Growing Up In Guantánamo.
January 15, 2009 12:14 AM   Subscribe

I think the ad for the ACLU effectively sunk yr post. That and the other thing.
posted by dawson at 12:34 AM on January 15, 2009

I'm largely on your side, but this is a crappy FPP.

Just saying. Leave your axe at home next time.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:37 AM on January 15, 2009

He, uh, is closing Gitmo as a detention center, right? I didn't dream that or anything.
That would pretty much end military commissions happening there, yeah?

"This video shows why President Obama must take swift action to end the unconstitutional military commissions, and why he must bring the United States back in line with the rule of law and treaties it has signed regarding the treatment of juveniles who have been recruited or used in armed conflict. And why Obama, using his mighty powers, must instantly change the course of rivers so they do not flood people's homes in the spring thaw, why he must alter the course of hurricanes - not only today or in the future, but previous hurricanes so that tragic events such as the U.S. government's response during Katrina in New Orleans can be avoided. This video goes on to show that President Obama must singlehandedly change the chemical compounds in the atmosphere to prevent global warming, and why he must end war not only in the U.S., but worldwide so that there is eternal peace and love and brotherhood on Earth forever. He must make teeth whiter and eliminate plaque. He must (etc.)"
posted by Smedleyman at 12:47 AM on January 15, 2009 [5 favorites]

I liked what General Romeo Dallaire had to say on the matter.

It's too bad he's has about as much influence as a Ron Paul.
posted by Pseudology at 1:15 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

The saddest thing is it can never really be made right. I feel so sorry for those two boys and how they have had to grow up.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:20 AM on January 15, 2009

I thought we were supposed to rescue child soldiers, not charge them for what someone else made them do.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:32 AM on January 15, 2009 [8 favorites]

It's too bad he's has about as much influence as a Ron Paul.

Damn? mine grammar am foul.
posted by Pseudology at 1:33 AM on January 15, 2009

Gitmo is not the biggest turd left by Bush and cronies but certainly amongst the highest profile. How does one deal with trials of "bad people" when the evidence is tainted? There's no good answer here. Thanks, W. Even in cleaning up your pile of steaming prizes we'll end up horribly soiled as a nation.
posted by shagoth at 3:49 AM on January 15, 2009

He, uh, is closing Gitmo as a detention center, right? I didn't dream that or anything. That would pretty much end military commissions happening there, yeah?

Well, obviously. But it wouldn't end military commissions from happening elsewhere. The new GTMO will be in Poland or somewhere.
posted by billysumday at 5:06 AM on January 15, 2009

The Khadr family doesn't have much love here in Canada, which is probably (one) reason Harper hasn't tried to help the boy. Putting someone you picked up when he was 14 on trial is kind of embarrassing. But then, the US also likes to execute retarded kids, so maybe the country won't care so much.
posted by chunking express at 5:08 AM on January 15, 2009

Considering some of the axe grinding that appears on Metafilter, I think that the axe here is pretty light ACLU ad or no.
posted by josher71 at 5:35 AM on January 15, 2009

| Join ACLU

Don't do this. No matter how great the group is. Don't shill in a FPP.
posted by dios at 6:21 AM on January 15, 2009

"Bring Omar Home" - great idea. Ask any Canadian what they think of that plan. I don't want that little bastard killing any of my loved ones. Don't kid yourself - he's a fanatic and a murderer, and he should be locked up forever.
posted by alexwoods at 6:45 AM on January 15, 2009

Don't kid yourself - he's a fanatic and a murderer, and he should be locked up forever.

Any grounds for saying this? Despite the fact that he's never stood trial (and thus "he's a murderer" is a tad inappropriate) and was a child when the alleged crime took place, much of the reported evidence suggests that no one witnessed him actually throw the grenade in question.
posted by Adam_S at 7:02 AM on January 15, 2009

"Bring Omar Home" - great idea. Ask any Canadian what they think of that plan. I don't want that little bastard killing any of my loved ones. Don't kid yourself - he's a fanatic and a murderer, and he should be locked up forever.

Why not cut his balls and feed them to him while we're at it. That'll prove what a great frigging country Canada is.

The thing is that YOU don't know squat about Khadr, or neither do I, because he's been presumed guilty from thet start and there's hasn't been any trial to figure if and what he might be guilty of. And by trial, I'm talking about a military commission behind closed doors.
posted by bluefrog at 7:05 AM on January 15, 2009

Of course, there should a "not" somewhere in the last sentence.
posted by bluefrog at 7:07 AM on January 15, 2009

alexwoods can fuck himself, though sadly, there are lots of Candians who share his sentiment. The Khadr's haven't really done much to make friends here in Canada. The family is pretty reviled, which makes taking up this cause kind of a non-starter for most politicians. The kid was probably fucked up from the start, being born in to the family he was. All the years in the US gulag probably haven't helped matters.
posted by chunking express at 7:29 AM on January 15, 2009

Some of the comments below the Dallaire piece are really horrifying. Wow. (Huge Dallaire fan here.)
posted by naoko at 7:34 AM on January 15, 2009

It's a tough situation. What Khadr allegedly did, he did as a child, and so has limited responsibility. Knowing what I do about his whole family, however, makes me loath to support just letting him go.
I hope he gets as fair a trial as is possible.
posted by rocket88 at 8:02 AM on January 15, 2009

I don't care what any Canadians think about Mr and Mrs Khadr - the fact is that Omar Khadr was a juvenile who was put into that place by his parents. If he had been put into a similar situation in Canada, he wouldn't be in prison right now, he would have been with Children's Aid. He was picked up at age 15, but he had been taken to training camps when he was only 12 or so. That was the war crime, according to international human rights law (link), and it was committed against him, not by him. If you want to arrest someone, arrest his parents. But justifying his detention for the crimes of his father is ludicrous - it isn't medieval, because the medievals had a much better sense of human rights than this.

Why can't Canada and the US recognise this? How blind and stupid are we? Under UN resolutions on human rights, even children who have committed war crimes (and since when is attacking a uniformed soldier a war crime?) "should be considered primarily as victims of offences against international law; not only as perpetrators" (from same page).

Elsewhere in the world, countries and societies are struggling to rehabitate and reintegrate child soldiers, to help them heal. But we instead torture them, twisting both their physical and especially their mental development. We talk about how we can't release them because "they might be dangerous" - but if they are dangerous, we are just as much to blame as the people who recruited them in the first place. What we have done (or, in the case of Canadians, allowed to happen) to everyone in American detention is horrific - that we allowed it to happen to juveniles while justifying it should be prosecuted as a war crime.

I should end my comment there - it has a nice conclusionary ring. But I can't - because I am just so livid at this whole thing. I am so angry and so frustrated and so disgusted at my own goverment and at my own helplessness . Obama may close the camp, but we don't know if detentions will just move elsewhere, and it still cannot make up for the years of abuse and torture inflicted on juveniles and on innocent men of all ages.
posted by jb at 8:10 AM on January 15, 2009 [14 favorites]

Roméo Dallaire points out (from link above) that Khadr's prosecution could endanger efforts to stop the recruitment of children into war - "The UN Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, says Khadr’s prosecution sets a hazardous precedent in international law, which will endanger child soldiers in conflict zones. The impunity enjoyed by the real criminals — those who have recruited child soldiers — continues to the detriment of real victims: the thousands of child soldiers around the world."
posted by jb at 8:15 AM on January 15, 2009 [4 favorites]

"Bring Omar Home" - great idea. Ask any Canadian what they think of that plan.

I agree with alexwoods, Khadr should be repatriated to Canada.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:41 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

I am always surprised by the number of MeFites who like torture and don't like due process of law. Well, live and learn.

It's a great post, ageispolis.
posted by shetterly at 9:51 AM on January 15, 2009

One thing I don't understand about this whole thing is, being a child aside, Khadr was involved in a war and he killed some of the enemy. At the time, several armies were rampaging through Afghanistan. Khadr killed some people in a war situation (or didn't, but the point still stands).

And yeah, the Khadr family is a bucket of cocks, but the civil rights of a child and the principles jb espouses should be paramount. I am sick of Harper in so many ways, but this is one of the big ones. Imagine, those of you who are loving seeing Khadr in Guantanamo, if Harper was PM in 2002 -- Canada would be up to its neck in Iraq, and Canadian troops would have killed thousands of Innocent people there, just as they have in Afghanistan, on a smaller scale.
posted by Rumple at 12:13 PM on January 15, 2009

Don't kid yourself - he's a fanatic and a murderer, and he should be locked up forever.

So are a lot of people in the army.
Locked up forever? Did you type that with a straight face?
posted by dunkadunc at 12:18 PM on January 15, 2009

"But it wouldn't end military commissions from happening elsewhere."

Well, he's not superman, but he is the chief executive. If he puts the kibosh on it, it ain't gonna happen. Far as I knew the Supreme Court upheld habeus corpus and struck down part of the military commissions act which gives him some ammo at least.
He (and his incoming Sec. of State) have spoken out against Gitmo and military tribunals during the campaign (in fact he said specifically "These trials are too important to be held in a flawed military commission system that has failed to convict anyone of a terrorist act since the 9/11 attacks and that has been embroiled in legal challenges" and a military court-martial system, while not ideal in my mind, is at least a pre-existing legal mechanism and certainly protects defendants rights better than this ineffectual - either way - ad hoc law Bushco cobbled together), so the Dems seem pretty on board, which gives him backing.

We know he's got the juice, 'cos he's the president.
I mean, what's happened is not only morally wrong but a violation of the rule of law. It does affect us all and should be addressed.
But it has been.
Just a matter of how, and (again, as far as I know) Obama is inclusive and inviting ways to resolve this.

I do see the problem that these people are dangerous. Hell, I'd say a child raised in such an environment is likely going to be a major threat to society. So I recognize the apprehension some folks have in trying them legitimately and giving them due process - given that they may (hell, probably) turn out not only to be innocent, but any evidence presented could be, quite legitimately, thrown out since it has been so tainted by what has been done to them.

Of course, that I see, understand, and empathize with that facet of the problem (hey, I'm a U.S. citizen too - I could be a target), doesn't mean I think we should act from that fear.

You can't just keep someone in a hole because they're soooo scary. If these people are truly dangerous, or we've made them dangerous, it's our fault and we should accept the consequences and let them go.
Ideally, seek to remedy the situation by making amends. Typically this is done with money, which is nice, but inferior.
I'd like to see this hashed out with the resulting prescedents and legal apparatus in place that this can never happen again.
That might - might - stay my hand from looking for blood if I were one of these guys.
At least it would be a worthy apology and an extension of a hand to maybe help them build themselves a better life than becoming bitter or a terrorist, etc.
Can't think of a better watchdog on torture than someone who's been tortured.

And it's better than letting them spiral downward until they blow something up, maybe harm some innocent people. And then what? We don't kill them? We don't try to protect other innocent people? I mean, it's not like the folks in Gitmo wouldn't be right to have a chip on their shoulders. But that doesn't give them free license to kill in revenge.
Same deal - understandable, but I disagree.
It would only compound what is already a big fiasco and a horrible tragedy. And yeah, it'd still be our fault. Because I agree with the sentiment there - although this is getting done - it isn't 'over'.
Not in the slightest.
Which is why we have to follow this course.
Obama at least is smart enough to see that (again, as far as I know).
posted by Smedleyman at 12:36 PM on January 15, 2009

(We did the same damned thing in Afghanistan before, had those people fight the Soviets for us by proxy, then beached them thinking it was all over. Nothing is ever over. There's just iterations.)
posted by Smedleyman at 12:39 PM on January 15, 2009

There's been a MetaTalk post about this thread.
posted by Kattullus at 1:17 PM on January 15, 2009

I'm a Canadian, and I favour him being repatriated and tried as a young offender in a Canadian criminal court. I don't like the Yanks torturing the poor kid, and I trust our judicial system more than I do America's, since we haven't gone completely nuts about terrorists.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 1:42 PM on January 15, 2009

[Nixed those last two links; see Metatalk referenced above for details.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:55 PM on January 15, 2009

The US vs Omar Khadr 1 2 3 4 5

And today from the Globe: Khadr likely to leave Gitmo soon after Obama inauguration
posted by ageispolis at 1:59 PM on January 15, 2009

Ask any Canadian what they think of that plan.

I'm assuming you didn't even bother to read Gen Dallaire's statement. Don't worry, no one ever does.

Let me put it to you another way. Dallaire went to the US congress (or was it the senate? I get confused sometimes) and asked for Omar Kahdr back on behalf of the Canadian government because our Prime Minister has his head too far up Bush's asshole to read the fine print on the agreement Canada signed regarding child soldiers. As usual, he was ignored.

I agree with him. Many people I talk to do as well. (although I cannot divine whether it's a majority because I only work in a ski shop). Almost everyone I talk to, however, believe his parents should be arrested.
posted by Pseudology at 3:09 PM on January 15, 2009

Ask any Canadian what they think of that plan.

Speaking as a Canadian, I think you inacurate in your assumptions of my views. If he is a little psycho, we have psychiatrists. If he's a criminal, we have first world quality ways of dealing with that sort of thing (habeas corpus, and so on). If he's a helpless victim, we have health services and medication, and social workers and remedial education classes to help him function at his best after what he went through.

Beyond that, there are a lot of bad Canadians here, and they're still citizens. Being proud of your country is not just something you get from trumpeting achievements of your best, but in how you deal with your most wretched, disadvantaged and/or unfortunate. As a Canadian, being able to appreciate and respect my country means knowing that I can trust her at my worst and most helpless. This situation is a failure to function as it's supposed to and is deeply troubling.
posted by Phalene at 10:28 AM on January 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

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