Omar Khadr has had a spotty relationship with the media spotlight since he was captured while fighting in Afghanistan. He made a brief return to the spotlight this month for his release on bail. The city destined to host him? Edmonton, Alberta. His story is infamous but would otherwise be unheard if it weren’t for a small technicality; one that took him from fighting against Canada and her allies in Afghanistan to freedom in a first-world Western city.
For those of us who need to jog the memory, Omar was an unlawful combatant aiding and abetting al-Qaeda operatives during their insurgency in Afghanistan. His father, who had ties to al-Qaeda, spent many years dragging the family across the Middle East. Omar’s father was eventually killed in a firefight between Pakistani security forces and members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, which took place near the Afghanistan border in 2003.
During a patrol on July 27, 2002 in the village of Ayub Kheyl, Afghanistan, American forces came into contact with an al-Qaeda cell operating in a small compound. A firefight erupted, wherein Sgt. Christopher Speer (an SF medic) was killed and Sgt. Layne Morris was wounded. All other enemy combatants were killed, save Omar who was wounded and taken into custody. In the aftermath, he was convicted of murdering Sgt. Speer and of several other war crimes. Following his capture, he spent most of his time in Guantanamo Bay before being repatriated in 2012 and eventually released.
In an interview with CBC commentator George Stroumboulopoulos, Sgt. Morris described the events of that day in great detail and effectively debunked any narrative about Omar being a ‘child soldier’ or the likes of some poor innocent lamb caught up in a fight with foreign invaders (both grotesquely false assertions often toted by his apologist fan club).
A patrol of U.S. Special Forces was sent to investigate the suspicious compound in which Omar was captured. Interpreters were sent into the compound to establish communications with the inhabitants and were immediately gunned down at point blank. The soldiers surrounded the compound and exchanged fire with the insurgents over the course of about 45 minutes.
After winning the firefight, soldiers began to search the compound for evidence and wounded. Omar, the only person left alive, was hiding and waiting for a chance to kill. The fight was over, all of his comrades were dead, and he chose to start that fight again by firing his weapon at the soldiers and throwing the grenade that killed Speer and wounded Morris.
So how is it that someone with such a horrendous track record of treachery is already free to enjoy all the rights and privileges afforded by a beautiful first-world nation like Canada? The evidence against him is compelling. The video footage of him making and placing IEDs is easily accessed by anyone with an Internet connection. It’s also clear that none of his heinous acts were done under duress. He can be seen smiling and joking as if it’s all just a game to him. He fought with U.S. forces, was captured, put on trial, and charged. And now he is safe and warm in Canada because he is technically a Canadian citizen.
Omar was born in Toronto on September of 1986 to immigrant parents who recently obtained their Canadian citizenship. However, any reasonable and honest Canadian will understand what a fantastic distortion of the definition it is to call him a Canadian citizen and what an utter insult it is to true Canadians to then imbue him with all the rights and privileges that go with having that citizenship.
This distortion is true of any definition. If the criteria are stretched thinly enough, anyone/anything can qualify. And thus the rusted-out, early ’90s Honda Civic DX running on spray-painted steel wheels with a cheap aftermarket exhaust is entitled to admiration, recognition, and respect from the FIA and sports car community.
Because of this technicality, the Canadian government was obligated to repatriate him. With good reason, the government of Canada fought to keep him off Canadian soil just as much as the FIA would fight to keep the aforementioned Honda off the track. In both cases, acceptance sets a dangerous precedent and implants the means for greater harm. I know the metaphor may not be the most applicable and that metaphor is not a strong means of arguing. However, the principle of the matter is the same and stands true. There is a place in this world for the likes of the Khadr family, and it’s not among Canadians.
Had the Canadian government the means to revoke his citizenship, the result would certainly have been much more favorable for the rest of Canada. This result demonstrates that Canada must update its legal framework in order to protect her people from future Omars. Canada is too good a country to allow her people and culture to be poisoned by toxic immigrants. No nation should have to tolerate the insult of being forced to accept foreign criminals into their land. It is not a virtue to squander the offerings of such a great nation on housing foreigners who only offer contempt and refuse to be a part of their host nation.
In the case of the Khadr family, only suffering and death has come. It is clear to anyone who cares to look at the evidence that the Khadrs have nothing but contempt for Canada and our way of life. It does Canada no good to house such people. That being said, Canada’s upcoming anti-terrorism bill promises to bring with it the means to punt such undesirables. Let us hope that the final product is an effective tool that will do its job without encroaching on the lives of good citizens.
(Featured image, a photo of Omar Khadr, courtesy of cbc.ca)