One of those people is Canadian child solider Omar Khadr, who has been held there illegally–against international treaty and Canadian law, including a ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada–for the majority of Guantanamo’s sorry history.
I really don’t know what more to say about this. The facts are clear, but the people with power in this matter have chosen to ignore the facts. I could speculate as to why that might be so but I’m not sure that’s relevant: it remains true, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot I can do about it, which annoys me more than a little.
To see just how far off the real axis the people with power in this matter have gone, consider this story from 2006, when Guantanamo was only half a decade old:
Lawyers said the men who hanged themselves had been driven by despair.
A military investigation into the deaths is now under way, amid growing calls for the detention centre to be moved or closed.
I am not making this up: The camp commander, Rear Admiral Harry Harris said, “They are smart. They are creative, they are committed. They have no regard for life, either ours or their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.”
What can you say in argument against a person like that? Someone who is a senior member of the American mass organized killing system, who has enormous power–literally the power of life and death–over the illegally held prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. He had dedicated his life to the business of mass organized killing, and ended up in a state of mind where the only thing he can see is mass organized killing, even in the suicides of men who are being held in his own prison, completely under his power.
There’s a word for a man like that, who sees the power of his enemy in every act, even when that enemy is helpless, alone and imprisoned half a world away from home. The word is coward.
And that is what keeps Guantanamo Bay open: cowardice. The fear of American lawmakers and American mass organized killers that a few abject prisoners and child soldiers have the power to overthrow the American Empire.
I’ve written my MP and the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice in the past regarding Omar Khadr. Perhaps it’s time to do so again. It may not make a difference, but it can’t do any harm, and at the end of the day I want to be able to look back and say that I did what I could in a cause I knew to be right, in defense of the rule of law.