With reference to Bob Russell’s letter of March 13 concerning Omar Khadr, I did not say that I condoned the apparent “torture administered to this young Canadian.”
I said, “as for the torturing of enemy soldiers, we are fighting guerrilla warfare, no holds barred by the enemy, but we refuse to do the same.” I fully support the harshest interrogation of terrorists, including water boarding and sleep deprivation if necessary in order to extract vital information that could save the life of just one Canadian soldier.
As to the fire fight in question, while his father did approve of Omar attending camps where he received one-on-one weapons training, reports indicate that Ahmed Khadr was upset when he was told that Khadr “had accompanied three of the men he was staying with, as they went to the village to meet with several other militants.” Khadr made the decision, perhaps in defiance to demonstrate that he was not under the direct influence of his father.
Further, the onus should not be on the prosecution to determine which act of war each enemy soldier committed, rather that acts of war were committed by the group confronted. There is no disagreement that Khadr was one of the enemy soldiers inside the mud hut from where the gunfire and grenades came from and he was the only enemy soldier captured alive.
Russell wants to limit interrogation to please and pretty please on the hopes that the strong-willed terrorists will provide the information sought. Perhaps he should attend the next military funeral and tell the family that their loved one may have survived if water boarding and sleep deprivation were permitted when interrogating terrorists that plant roadside bombs or send children out as suicide bombers.
It is easy to criticize the actions of others especially when you are not personally involved and the situation is happening 5,000 miles away. Go put your life on the line and deal with terrorists.
Lastly, Section 46 of the Criminal Code of Canada states “everyone commits high treason who, in Canada assists an enemy at war with Canada, or any armed forces against whom Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between Canada and the country whose forces they are. It is also illegal for a Canadian citizen to do any of the above outside of Canada.” Therefore based on this, Khadr committed an act of high treason.
He gave up his rights as a Canadian citizen, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, when he joined enemy forces, and should be held accountable and responsible for his actions.
As a final note, Canadian lawyers for Khadr have redrafted the lawsuit against the federal government for wrongful detention and breach of his charter rights. They are now suing for $10 million instead of the $500,000 originally sought.
Norm Harley, St. Albert