Not picking on our Southern big brother but sometimes you gotta follow the rules.

Eronne - posted on 11/02/2010 ( 55 moms have responded )

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The First Optional Protocol of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which recognizes that child soldiers are often conscripted against their will into armed conflict and must be rehabilitated and not prosecuted has been signed by the US but I guess they didn't really mean it. Omar Khadra is the first child soldier prosecuted since the 2nd World War. The kangaroo trial that sentenced him totally dismissed the control his parents had over him when he was sent to Afghanistan. If we are to charge soldiers with murder we don't have enough jails. Anyone old enough to remember Vietnam knows that countless civilians were murdered. Has Omar been singled out because he's a Muslim? Where is the backlash against his appalling treatment....nine years in Guantanamo without due process. This is a bad one and a blight on the two freest countries in the world. The US should be ashamed of their behavior and Canada of it's silence.

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Johnny - posted on 11/02/2010

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The title of this thread is rather unfortunate, given that the Canadian government is equally as culpable as the American government in this travesty.

There are many countries in the world actively working and succeeding at rehabilitating their child soldiers. Such as Uganda and Sierra Leone: http://childsoldierrelief.org/rehabilita... They are giving their children more of a chance at a future than the Canadian government has given one of ours. Anyone who suggests writing off children and not even making an attempt to help them start a new page should be ashamed IMO.

Here is some more information about child soldiers, for anyone who is interested in reading before assuming:

http://childsoldiersinitiative.org/a_wor...

http://www.child-soldiers.org/home

http://www.amnestyusa.org/children/child...

There is political action we can all take in each of our countries to pull support from those who utilize these disgusting tactics.

As for what could have been done for Omar Khadr. Well the first step would have happened back when he was originally detained. The Canadian government should have requested his rendition to our country, just as all the other major partners in the Afghanistan war did with their unlawful combatants citizens (and were eventually granted - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magaz... ). At that point, the Canadian government should have either charged and prosecuted him under our young offender's act or released him. Mr. Khadr has denounced his family's views and is estranged from them as is a couple of his siblings who still live in Canada.

Under international law, the American government has NO right to keep him and the Canadian government is totally responsible for him. End of story. They have broken and stomped all over the Geneva Convention yet again.

Jodi - posted on 11/02/2010

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Tah..the whole point behind being labled a child soldier is that they are NOT supposed to be held accountable. I didn't make the definition, I just sited it but I agree that when you look at the term child soldier as it should be looked...as someone who is a victim...then yes, girls forced into sex and/or marriage SHOULD be considered child soldiers so that they can receive the same help their male counterparts are receiving...but only receiving from their native countries sadly.



*edit to add No child soldier should be seen as an "offender", they are all victims IMO, both the boy soldiers and the girl soldiers. The only ones held accountable, the only offenders are the adults recruiting, kidnapping, brainwashing and forcing these innocent lives (some as young as 5) into the life of someone else's war...

Jodi - posted on 11/02/2010

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These are the most comprehensive articles with information I could find on the case. Being military much of it is being kept hush hush I imagine. I also read in other articles that he has fired over a dozen lawyers, that he tortured on Afghanistan based interrogation centers, that he was never tortured, that he was made no promises in order to plead guilty, that he originaly made no plea etc etc etc.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/10/31/19...


http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/10/25/10...
"The United Nation’s Security Council recognizes the importance of DDR programs for child soldiers and war-affected children,6 but even with the help of international aid the responsibility and actual implementation of DDR programs ultimately lies with the government of the afflicted country."
"Unfortunately, ensuring the successful reintegration of former child combatants is rife with complexities. Children who have known only violence are likely to resort to violence when solving personal problems. Those who have been forced to commit atrocities sometimes return to their homes only to be shunned and stigmatized by their own communities."
These are quotes from the following link:
http://www.yapi.org/rpchildsoldierrehab....

That link also shows the child soldier rehabiliation centers known globally. I have tried to find any in America, Australia, England, Canada, etc etc...to no avail. Funny, I guess America ISN'T the only country failing child soldiers after all...

Heather - posted on 11/02/2010

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Those in glass houses and all, but anywho...I'd love to see a link to an actual article because I'm not sure all the facts have been presented. I'm not sure what you would have had US soldiers DO with this "child soldier". They can't give him back to the parents and they can't send him to a US rehabilitation facility because I'd be willing to bet that he's been taught to hate Americans just as much as mom and dad. So they put him in a detention center to prevent him from continuing as a soldier and to keep him from the family that forced him into an army at war. People love to focus on the fact that people were detained for years at Guantanamo, but what the hell are we supposed to do with prisoners who want to hurt us and have no problem killing themselves to do it. They aren't citizens, so they don't get a trial, and they aren't war criminals because we're not technically at war. I would personally prefer to take them out back and shoot them after some of the things they've done to their own people and to the soldiers fighting for those people, but another terrorist would just take their place. Instead of critisizing people for doing SOMETHING, try coming up with a reasonable alternative.

P.S. Canada isn't just "silent partner" in this. Your soldiers take an active role in operations in Afghanistan and I don't see any other countries stepping up take these prisoners and treat them more "humanely". Quite the opposite, no one wants them, but everybody wants to critisize us for how we deal with them.

Johnny - posted on 11/03/2010

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Jodi, I am very much aware that not all Americans support the war in Afghanistan, any of these other wars, or the behavior of their government. I have many American friends, and oddly, not a single one of them support this. I do apologize for using the term "Americans" rather than the American government and those citizens who believe in this war, I was just trying to be brief. I am a Canadian who also does not support my government's actions in this war, so I do know how you feel about it.

Heather, let me tell you, if America ever decides to invade Canada, regardless of the reason, you'd better duck because I'll be firing. Whenever one country invades another country, the invader has no right at all to expect its government, citizens and any of their supporters regardless of where they hail from not to fight back.

Hypothetically, if Canada was taken over by neo-Nazi extremists who destroyed our democracy, it is my right as a citizen to fight back and rebel against them. It is not the right of another country to invade and change things, unless specifically requested by the original democratic government. And if people from Holland wanted to come here and help us defend ourselves against an invader, that invader has no right to determine that they are "unlawful combatants". It's bullshit and International Law calls it so.

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C - posted on 07/13/2011

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In fact, Khadr was shot twice in the back. http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/200... But no one has made any suggestion tht the person who shot him in battle did anything illegal. A Federal Court in Canada found that Khadr was tortured in Guantanamo Bay. http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/n... The Supreme Court of Canada said "The interrogation of a youth detained without access to counsel, to elicit statements about serious criminal charges while knowing that the youth had been subjected to sleep deprivation and while knowing that the fruits of the interrogations would be shared with the prosecutors, offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects." Sleep deprivation is considered a form of torture. There were other allegations, too, such as being shackled in painful positions, threatened with rendition to Egypt, Syria, or Jordan for torture, and used as a "human mop" after he urinated on the floor during one interrogation session. Those allegations haven't been tested in a properly constituted court.

Ez - posted on 07/13/2011

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** Mod Alert **

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Feel free to start a new thread.

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C - posted on 07/13/2011

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I've glanced through the replies. It's a thoughtful bunch here, and far more civil than on many news sites! I believe there is a need for some factual clarification: 1) the Canadian government has never sought to repatriate Omar Khadr despite a great deal of advocacy by human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch 2) The Supreme Court of Canada found that Omar Khadr's rights had been violated but said they could not provide a remedy and left it up to the Canadian government to provide a remedy; the Canadian government wrote to the US and asked that coerced testimony not be used by the Military commission. 3) The Military Commission did use testimony alleged to have been coerced, but the military judge said it was not coerced 4) the practices of the Military Commission are widely considered not to meet international standard for fair trials 5) The US has not sought to send Khadr back to Canada (at least not officially). 6) The UN Special Representative on Child in Armed Conflict to no avail urged both Canada and the US to agree to repatriate him and treat him in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which both the US and Canada have ratified (http://www.un.org/children/conflict/engl...). 7) The OP (AC) provides that child soldiers are not to be prosecuted even if they commit war crimes, but rather they are to be rehabiliated. 8) While Khadr was charged with murder and war crimes it is very eccentric to consider that a soldier of any age in an international armed conflict battle situation committing a "war crime" merely by engaging an armed conflict in a normal way; there was no evidence that Khadr did anything other than what soldiers in battles normally do -- he is alleged to have thrown a grenade at an enemy soldier during a fire fight. 9) There have been numerous allegations that Omar Khadr was tortured and abused at Guantanamo Bay; he was most certainly not treated in accordance with international standards of juvenile justice. 10) Some respondents have indicated t hat Khadr chose his actions; if this is so, he is really no different from other child soldiers elsewhere in the world. Many child soldiers (with whom we sympathize have joined militias or military units voluntarily). International law stipulates that a child is not to be judged by the same standards as an adult. Then there is the issue of choice; what kinds of real choices did he have? There is no doubt at all that he was indoctrinated very early by family members, taken and educated in Pakistan, recruited (by family members), trained all while under 15. When he was captured he was 15 -- this is why some say he wasn't a "child soldier" (The Child Rights Convention and the Geneva Convention say it is a war crime to deploy someone as a soldier under 15. But the OP (AC) -- ratified by Canada and the US says a child is someone under 18. Some respondents stated that Omar Khadr had a choice about his actions, and that he was educated in Canada and should have known better. However, it is unclear where he was educated. There is indication he attended grade one in Ontario, he was taken back and forth from Canada to Pakistan, schooled at home or in private schools (of what nature?) and when he arrived at Guantanamo Bay at age 15 he was at about a grade 8 level of schooling. It is alleged that the treatment of Omar Khard violates the following: The Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified by Canada), the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (ratified by both USA and Canada) , the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ratified by USA and Canada), the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (ratified by Canada and the USA) and the Geneva Conventions.

Johnny - posted on 11/04/2010

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I agree Desiree. But I kind of suspect that much of the time, the people willing to discard child soldiers are probably not too likely to agree with the idea of rehabilitating and freeing rapists & murderers either.

[deleted account]

Oh, I see what you mean now. I interpreted your post wrong. It sounded like you thought the US was refusing to give him back. Sorry about that.

[deleted account]

Canada doesn't equal our prime minister. There are other people, ie. the public, that could have pressed to get him back. And we didn't. Shame on us.

Desiree - posted on 11/04/2010

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Just gone over all the posts and just realised something. Don't any of you find it as strange as I do that our society is willing to rehabilitate and free a rapist and a murderer who choose to comit thier crimes, but won't free a child soldier, who was forced into his situation for many different reasons, from prison because they are far to dangerous. Isn't this a case of double standards?

Jenn - posted on 11/04/2010

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It's pretty messed up for sure and we should take equal responsibility for this debacle!

[deleted account]

R Jongema, The US gov. tried several times to give him back to Canada. Canada refused to take him. The US should have tried harder to make Canada take him back, but you can't say Canada should have tried harder to get him back b/c they didn't have to "try" at all, they could have taken him back anytime they wanted him, but they didn't want him.

[deleted account]

He should have been sent back to Canada, as he is a Canadian-born citizen, and rehabilitated there. The US had no right to keep him at Guantanamo, and Canada should have pressed harder to get him back (although I'm sure Harper being a US sympathiser probably didn't want to push. He's a coward).

Desiree - posted on 11/04/2010

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Sorry about this but exactly what did you really expect to happen. Living in Africa we have been seeing child soldiers for years and no one has ever stepped in and tried to aliviate the problem. maybe its time to look close to home and see what other people see. The States has always been very big on giving advice but it has never been a case of whas good for the Gander. These kids lives are a mess and only God knows what they have been put through. They are intitled to freedom as much as the next man but it seems to be only when it suits them. Just by the way it isn't just Europe and the Northern America who turn a blind eye. Take one good look at Zimbabwe but because its so far from certain shores its a case of it's not our problem. And mamybe if we ignore it long enough it will go away. Sorry to tell you it won't Coruption, cruelty, greed, war, child soldiers and poverty will always be there as long as there are 2 men on the face of the planet.
I was wondering what would happen if the shoe was on the other foot but I already know the answer from past incidents the bigger country would have walked in and taken what was theirs by force regardless of how many people got hurt in the cross fire.
I think the whole thing stinks.

Jodi - posted on 11/03/2010

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Carol, I did assume you weren't referring to the American population in general, but I have been lumped in with "Stupid Americans" more times than I care to count and it really rubs me the wrong way. I have voted against the politcians who have steered this country wayward and lowered our already low popularity with the rest of the world, and yet I'm one of "those" stupid Americans (read, most republicans, not all, but most) that doesn't know my ass from my nose. I am glad to see we both feel the same way! Hopefully, my country will get its shit together soon!

Jodi - posted on 11/03/2010

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Heather, we INVADED that country, of course they're fighting back and we should not be allowed to prosecute simply because they're defending themselves! Do you honestly think America wouldn't do the same? Actually, America wouldn't, America would do so much worse, even if it was another country with "good intent". America wouldn't waste time with trivial ground shooting, America would obliterate whatever country "offended" it from the map with nuclear warfare.
A 15 year old who has been brain washed by his parents since birth to join and fight in a war that isn't his is NOT lucky, a 15 year old child basically forced to become a soldier and be shot is NOT lucky. A 15 year old child captured and detained and tortured for 11 years is NOT lucky. America did not act admirably in this situation, neither did Canada, the true victim was that 15 year old boy mentally abused by his parents, put into combat, given a gun, detained by the American government, tortured and denied his basic rights as outlined by the geneva convention. Yes, we, along with Canada, did not follow the code and this boy was failed by everyone who ever touched his life.

Eronne - posted on 11/03/2010

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He was gravely injured and close to death at the time of his capture. He was 15 years old. He spent the next 8 1/2 years in Guantanamo. Among other things, he was subjected in Guantánamo to the sleep disruption/deprivation technique known as the “frequent flyer program”. Canada has to bear a large portion of blame here as well. Little was done to obtain his release. It appears in both countries that race played a part in Omar's treatment.

Heather - posted on 11/03/2010

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I hate to break this to you Carol, but America isn't the only country over there fighting. We do have the right to prosecute anyone who fires at us if their own country won't....or we could just hold him until his country decides to take him back...that would be right about now btw. So...we're just supposed to take his word that he'll be a good citizen and let him go because he said he's sorry?? ummm, no. He obviously didn't renounce his parents beliefs enough to run away when he got to Afghanistan or not pick up a gun. He was messed up enough that he shot at people! It takes a whole hell of a lot to pick up a weapon and shoot at someone, especially as a child. How in the hell was he "well within his rights"?? He has the right, as a Canadian citizen, to pick up a gun and shoot at someone in another country? BS. We're in that country to route out and get rid of an organization who's killing people and actively threatening american citizens, european citizens, it's OWN citizens, etc. This kid was a combatant. He deserved to be detained and he's lucky we follow the Genieva convention or we'd have left him there to die instead of saving his life and getting him out of the country.

Jodi - posted on 11/03/2010

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"That is unless Americans believe that they have the right to prosecute anyone who fights against them when they invade a foreign country."



I just have to say this as I'm kind of sick of getting lumped in with the war mongering, self-righteous population of this country. I, and many many many Americans did not support the war to begin with, do not support many many government policies and are not always impressed by the way our government acts. Being an American does not automatically make us from the same fabric as our government officials, we often disagree with the way things are done. I'm hoping by the term "Americans" you simply are referring to our government and/or it's officials, but I find it very unfair to be lumped in with people of whom I so vehemently disagree.

Johnny - posted on 11/03/2010

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His father is dead.

He has not wanted anything to do with his mother for many years now.

He was by a long shot the last remaining citizen of another Western nation held at Guantanamo. Adults who equally as suspect were released to the UK, France, Germany and other countries where they were either tried with the evidence available or released. The exact same thing should have been done in this case. The only reason that it wasn't is that the Canadian government has no courage in international affairs.

He is a Canadian citizen and unless the Afghani government wished to prosecute him, by International Law the Canadian and American governments were REQUIRED to have him returned to Canada.

Years ago he openly renounced his parent's beliefs, spoke out against Islamic terrorism and avowed to be a good citizen.

Besides, he was in a war zone firing at the opposing side. By any other laws aside from those that the American government made up for this instance after they invaded a foreign country, he was actually well within his rights. That is unless Americans believe that they have the right to prosecute anyone who fights against them when they invade a foreign country.

Heather - posted on 11/03/2010

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@Krista: Actually, I was talking about how the US treated him far more humanely than anyone else. I haven't said it's too much of a burden to rehabilitate child soldiers, but it's nieve to think that Afghanistan's "rehabilitation" centers for children can be used for any child. They're used for Afghani citizens. You can't send a Canadian citizen or a Spanish citizen or an American citizen to an Afghani rehabilitation center just because it exists.

In America we sometimes prosecute "children" as adults based on the severity of their crimes. There ARE sociopaths in this world and they aren't limited to people over 18. In most states here, you're considered an adult at the age of 16 or 17. You can give legal consent for sex at 16 almost everywhere, so I personally believe you can make your own decisions about picking up a gun at that age too. I don't think anyone did right by this child, but it certainly started with the parents and was furthered by the Canadian government PAYING the U.S. to keep their citizen. We prosecuted him for crimes against Allied soldiers...to which he pled guilty(and he was) and we detained him. Now, Canada is saying "ok, give him back" and we're extraditing him.

The answer is just not as simple as some of us are making it out to be. You can't just send a child to a rehabilitation center in a foreign country and you can't always rehabilitate them. As an alternative to "taking them out back and shooting them", they should be incarcerated for the rest of their life or until they're willing to be rehabilitated. I would hope no one thinks we should just release them back to whatever country they came from or god forbid the parents that sent them to war in the first place.

Jenny - posted on 11/03/2010

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I just want to say Canada has been truly shameful in their handling of this. We are supposed to be a peaceful country, not pandering to war mongers. I'm very disappointed in my country and how they have failed this boy.

Rosie - posted on 11/03/2010

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ok, so after reading a bit on this, i am appalled at the title of this thread first of all. canada hasn't done shit for him either and even paid over a million dollars to ensure that he stay in gitmo. those in glass houses...

anyhoo, i have a HUGE problem with children under the age of 18 being tried for ANYTHING. it pisses me off to no end that 13 year olds can be convicted of first degree murder in this country, yet can't legally have sex or smoke a cigarette? seriously, are they children or not? he needs to be rehabilitated. end of story.

Johnny - posted on 11/03/2010

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Kelly, I completely agree with you. I am angry at the American government for ignoring the Geneva Convention and the UN Child Soldier declaration. But I am way more pissed with the Canadian government. They should be ashamed of their actions and I'd love to see some of the government officials (Canadians) prosecuted for their role in this travesty. We could have done the right thing and chose not to. Disgusting.

[deleted account]

I'm reading them more closely; I only skimmed them earlier. The thing is, the American government was not required to do anything other than return him to Canada, which it tried to do, and Canada refused. Legally, they followed the system, the system does not require them to try to rehabilitate him or to find some other country with a rehab center to send him to. After repeated refusals from Canada, they held their own trial because the other option would be to "hold" him forever. Morally? Yes, both countries screwed up, but the government tried to follow the convention, the system is flawed and that is what allows these immoral events to pass legally. It makes no difference deciding who to blame unless we can find ways to fix the system.

If these rehab centers are out there, and are funded, then all it would take is an amendment to the convention that states that child soldier detainees be sent to an approved rehab center within a set amount of time after capture. Then a small amount of funding to set up a rating system for centers to make sure they are safe and operating properly.

Johnny - posted on 11/03/2010

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The thing is that the American government is not even being expected to keep or rehabilitate Khadr under international law or the Geneva Convention. They were required to return him to Canada which was expected to treat him according to regulations governing child soldiers and our Young Offenders Act. There IS a system and there ARE options in this case that the Canadian government chose not to utilize simply for political expediency. Obviously Canadians were horrified that one of our citizens was over in Afghanistan throwing grenades at American troops. So rather than recognizing and accepting their legal obligations, they chose to throw him to the wolves. I could agree with your argument if there were no other options available, but that simply was not the case.

If you are interested in reading about 3rd world rehab centers, there are several links earlier on in this thread.

[deleted account]

"Should the American government hold the children of violent right-wing extremist American cults in Guantanamo as well?"



If they kill someone, I don't see a reason they should not be held there too. But perhaps, we should work towards making them into rehabilitation centers.



I do wonder how these 3rd world countries are funding these rehabilitation centers, and how much rehabilitation actually occurs there. I will admit, I have not had much time to read deeply on it.

Krista - posted on 11/03/2010

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Damn, sorry Kelly. I was getting your arguments and Heather's mixed up. Heather was the one who stated, "I would personally prefer to take them out back and shoot them after some of the things they've done to their own people and to the soldiers fighting for those people, but another terrorist would just take their place."

My apologies.

[deleted account]

"So, if we should just shoot children whom we think might not be able to be rehabilitated, should we just abort drug addicted babies too?" --Carol

I know that was not directed at me, but it is a good point Carol. Didn't we just discuss that we need legal abortion because the repercussions of too many drug addicted, unwanted babies is too much for our society to handle? Now, I never said to kill the child soldiers, but I accept the fact that they must be imprisoned because at this point, there is no other viable option society can bear. We agree that it is morally wrong to kill an unborn child because society does not want/ cannot be bothered to care for it, but we allow it because that is often the best option for the child, the mother and the society. Thus, we must also agree that it is morally wrong to imprison a child soldier because society does not want/ cannot be bothered to rehabilitate him, but we must allow it because it is often the best option for the child and the society.

Johnny - posted on 11/03/2010

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That's the thing Kelly, there were other options available at the time. There are many programs around the world as discussed in this very thread that offer rehabilitation to child soldiers, including programs in Afghanistan. He also could have been returned to Canada and dealt with in our youth justice program that would have allowed him access to individualized rehabilitation and help dealing with removing himself from his family's legacy.

I wonder why if you think that rehabilitation programs require funding that you simply don't have that 3rd world war torn countries like Uganda and Congo are able to offer such services? It seems like you are satisfied with just writing off a child who has been abused and brainwashed by his family. Should the American government hold the children of violent right-wing extremist American cults in Guantanamo as well?

[deleted account]

"And you think that there are no repercussions on a society if you take a 7-year old child soldier and shoot him in the head because it's just too damn much work to try to rehabilitate him and give him a normal life?" --Krista E



Krista, you quoted me, so I know you read what I wrote. I never wrote anything about shooting a 7 year old child soldier in the head, I cannot even comprehend how you got anything even remotely close to that from my post. The fact is he was kept for 15 years in prison because his own country didn't want him back and ours didn't know what to do with him. Was it wrong? Yes, it was. Was it the best option available at the time? Yes, it was.

I am asking what you suggest had been done with him instead, knowing that rehabilitation is rare and would need a lot of funding that we simply don't have.

Johnny - posted on 11/03/2010

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I think that it is pretty obvious that in the fog of war no soldier is going to be taking the time to assess the age or circumstances of the person firing at them. They are going to act immediately to defend themselves and rightly so. I do not think anyone is disputing that concept on this thread.

However, Omar Khadr was captured after having been shot several times and was treated at the hospital at Bagram Airbase. I suppose they could have left him to die in the field, however, that is not considered proper military conduct. I do not think anyone here is arguing that shooting him was unacceptable, or capturing him from the field. However, once he was identified as a child soldier and a Canadian citizen, the rules should have changed. Neither the American or Canadian governments acted according to law.

Heather, if you are interested in getting a better idea of the situation we are actually discussing, check out this wikipedia link. I'm not completely convinced of its accuracy, but based on what I know from other sources about this case, it matches up:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Khadr

So, if we should just shoot children whom we think might not be able to be rehabilitated, should we just abort drug addicted babies too?

Jodi - posted on 11/03/2010

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Heather, Afghanistan actually has child soldier rehabilitation centers, unlike America or Canada. So sending him back to the proper governmental authorities is Afghanistan wouldn't be as horrible as you make it out to be...

Krista - posted on 11/03/2010

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I'm sorry ladies, maybe I'm a horrible person, but if someone is shooting at me, I'm not going to stop and ask if they're a "child" or "woman" or a "civilian". If someone's shooting at me I'm going to shoot back and I'm so sorry if the person shooting at me decides to stand behind a non-combatant, but I will shoot through them to get to the enemy.

But that's not what you were talking about. You weren't talking about whether or not you would shoot back at a child soldier who was shooting at you.

You were talking about how it would be too much for society to bear to even TRY to rehabilitate child soldiers, so it's better to just take 'em out back and shoot 'em all, and to hell with rehabilitation or even a trial.

Sharon - posted on 11/03/2010

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hhmm a bit like killer pets? They aren't always killed after they eat their owners. Sometimes they're just caged, its a nice cage, for the rest of their lives.

Rehabbing child soldiers is tricky. Its VERY deeply indoctrinated in them to hate.

Heather - posted on 11/03/2010

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I'm sorry ladies, maybe I'm a horrible person, but if someone is shooting at me, I'm not going to stop and ask if they're a "child" or "woman" or a "civilian". If someone's shooting at me I'm going to shoot back and I'm so sorry if the person shooting at me decides to stand behind a non-combatant, but I will shoot through them to get to the enemy. This kid is lucky in my book. He WASN'T shot. I would bet money he wasn't tortured at Guantanamo. We're sending him home because his country is finally taking responsibility for him. He's been fed and clothed and taken better care of than his parents ever thought to in their f*d up heads. It's horrible that things like this happen in war, but it could be a lot worse. I suppose we could have turned him over to the Afghani government when we captured him....where he WOULD have been tortured, malnourished, and probably shot in the end. We DO follow the Genieva Convention as much as possible, but when you're fighting an enemy that has no rules and uses little children and women to do their dirty work, it can be very easy to place blame on our small infractions.

It's a good thing to hold our countries responsible for their actions. Don't forget the bigger picture though. Sometimes, what seems inhumane or poor treatment may be the best alternative.

Krista - posted on 11/03/2010

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Oh, and Carol? Can I just say that I ♥ Romeo Dallaire with the heat of a thousand suns? He is a wonderful, wonderful human being, and a true moral compass for our country.

Krista - posted on 11/03/2010

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I can only imagine the effect of battle on a child.

Sure, some of them might be able to be rehabilitated, but is it worth the risk to the rest of society to try it? We've had this discussion before on a different topic--sometimes the repercussions of doing the morally right thing are simply too much for society to bear.




And you think that there are no repercussions on a society if you take a 7-year old child soldier and shoot him in the head because it's just too damn much work to try to rehabilitate him and give him a normal life? At that point, you might as well turn out the lights, because your society has descended into barbarism.

Johnny - posted on 11/02/2010

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Sadly Laura, it is quite the opposite. The federal government has opposed his return at every juncture until now:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opin...

And they did not request or participate in the plea deal that is allowing his return to Canada. They have simply acquiesced to the American government's request to return him following 1 year of incarceration.

Johnny - posted on 11/02/2010

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I just wanted to add that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled back on February 3 of this year that Omar Khadr's rights as a citizen under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms have been violated by the Canadian government's conduct. This goes along with the fact that he has been formally recognized as a Child Soldier by the United Nations and thus should have been protected through that. Both countries have broken their own laws and international laws.

Isobel - posted on 11/02/2010

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It's my understanding that we HAVE been asking to have him back for the entire time...I know that his name has been on my radar for a long time...

Tah - posted on 11/02/2010

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wow Jodi..according that definition, they are holding victims just as accountable as the offenders...how is a girl forced to have sex and married accountable?..this would be laughable if it wasn't disgusting, discriminatory and sad..

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It is a shame that it happens, but do any of you really think he, or most of the other child soldiers could be "rehabilitated"? Honestly, I don't. Many adult soldiers come back from battle scared for life with no hope of rehabilitation, I can only imagine the effect of battle on a child.
Sure, some of them might be able to be rehabilitated, but is it worth the risk to the rest of society to try it? We've had this discussion before on a different topic--sometimes the repercussions of doing the morally right thing are simply too much for society to bear.

The justice system for POW's is too slow, I agree with that, and speeding up the process could make rehabilitation more viable, but rather than griping about how horrid the problem is, we should be looking for ways to improve the system and to make it faster. Any suggestions?

Isobel - posted on 11/02/2010

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My God, could you imagine being detained in Gitmo at 15? He HAS since denounced his father's teachings...He pleaded guilty and got sent home to serve his time here didn't he? which means he can now appeal here?

Jodi - posted on 11/02/2010

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Also, Kati, here is the definition of a child soldier from a child soldier relief website. It's the same definition I found numerous other places...



"A child soldier is any person under 18 years of age who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to cooks, porters, messengers and anyone accompanying such groups, other than family members. The definition includes girls recruited for sexual purposes and for forced marriage. It does not, therefore, only refer to a child who is carrying or has carried arms."

Jodi - posted on 11/02/2010

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I should point out I'm not defending what America did. I'm just saying, we're not the only country responsible for detaining soldiers, adult or child...but everyone likes to point the finger at us...

Krista - posted on 11/02/2010

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It's exactly what it says, Kati. All over the world, there are children who are basically forced to become soldiers. They've been kidnapped or their families have been killed, and they're basically tortured, threatened and brainwashed until they pick up a gun. We're talking kids as young as age 7, here.



Khadr was trained to do this by his own dad. He's been formally recognized as a child soldier by the U.N., and still our government refused to try to have him extradited, which is incredibly shameful, but not surprising, considering who we have as Prime Minister.

Rosie - posted on 11/02/2010

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i would like some type of link as well. "child soldier" what the fuck is such a thing?

Krista - posted on 11/02/2010

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People love to focus on the fact that people were detained for years at Guantanamo, but what the hell are we supposed to do with prisoners who want to hurt us and have no problem killing themselves to do it.



Um, Heather...you DO realize that Colin Powell and Lawrence Wilkerson have both claimed that hundreds of the men in Guantanamo were innocent, right? And that Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush all allegedly knew about this?



So, maybe I'm a little bit nuts here, but I'm thinking that if you take an innocent man and detain him for years with no legal counsel, and torture the shit out of him, then whose fault is it if he wants to hurt you?



But hey, let's just take 'em all out back and shoot 'em and let God sort 'em out. Then you can maintain your happy little illusion that every single person in Guantanamo was a terrorist.



Anyway, back ON topic, it is a crying shame what was done to Khadr. He was basically forced into this at a very young age. This wasn't murder. Khadr didn't sneak into the guy's bedroom and kill him in his sleep. This happened in the middle of a freaking FIREFIGHT. I just think it's rich that during operations our soldiers can cause the deaths of all kinds of civilians and it's considered "collateral damage", but if a civilian causes the death of one soldier, it's murder.

Johnny - posted on 11/02/2010

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I completely agree with all of your points Eronne. What has been done to Omar Khadr is a disgrace on both countries. Did you see Romeo Dallaire on George Strombolopolous last night? He was talking about child soldiers and this case. It is a complete travesty and our government (Liberals & Conservatives) have a great deal to answer for.

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