Predictably, the “nattering nabobs of negativism” (thank you, Spiro Agnew) have crawled out from under their rocks to criticize the (in my view, none too generous) award of $10.5 million to Omar Khadr in recompense for his years of torture and imprisonment. I note that a number of these voices come from the Conservative Party, which is making use of the award to poke at the Liberal government.
They call him a confessed murderer, and so he is; and so would you and I be if we had found ourselves in his situation. This was his choice: plead not guilty, certainly be found guilty by the kangaroo court (so named in the Globe this morning) and rot in an American prison for the rest of his life; or, plead guilty, which would open the way to a transfer to Canada, where our “kinder, gentler” justice system would in due course release him, which it has.
A number of others who took the same route in the US have now appealed to have their ersatz convictions overturned; and all of them have had their appeals granted. Omar’s lawyer plans to enter the same appeal on Omar’s behalf.
Those of us who have met him know him to be a modest and gracious young man. He intends to train as a nurse, a vocation which will give him opportunities to give to his patients the kind of care which he was denied in Guantanamo. There is a lovely irony in this.