Do not think about, write about or deal with human behavior without determining the effects of incentives. It’s not their money, of course they’ll waste it.
Wherein we discover that terrorists who kill people are humans. No doubt they have noses, feet and hair, just like the rest of us. Kill–be remorseful–be pleasant and respectful–all then must be forgiven.
Gracious, respectful Omar Khadr confounds Harper government stereotype: Walkom
The man Prime Minister Stephen Harper loves to demonize reveals himself to be remarkably human.
This is not the Omar Khadr that the Harper government wants us to see. It prefers a world that is black and white, where the bad guys are terrorists who commit heinous crimes and the good guys are one-dimensionally heroic, writes Thomas Walkom.
JASON FRANSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS
By: Thomas Walkom National Affairs, Published on Fri May 08 2015
By simply seeming reasonable, Omar Khadr has confounded Stephen Harper.
Look at this logic.
The former Guantanamo Bay inmate could have reacted bitterly Thursday when, after almost 13 years in detention, he was finally allowed out on bail.
He could have echoed his lawyer, Dennis Edney, and called the prime minister an anti-Muslim bigot.
Captured on the Afghan battlefield when he was 15, Khadr could have asked why successive Liberal and Conservative governments didn’t live up to their treaty obligations to protect child soldiers.
The age of the finger pulling the trigger, or in this case, throwing the grenade, is relevant?
He might have questioned why Ottawa actively participated in Guantanamo Bay interrogations that Canada’s Supreme Court later declared illegal and coercive.
He might have had harsh words for the roughly 60 per cent of Canadians who, if the polls were correct in 2012, didn’t want their fellow citizen back in Canada.
If this convicted killer had harsh words, then I really would have felt guilty and ashamed.
But on Thursday, speaking to reporters outside his lawyer’s Edmonton home, the man the Conservatives call a dangerous terrorist did none of this.
He was calm, gracious and respectful.
He said the reaction of Canadians, including the sheriffs escorting him to court, was far kinder than he expected.
He asked others to give him a chance before rushing to judgment, “to see who I am as a person, not as a name.”
Asked what he wants to do most now that he is out of jail, he laughed and gave what struck me as the honest answer of a 28-year-old who has been locked up half his life.
“Everything and nothing in particular,” he said. “Everything.”
As for the U.S. soldiers killed and wounded in the 2002 firefight in which he was captured, Khadr apologized to their families for any pain he may have caused.
“There’s nothing I can do about the past, but I hope I can do something about the future,” he said.
He did not downplay the fact that he fought on the side of Afghanistan’s Taliban during the U.S.-led invasion of that country. But he said that he has abandoned violent jihad.
And the U.S. had no right to invade the territory that was the staging area for 9/11?
“It’s not something I believe in right now. I want a fresh start.
“There are too many good things in life I want to experience.”
Asked about his father, a jihadist who sent his son to join the Taliban, Khadr neither denounced nor praised him. Instead, he gave the answer of baffled sons the world over: “There are a lot of questions I’d like to ask my father.”
In short, he came across in that brief press conference as remarkably human — as someone who wants to build a new life, but isn’t entirely sure how to do it; as a person who has outgrown his past but is still trying to come to terms with it.
This is not the Omar Khadr that the Harper government wants us to see. It prefers a world that is black and white, where the bad guys are terrorists who commit heinous crimes and the good guys are one-dimensionally heroic.
Government ministers, and the prime minister himself, refer to the fact that Khadr pled guilty to war crimes, including murder.
They neglect to point out that he made this plea at Guantanamo Bay before a deeply flawed U.S. military commission armed with powers that no regular American or Canadian court is allowed.
Being with the group of happy-go-lucky killers was just youthful enthusiasm?
They neglect to point out that the alleged war crimes for which Khadr was convicted, including killing an enemy soldier in battle, are not in fact war crimes.
They neglect to point out that Khadr, quite understandably, was willing to agree to anything that would get him out of Guantanamo Bay.
On Friday, Harper was asked about Khadr.
He gave the government’s boilerplate response. Khadr, he said had pled guilty to very grave crimes; Ottawa’s thoughts and prayers were with the victims.
In the past, that response might have sufficed. Now that Canadians have had a chance to see and hear Omar Khadr in person, it no longer does.
Khadr himself said it best Thursday, when he was asked about the prime minister’s characterization of him.
“I’m going to have to disappoint him,” replied the man the Harper government loves to hate.
“I’m not the person he thinks I am.”
This is the liberal response to everything. I’m sure they regard the Nazis as just misguided enthusiasts. As long as they repent.
Khadr will be under relentless pressure from Muslim terrorists to recant his recantation and return to his status as a Soldier of the True Faith. They want their poster boy back.
Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “Days of Songs and Mirrors: A Jacobite in the ‘45.”
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies