Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Khadr, Khadr, Khadr

Undoubtedly, this is pretty much all that's playing on any news station today, but the "blogosphere" has been pretty quiet about it.

While this whole affair has been going on for a few years, it is worth revisiting with the release of the tapes.

Observations:

On the detention itself, I don't think it's justifiable. I understand the US security interests, but there are also human rights. If you tell anyone you're going to lock a kid up without trial or conviction for more than 5 years in a relatively remote foreign location, you wouldn't make many friends. Furthmore, you just can't trump human rights. There are constitutions in countries like Canada and the US for a reason: they're time tested and they provide stability. The reason they're so hard to change is that we can't alter the guiding principles of our societies on every knee jerk reaction. In the same vein, you can't just pretty much suspend the application of your constitution on a knee jerk reaction. That's why Khadr deserves due process. If he's guilty, let the process show it. You can't justify locking someone up in the name of security in my opinion. I think the bottom line of this whole situation can be summed up in the Ben Franklin quotation, "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security."

In terms of the actual release of the tape, what does that mean? Well, it's not exactly going to make the Americans happy, and this might influence how the act in securiy matters with Canada in the future. For Khadr himself, well it gets people talking about him again - at least temporarily, but I don't think it's going to change people's minds thave have already been made up. If you weren't for Khadr's rights, you likely didn't put that weight into his age and naivete. If you're a Khadr sympathizer, this probably just strengthens your support.

Another outcome of the tape release might be anger. It might galvanize those who agreed with Khadr's alleged actions, and in a way give them the justification they're looking for. Is that right? Absolutely not, but neither is detaining Khadr the way he has been. It's all about lenses.

Overall, I'm not sure how productive or dangerous the release of the tapes is, but in the end it's just representing the truth: you can't argue with it, but you can form your own opinions.

4 comments:

WesternGrit said...

Khadr has not even been given the basic human rights he is entitled to vis-a-vis the Geneva Conventions and international agreements on the treatment of prisoners of war...

Why is that? One ridiculous reason: To circumvent international law (so Bush isn't tried as a war criminal), the Republicans attempt to claim these "enemy combatants" are not fighting a war, defending their territory, etc., but that they are "terrorists". I don't see how a child soldier left by his family in the middle of Afghanistan, to defend a fortress against American invaders, is a "terrorist". He is a soldier. Plain and simple. He is a child soldier, and deserves the appropriate treatment.

Red Tory said...

FYI

dennisn said...

This is a little off topic, but I was getting frustrated at how casually "my" views seem to be getting discarded, and the Benjamin Franklin quote just made it irresistible.

Because Franklin was supposedly a hero for individualism, free trade, and anti-over-arching government (ie. too much regulation). The Liberal party, the NDP party, the Quebec party, and all other socialist parties do precisely what that cherished quote chastises -- they give up essential liberties for temporary security.

I've seen too many people do this -- be it under the disguise of national security (clandestine, opaque "public" security forces), economic security (government subsidies, pro-monopoly legislation), social security ("public" education, "public" day care), etcetera ad nauseum. Shame.

Therefore, leave the Liberal party. Help the Libertarian or Freedom parties. They need it. We all need it. (Freedom that is.)

More on topic, obviously Gitmo is a human rights atrocity. However, terrorism and Islam is an even greater atrocity. Obviously they should both be abolished.

m5slib said...

Dennis.. i don't discard your views, i just recognized them as very fixed