He is 21 now, was 15 when he was captured in Afghanistan and 16 when he was detained indefinitely in Guantanamo U.S. Military prison. He was detained for killing a U.S. soldier (Christopher J. Speer) and partially blinding another (Layne Morris). He is one of the few who have had hearings; people have come together, that is, to share information and try to decide what to do with him. A few things have come out:
From the Toronto Star in February of this year: "A document inadvertently released to reporters here Monday disclosed that after the grenade was thrown, a U.S. operative killed another suspect and then shot Khadr twice in the back. The revelation casts doubt on the Pentagon's assertion that Khadr threw the grenade that fatally wounded Delta Force soldier and medic Christopher Speer."
Just today, video was released showing Khadr's interrogation where he cries out for "mommy" and confirms their knowledge that his father brought him to fight with Afghani forces and left him there, taking advantage of the forces' promises to take the burden of feeding and clothing children from their parents.
Khadr was put through sleep deprivation and had bullet wounds that were not healing; some were upset that the interrogation was therefore rough. But not Army Sergeant Layne Morris (who was blinded in one eye by the grenade at the firefight):
"If my drill sergeant had spoken to me like that in basic training I'd probably still be sending him Christmas cards," said Morris, now out of the military and living in Salt Lake City. "He's not sniveling and whining because he's hurt or scared, he's just upset he's in U.S. custody for the foreseeable future."
Morris argues that Khadr was not a soldier but a terrorist and therefore deserves charges of murder. He has said of his detainment:
"I'm fine with this dragging on for another five years before there's a trial as long as they stay locked up."
To put an interesting twist to the story, Speers' widow is suing Khadr's father -- even though Kadhr's father is dead -- for $10 million for the death of her husband, clearly recognizing that the burden of guilt and responsibility lay with the father of the 15-year-old who forced him (what agency does a 15-year-old have in this situation?) into armed service with Afghani forces. (Go here for the story.)
This reminds me of Frank Wuterich, a U.S. Marine charged with the murder of 18 civilians in Haditha. What Wuterich did was disgusting (to see the whole story, click here), but I'm confused. We are at war right? Or police action? Conflict maybe? (Whatever we're calling it.) People fight each other in these things; with deadly weapons it seems. While Morris labels Khadr as a terrorist, I challenge you to define terrorism in such a way that any strategic military action meant to incite fear and to damage the ability of an "enemy" to fight back, including damaging their sense of selfhood and/or nationhood does not somehow fit under that definition. This is NOT to say that soldiers are terrorists. They are engaged with an enemy that recognizes their sovereignty -- this I guess is the difference: Khadr was with Afghanis when he threw a grenade. But how do we define murder during a time of war?
Here's a better list of people to court-martial besides Wuterich and Khadr:
Every other person who sent young people into a violent area and told them that some of them are "enemies" and the rest are "trainable;"
Especially those in the above list who never, themselves, had to look through the target of a gun and decide if someone should be killed.