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Who’s to blame for the Khadr payout?

September 2019

An article published by I-Politics in July 2017, asks the question: “Who’s to blame for the Khadr payout?”

They then proceed to answer their own question,”Stephen Harper, mostly.”

OK, some problems with the assessment in this article. You can read the article below, but here’s some reality to add to the story:

There was no guarantee that Khadr would have won any lawsuit, nor that it would have cost the $40 million that Trudeau claimed it would cost to fight Khadr in court. There was no guarantee that Khadr would get anything, be it $20 million, $30 million or $100 million. The Supreme Court of Canada decision made no mention of any money having to be paid to Khadr.

Even if it was inevitable that Canada would eventually have to pay Khadr, why was the money that Trudeau paid to him done quickly and paid in just two weeks after a secret deal was negotiated? According to a government leak, it was done with the intention of sheltering the money from a $134 million civil court judgement, launched by Tabitha Speer, widow of Sergeant Speer, something the government admits to doing. Why not be completely open and transparent about the payment and why shelter it from U.S. lawsuits?

Defenders (apologists) of Khadr crow on that he only confessed after being tortured at the Guantanamo prison. Kadhr is reported to have said to his Guantanamo guards that the day he killed American army medic Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer was the best day of his life.

Khadr was also filmed building IEDs, bombs that may have been used to kill/injure Canadian and other coalition soldiers in Afghanistan.

It’s also a valid point to say that Canadians can agree that his Charter rights were violated, but reject the idea that he receives $10.5 million. Maybe his “compensation” is not only that he gets to come back to Canada, but that he’s still alive. After being shot by American soldiers, and after killing Sergeant Speer and wounding Sergeant First Class Layne Morris, those same soldiers administered medical aid to Kadhr, saving his life.

Kadhr was NOT by definition a “child solder” under Muslim law. Secular Muslim and Toronto Sun columnist Farzana Hassan notes in her column, “Under Islamic beliefs, Omar Khadr was no child” (7 July 2017), that among other things, “Accepted Islamic belief confirms the age of maturity at puberty.”

If Omar Khadr was truly a naive “kid” who was led astray by his terrorist father, then why has he never publicly denounced his family, especially his father, for leading him down an extremist path?

It’s been debated over and over as to whether Omar was willingly participating in actions as an enemy combatant or if he even understood the gravity of the actions he was taking given his young age, but given what journalist and secular Muslim Tarek Fatah points out in “Canada rewards terrorists, Israel punishes them” (Toronto Sun, 4 July 2017), it’s likely that he knew perfectly well what he was doing and was a willing participant.

Commentator and author Rex Murphy commented in his column “Justin Trudeau skips the theme socks for his scheming Omar Khadr apology” (National Post, 7 July 2017): “A government famously so sluggish in so many areas — veterans’ treatment comes first to mind — went full Road Runner getting the cash to Khadr.”

Khadr’s father, Ahmed Said Khadr, a key lieutenant of Osama bin Laden, was in a Pakistani prison in 1998 in connection with the bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad. Then Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien intervened on his behalf and Khadr released from prison shortly afterwards. If criticisms of Prime Minister Stephen Harper are valid, then one must conclude that Liberal Prime Ministers Jean Chrétien & Paul Martin dropped the ball too by not repatriating Khadr prior to losing power in 2006. Perhaps the name Khadr was too toxic for them too because Chrétien’s 1998 intervention essentially blew up in his face (pun intended)?

While it is debatable whether Harper is to blame for having to pay compensation to Khadr, at least the column acknowledged in the title that Harper wasn’t the only one to blame.

Let’s also stop pretending he’s an innocent victim here.

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The original article that inspired this column:

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/whos-to-blame-for-the-khadr-payout/

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