Human rights groups are actively lobbying President-elect Obama and his team to drop the charges against Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen who is charged with killing an American soldier in Afghanistan in 2002. On Monday, Canadian Senator Romeo Dallaire was in Washington pleading for Khadr to be sent "home" from Guantánamo to Canada. The human rights groups and Dallaire argue that Khadr was a child at the time he allegedly killed an American serviceman with a grenade, and no child has ever been charged with war crimes.
A few thoughts: First, Khadr, who is now 22, was no ordinary child. He participated in an al Qaeda ambush of American soldiers at the age of 15. His mind had already been corrupted by his family, which has extensive ties to al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Khadr's brother, who was also detained at Guantánamo at one point, has even publicly admitted that he belonged to an "al Qaeda family." Second, Khadr's father, who was a supporter of bin Laden until he was killed in a shootout with Pakistani authorities in 2003, gave Omar to al Qaeda. Omar served as a translator to top al Qaeda operative Abu Laith al-Libi.
Third, the evidence against Omar Khadr is strong. For example, according to the Toronto Star, a captured video shows Omar "working with land mines and talking to al-Libi." One of the accusations against Omar is that he planted land mines that were intended to kill American soldiers. Fourth, throughout much of his detention, the Canadian government has not wanted to see Khadr repatriated. So, the "home" Senator Dallaire referred to does not really want him. His last "home" was Afghanistan, where his father brought the Khadr family so they could support Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.
With all of the human rights groups' and activists' hyperbole about Omar Khadr's supposedly dire situation at Guantánamo, it is useful to keep in mind what he has already "accomplished" in his young life.