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Khadr sentenced to 40 years

2010 October 31
by Ian Welsh

8 years more served at most, under the plea bargain, though at that point he’d have been in custody for 16 years.

Others have covered this more than I have, but to me the initial charges were always absurd.  He killed a soldier in a firefight in a country that the US invaded.  The idea that doing so qualifies as murder is ridiculous, unless we also want to charge everyone who kills an invading soldier with murder?  And, I suppose, charge every American soldier in Iraq (a clear case of aggressive war, illegal under the Geneva conventions and exactly what Americans hung Germans for at Nuremburg) with murder?

Kangaroo court justice, the victors punishing the losers, for “crimes” far more minor than those the victors have committed.  Get back to me when George Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Colin Powell are in the dock, and we’ll talk.

(Aside: I added a new category, Justice, for this post.  I did not put it under Law Enforcement, an already existing category, since the two seem to have less and less to do with each other, especially in the US.  I should add, of course, that it’s not clear that Khadr did throw a grenade, though I don’t think that’s particularly relevant.)

12 Responses
  1. October 31, 2010

    “Get back to me when George Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Colin Powell are in the dock”

    Look forward, not backward, etc etc etc.

  2. Cloud permalink
    October 31, 2010

    Though the post could still go in the law enforcement category: given the domestic parallel in the US where, if a SWAT team with assault rifles storms your house at four in the morning looking for pot, and you shot one of them, you could be tried for murder.

  3. October 31, 2010

    Of course, by now Obama is complicit in many of the war crimes Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton initiated. He would seem to have a few of his own in Afghanistan, too.

    But you knew that. None of these people will ever be on the docket. Next, on to Iran!

  4. Kaleidic permalink
    October 31, 2010

    For what it’s worth, The Nuremberg trials were for aggressive war and genocide not pre-emptive war.

    [From Wikipedia] The indictments were for:
    1. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of a crime against peace
    2. Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace
    3. War crimes
    4. Crimes against humanity

    Also according to Wikipedia, “As early as 1625, Hugo Grotius characterized a state’s right of self-defense to include the right to forcibly forestall an [imminent] attack.”

    I certainly agree that such an imminent attack from Iraq was not present, and therefore Bush, Cheney & co. were guilty of aggressive war.

  5. anon2525 permalink
    October 31, 2010

    The idea that doing so qualifies as murder is ridiculous…

    The idea is ridiculous and the fact that they have been so charged makes them political prisoners along the line of the political prisoners of the former Soviet Union. They have been held for so long without trial because it has served the political purposes of the duopoly. If the duopoly had had evidence to present such a case, they would have done so a long time ago, but lacking any case, they simply have held these men (and in some cases boys who have grown into men) prisoners for the sake of electoral politics. That action by the duopoly is a crime, just as it was by the former Soviet Union.

  6. anon2525 permalink
    October 31, 2010

    …a clear case of pre-emptive war, illegal under the Geneva conventions… — Ian Welsh

    For what it’s worth, The Nuremberg trials were for aggressive war… — Kaleidic

    That is my understanding as well. A Pre-emptive or preemptive war is one in which the attack happens when a threat is imminent, while a preventive war is one in which there is no imminent threat. In the case of the assault on Iraq, the gov’t. there had made no threats and possessed no weapons to carry out any fictional threats. Ironically, if Iraq had possessed some significant weapons, and used them against the forces arrayed in the Persian Gulf region before the invasion took place, then the Iraqis would have been engaging in preemptive war.

    * Preemptive War
    * Preventive War

  7. Ian Welsh permalink
    October 31, 2010

    Thanks for the correction Kaleidic, changed in the post proper.

  8. November 1, 2010

    i’m a tad bitter today so i just have to say, well, where was all this liberal concern for kangaroo courts and torture and false arrest when the drug war was first getting going? oh, that’s right. those were poor brown people and obviously they were guilty. it’s only now that some older liberals are coming to understand that a middle class identity won’t protect them from a neofascist state if such chooses to focus on them, that motivates all this “Horror, the Horror” at the state of the process of “justice” in this country, military or otherwise.

    seriously, go spend some time with a prison justice ministry or a legal aid group for death row folks. this isn’t new. Law and Order is a TV show, and nothing like reality. a great number of American citizens are being raped, tortured, starved, and enslaved by our prison/court system right now, and for over a generation. this kid is actually one of the lucky ones; a dime and a half isn’t that bad in the scheme of things and he’s got enough media attention from folks on the left his torturers have to treat him sort of well. this is utterly untrue for the “unremarkable” American citizens who get tased, beaten, raped, and falsely accused every frakking day. by which i mean: thousands, and even millions.
    /end soapbox/

  9. Ian Welsh permalink
    November 1, 2010

    I’ve been against the drug war for ages.

  10. November 1, 2010

    As Marcy Wheeler on others pointed out, Kadr was a child soldier, the accusation of “war crimes” is based on a ex post facto law, the charges are inconsistent, and the prosecutors piled on additional charges through the plea bargain.. as far as kangaroo courts and Siegerjustiz go, Obama’s big “win” in anti-terror lawfare is hitting on all the low points. It is worth digging deeper into this atrocity, esp. with this in mind:
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2010/10/26/the-same-day-us-gets-guilty-plea-from-child-soldier-it-exempts-yemen-and-others-from-restrictions-on-using-child-soldiers/

  11. November 1, 2010

    Iraq never threatened to attack the United States. More importantly, it had no means to do so. Afghanistan never attacked the United States either, and it cannot be argued that the Taliban were the government of Afghanistan, aiding and abetting Al Qaeda, because the United States never recognized the Taliban as a government. At the time of the US invasion, there was no such thing as Afghanistan…legally speaking…because there was no Afghan government. (Which calls into question the argument that invading Afghanistan was a defensive measure or retaliation.)

    Furthermore, there were never declarations of war in either case. So i’m not sure how Khadr can be tried for war crimes as there was no war and he was part of a group unrecognized as a legal belligerent by the United States.

    Who initiated the firefight in 2002? If US forces did so, i’m unclear as to how the claim that Khadr committed war crimes and murder can hold water. Even if Khadr’s unit attacked US forces, that makes a military attack a war crime. Will we now argue that US forces are committing murder and war crimes every time they engage an enemy.

    I get that the US is arguing that AQ, and by association Khadr, is not legally entitled to armed combat, but that just brings us back to my first paragraph.

  12. November 1, 2010

    The whole confusion about aggressive==preventive vs. preemptive war goes straight back to the Bush Doctrine of Preemption, and the complete and utter failure of all ‘stablishment politicians – except for Howard Dean – to challenge it following publication of the respective National Security Strategy or thereafter up to the 2004 election and beyond.

    Take a look at these
    http://watchdog.net/b/us/108/hr141
    http://watchdog.net/b/us/109/hr82
    http://watchdog.net/b/us/110/hr23

    Aside from the Incredibly Shrinking List of co-sponsors and the fact that the 11th Congress has been spared the ignomity of having to ignore the issue again, the flaw is right in the title:

    Disavowing the doctrine of preemption

    The Bush NSC re-defined preventive war as “preemption”. Nobody in Senate or House ever challenged it, and with the coming of the Purveyor of Change, the topic was dropped in polite society.

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