Friday, April 24, 2015

Omar Khadr, war hero

Omar Khadr, a Canadian man who was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002 and held in Guantanamo Bay for 8 years without trial has been granted bail pending his American appeal. His present imprisonment is a travesty and his release will be a welcome scrubbing of a terrible stain on the collective Canadian conscience. The American government had no just cause to go war with Afghanistan. The events of September 11th, tragic and criminal though they certainly were, do not justify the invasion of Afghanistan. A's aggression against B does not give B the right to aggress against C.  What about the rights of the 20,000 some Afghani civilians who died during the American occupation of Afghanistan? And if you endorse the notion that A's aggression against B rationalizes B's aggression against C, that the actions of 9/11 justified aggression against Afghanistan, then surely if you look back in history just a little further than the American bombing of Iraq (prior to 9/11) or treatment of Palestinians by proxy justifies 9/11. But the attack on the World Trace Center was not justified precisely because murder creates a specific right of redress against the particular murderer and not a broader right of vengeance against a people or society.

So given that the American government had no right to invade and occupy Afghanistan then it is difficult to find fault with an individual who risked their life in order to fight off a foreign conqueror or more personally to avenge the death of his family who had just been immediately slaughtered in front of him. Far from being labelled a war criminal one must wonder if the appropriate label for Khadr is that of war hero.

At any rate we can celebrate the fact that Khadr, at long last, will soon be walking free, after 13 years of torture and incarceration.

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