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Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Who's the criminal here?

Today's headline, which will undoubtedly get at least some attention, says "Canadian says U.S. interrogators threatened rape," and the "Canadian" in question was a teenage prisoner at Guantanamo. Shocking? I guess it depends on how easily you're shocked. Certainly not surprising, given everything else we know about what has happened at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Bagram, and elsewhere at the hands of Americans.

But what catches my eye is the underlying "crime" for which this young man was imprisoned and apparently now, years later, even charged:

Omar Khadr, 21, ...is charged in the Guantanamo war court with murdering a U.S. soldier with a grenade during a firefight in Afghanistan when Khadr was 15.
OK, let's back up for a minute. Omar Khadr was in Afghanistan legally. U.S. Army Sgt. Christopher Speer, who Khadr allegedly killed, was in Afghanistan illegally, part of an illegal invasion of that country. But instead of Speer's cohorts, and their masters, being charged with a war crime, it's Khadr, who was doing nothing more than defending a country (whether his native country or not) against an illegal foreign invasion, and killing someone who would have killed him first had events run a different course.

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