly complains about being tortured, and suggests his life is in danger, the interrogators brush off his concerns, insisting that he knows more than he's telling them. The agent accuses him of lying, of changing his stories.
"I'm not lying," said Khadr. "If you were tortured like I was tortured, you probably would say more than what I said. You are not in my position. That's why you are saying this... I told you the truth. You don't like the truth."
On October 7, FBI agent Robert Fuller showed Khadr a black-and-white photograph of Maher Arar, a Canadian who had been detained at a New York airport following a family vacation, and demanded to know if he recognized him. Khadr initially stated that he did not recognize Arar, but when further pressured by Fuller, confessed he had seen him at a Kabul safe-house run by Abu Musab al-Suri or Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leading to Arar's rendition to Syria the following day, where he was tortured extensively before being returned to Canada and suing the government. Arar was alleged to have been in the country when Khadr would have been 6-12 years old, and to have attended Khalden training camp which had no ties to al-Suri or al-Zarqawi.
Khadr spent three months recuperating at Bagram. During that time he was often singled out for extensive labor by American soldiers who "made him work like a horse", referring to him as "Buckshot" and calling him a murderer. They claimed that he had thrown a grenade at a passing convoy delivering medical supplies. He shared a cell with Moazzam Begg and ten others. He became conversational with guard Damien Corsetti, who was also one of his interrogators, and often spoke about basketball.
Michelle Sheppard has written a biography about Khadr, titled "Guantanamo's Child" (2008). Although I have not read the book, I can only imagine what it will state, especially considering the title, and the one-sided view that many websites are presenting.
Another note to mention is that Khadr's father, Ahmed Said Khadr, was killed in October, 2003 by Pakistani forces. Abdullah Khadr, one of Omar's older brothers is in jail in Toronto and is fighting a U.S. extradition request for terrorism-related crimes.
I found this on another website, and I couldn't think of how to word it any better than this fellow did:
Soldiers are members of armies who fight in battles and wars on behalf of governments or other entities having political status. If our country is at war with the army of which the soldier is a member, we have the option of making terms of peace or war with the political entity sponsoring said army. That is, we can declare war, propose a truce, offer our surrender, or declare victory following a decisive outcome in combat.
Al Qaeda is not a political entity with which it is possible to establish terms of either war or peace. We have no option as to engaging or not engaging, or even of surrendering to this "enemy." This enemy has engaged the nations of the west on its own terms, focusing upon our full civilian population as its target. Al Qaeda is an unusual enemy in another respect, as it also has no army. Its agents whether adults or children (and al Qaeda does not demonstrate concern as to whether its agents are adults or children) are not soldiers. All, whether adults or children, and whether we find it palatable or not, are trained in the tactics of terror and violence.
Al Qaeda is a tightly-knit but widely dispersed totalitarian political movement utilizing terrorism and suppression of opposition as its primary mode of operation. Its adherents are agents of oppression, advocates of uniformity and proponents of the elimination of competing belief systems on an international scale.
The terrorist participants in this illegal international organization train their children to be terrorists.
Al Qaeda's well-described training program is bone-chillingly militant and aggressive, devoid of human compassion, single-mindedly focused on the disruption of civilian life, all-encompassing in its ideological stance, puritanical in its preference for civilian attack versus the attainment of military objectives, and persistent in its impact on its participants. The fundamental lesson imparted by al Qaeda to its trainees is a simple two-element message: "Kill the infidels (meaning anyone, Muslim or otherwise, who does not adhere to their hate-fuelled belief system); and continue on to die a (so-called) martyr's death."
Despite a smokescreen of intense ideological rhetoric, this organization is best understood by examining its actions rather than by attempting to grasp its ideology. The members of this extra-legal group view the killing and injury of civilians as their overarching mission. Al Qaeda dispatches no emissaries and maintains no embassies. It holds no plan of government or policy of international relations. The organization exists entirely outside the framework which makes it possible for international law to take on the meanings which (within our only partially law-governed international culture) we desire to ascribe to it.
The resources of al Qaeda are devoted entirely to the acquisition of explosives and weaponry and to the conversion and training of agents of destruction based on rhetoric of hate. Terror is not a means to an end for this organization, but an end in itself. The more innocent civilians (or soldiers) who are killed and injured, and the greater the suffering and loss of their victims, the more glorious al Qaeda's victory. Adherents of al Qaeda also view it as a supreme honor to be killed in carrying out their mission of death and destruction - and I suspect that this is so because these individuals hold out no more positive goals for their own lives than for those whom they intend to deprive of life, liberty, health and safety.
It is an unseemly fact that al Qaeda is recruiting adults and children alike with the single plan of injuring and killing their self-defined enemies at home and abroad. This organization has no other program. What we do or do not do will not alter their plan, as it is ideologically driven, and therefore fundamentally independent of the flow of world events.
Above is a photo of Khadr displaying a gathering of hands, presumably collected from kills. I think Laurence put it quite bluntly of exactly what type of entity groups like al Qaeda and the Taliban are. They make little to no distinction between man, woman, or child and certainly no distinction between emergency responders, teachers, or elected representatives. It is up to us how we chose to respond to them. As harsh as it may seem too many non-military civilians, they only know violence. Negotiation is not an option. I wonder how many innocent lives have to be lost before it will sink it. And while you may criticize the U.S. Military personnel for their actions, they do what must be done, something that you cannot bring yourselves to do. When looking at the case of Omar Ahmed Khadr, it doesn't really matter if he threw that grenade or not. The point of it all is that he was fighting willingly and enthusiastically beside the other members who participated in the firefight that day that took the life of Christopher James Speer. And because al Qaeda is not considered an Army, he should not be considered a child soldier, and therefore, is not protected by the international legal standards pertaining to the treatment of child soldiers. It leaves me to wonder why we should even be considering looking at him as anything other than a terrorist.
Above is a photo of when Khadr was brought to Guantanamo Bay. Typical manner of which prisoners are transported. Remember when you look at this photo that these are considered dangerous men, and from what I can see, there are roughly 5 rows of men. Also remember that U.S. Federal prisoners are also shackled and sometimes hooded for transport, including air. Nor do I think it to be possible to rehabilitate Khadr to a peaceful and productive way of life. I think it to be an unwise allocation of monies in times of U.S. economical stress. I suppose we can consider him brainwashed, having been groomed by his family to do what he was eventually caught doing, fully active in the jihadist movement. Laurence made a good point in saying that he was not "stolen and forced into battle". Animal control considers such breeds as pit bulls to be unable to reform and be released back to the general public. Would we consider turning such a monster as Omar Ahmed Khadr back onto the world for him to return to the ranks of al Qaeda?
Laurence also brought up a very good point. While we are focusing on the international rights of this terrorist, are we forgetting the victims of his participation, whether directly or indirectly. Frequently, Khadr is portrayed as the victim, but folks, he is the initiator of his predicament. Sfc. Speer's final chapter has been written. He would have been 36 this year. He left a wife (Tabitha) and two children (Taryn-daughter, now 9, and Tanner-boy, now 7). He enlisted in the Army in 1992. He had received paramedic training at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Under international humanitarian law (the law of war), medics are a specifically protected class of noncombatants, the killing of which is considered a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions. According to Article 24 and Article 40, in order to qualify as noncombatant medical personnel, the individual must display certain insignia. Speers was not acting as a medic at the moment, but still, a grave loss to the team, and everyone that he had touched. Tabitha, in conjunction with Sgt. Layne Morris, won a lawsuit of $102 million against the estate of Ahmed Said Khadr, Omar's father. The assets of the estate have been frozen by the United States, Canada, and the U.N.
After a series of difficulties obtaining one-way "emergency travel documents", Elsamnah flew back to Canada with Abdulkareem on April 9 2004, greeted by a throng of reporters and government agents at Pearson Airport. Elsamnah and her daughter Zaynab are both on passport "control" lists, meaning they will no longer be issued Canadian passports due to the frequency with which they reported losing their passports since 1999.
In 2004, Elsamnah appeared in a documentary entitled Son of al Qaeda; "I like my son to be brave...I would like my son to be trained to protect himself, to protect his home, to protect his neighbor, to see a young girl innocent, being raped or attacked, to really fight to defend it. I would really love to do that, and I would love my son to grow with this mentality...[a]nd you would you like me to raise my child in Canada and by the time he's 12 or 13 he'll be on drugs or having some homosexual relation or this and that? Is it better? For me, no. I would rather have my son as a strong man who knows right and wrong and stands for it, even if it's against his parents."
Most news stories arising from the documentary stated only that Elsamnah believed that raising her children in Canada would cause them to be homosexual drug addicts, solidifying Canadian public sentiment against the family, but also in this interview, she stated that she was proud to have her son train in bin Laden's camp.
In an interview with the CBC in March, Omar's sister Zaynab said she can't understand why her brother should be vilified for his part in the battle.
"He'd been bombarded for hours. Three of his friends who were with him had been killed. He was the only sole survivor," said Zaynab Khadr.
"What do you expect him to do, come up with his hands in the air? I mean, it's a war. They're shooting at him. Why can't he shoot at you? If you killed three, why can't he kill one? Why is it ... why does nobody say you killed three of his friends? Why does everybody say you killed an American soldier? Big deal."
Zaynab Khadr's arranged wedding at an al Qaeda compound was attended by Osama bin Laden. Her husband is an Egyptian terrorist name Khalid Abdullah - a follower of Ayman al-Zawahiri who is now in hiding from authorities following his reported participation in the bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan in 1995.
My thoughts... When it comes to people who choose to fight a war without rules, that are continually non-selective about their targets (meaning they do not avoid hospitals, civilians, schools, children, etc) but rather select their targets for how much damage it will cause and how much terror it will envoke... for those who choose to hide behind children, mosques, civilians while the exact their terror... those who use and abuse countries for their benefit, and to hide from responsibility for the actions they chose to take... for those who think they are above and beyond the laws of man... for those who live, breathe and ultimately die for a life of destruction ... for those that are part of groups like al Qaeda and Taliban, what do you do with them? What rights do they have? Our federal prisoner have limited rights. Some prisoners face being moved regularly, denial of some medical, and wrongful imprisonment, and yet I rarely hear anything about it. Such prisoners like Leonard Peltier have been sitting for decades in a pri in cell waiting for justice. Instead of worrying about people like that, you want to scream that people who have chosen to live a life of terror, or an affiliation of terror, a crime against humanity, wouldn't you think that their rights would be cut short? Afterall, when the violence of one violates the rights of another, those rights are forfeited. The CCR applies the rights of US citizens to them, but how can you, since they aren't Americans, and the home countries of most don't want them back? So what do you do? Do you set them free? Would you want them living next to you? Would you sleep comfortably every night knowing their affiliations? Knowing that you have unleashed them unto the world? Unto the children? Unto the women? Unto the innocent and helpless? So what do you do with people like Omar Khadr, someone who has groomed his entire life for a life of terror, and thoroughly enjoys it... ? Would you risk the lives and welfare of your loved ones to risk a rehabilitation program? The money it takes to ehabilitate one of those types of people can be used for the productive lives of U.S. Citizens (because afterall, we end paying for these kinds of things). Then there is the issue of whether or not they CAN be rehabilitated. Can they be reprogrammed? Let's take Khadr as an example, since he is one of the more "known" residents. He was fifteen when he was caught participating in a 4-hour gunfight that ultimately cost the life of Sfc. Charles James Speer. He was groomed by his terrorist father Ahmed Said Khadr. His mother, Maha Elsamnah, willingly participated in his training, and she was so very proud that Omar was "trained in the camp of bin Laden". And while she hides in and lives off the Canadian system, claiming to be distitute, she screams how she would never raise a boy in Canada because he would end up gay and on drugs. His sister, Zaynab Khadr, is proudly married to known Egyptian terrorist Khalid Abdullah. His brother Abdullah Khadr is sitting in jail in Toronto for weapons trafficking for al Qaeda. The other brother, Abdurahman Khadr, is the "problem child" has a wide reputation with the family of bin Laden and al Qaeda. He is known for weapons and munition dealings, forged passports dealing, housing known al Qaeda in Canada, etc. So we can see that Omar Khadr's home environment is not desirable. Canada doesn't want him. Where do you think he would go if he were releaased? Right back to al Qaeda. Some people you cannot help, you cannot rehabilitate. Perhaps we should have obliged the wishes of Omar Khadr back in July 2002, and put a bullet in his head, per his request. Might have saved us all some trouble.
While my opinion at the end may be harsh, it is based on my interaction with the Middle East during times of war (ODS), my experience in the U.S. Army, the experiences of my military friends, and with refugees both from Iraq and Afghanistan.