Skip to comments.Welcome back, Khadr
Posted on 12/02/2003 3:01:16 PM PST by albertabound
Welcome back, Khadr
By MARGARET WENTE Tuesday, December 2, 2003
Abdurahman Khadr strikes you as many things, but traumatized is not one of them. At his press conference yesterday, the husky, healthy-looking 20-year-old aspired but failed to present himself as a victim. He also said, perhaps, more than his lawyer would have wished. For instance, he admitted he once spent three months training in a military camp in Afghanistan. It wasn't, he explained, an al-Qaeda camp. It was a camp related to al-Qaeda.
"It's a common thing," he shrugged. "Every kid around that age takes that training." And many of the kids who trained there - though not him, he maintains - went on to fight against the Northern Alliance or in the murderous sectarian wars of Bosnia or Chechnya.
Mr. Khadr, who speaks colloquial English, is a Canadian citizen who claims that all he ever wanted to do was come home to Scarborough. But he hasn't really lived there for years. In the early 1990s his father, Ahmed, took the family to live in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There, Mr. Khadr would have us believe, his father was engaged in philanthropic works. Every so often they would return to Canada to raise money for good deeds. "We collect money for the orphans, the widows, all those people," he said with a straight face.
In fact, Ahmed Khadr, an Egyptian by birth, has long been suspected of being an al-Qaeda operative. He was arrested in Pakistan in 1995, although never charged, on suspicion of having financed a bombing of the Egyptian embassy in which 17 people were killed. After 9/11 he was placed by U.S. authorities on the list of suspects involved in the terrorist attacks.
Mr. Khadr had four sons. The oldest, Abdullah, is believed to have run an al-Qaeda training camp. Abdurahman is the second son. Omar, now 17, is alleged to have killed a U.S. army medic during the Afghan war, and was also sent to Guantanamo. It's expected that he'll be released soon. The fourth son, Karim, is reported to have died last month in a raid on an al-Qaeda camp near the Pakistan border, the Pakistanis say. He was 14.
For the record, Abdurahman says his mother told him that his father is dead. He related the news without a flicker of emotion. The Pakistanis say he is at large. One extremist group, based in London, says he's dead and eulogize him as a martyr and a founding member of al-Qaeda.
Mr. Khadr won't talk about his time in Guantanamo, on account of his brother, but he looks none the worse for wear. I have no idea why the Americans sent him to Afghanistan and not to Canada. Maybe it's because he lived there, not here. In any event, it took him only six weeks to get back to Scarborough, by way of Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Sarajevo.
How, you may ask, does a penniless young man with no documents get across all those borders? No problem. "It's very easy if you have the money and you know the people," he explained. He had friends in Kabul who gave him money. Then he got himself smuggled. It costs $500 (U.S.) to be smuggled from Pakistan to Turkey.
When he couldn't get past the security guards at the embassy in Turkey, he decided to continue west, where human-rights organizations are "more sympathetic."
By the time he got to Sarajevo he was headline news in Canada, and the embassy welcomed him with open arms.
"How would you describe your ordeal?" asked a TV reporter, working hard to elicit a clip that might show Mr. Khadr as a sympathetic victim. "At moments, I thought there was nobody," he said. "Nobody wanted me." That undoubtedly is true. But now he's all ours, and we're obliged to take him back, and no doubt his mother and his sisters, too. Mr. Khadr, rest assured, will never be lonely again.
In spite of Mr. Khadr's claim that he was abandoned by his country, he was not. After he was captured in Kabul, he got a visit from an RCMP officer with the Canadian High Commission in Pakistan. Asked if he needed help, or wanted to return home, he said he wasn't interested. Even so, the Department of Foreign Affairs made strenuous efforts to have him shipped to Canada rather than to Guantanamo. Of the thousands of Canadians detained abroad at any given time, it's safe to say that very few have received more solicitous attention from the highest levels of government than Mr. Khadr.
And in the end, who am I to say we shouldn't welcome him? I am perfectly prepared to believe that he is, as he says, no holy warrior. You can't condemn a man for the way he was brought up, or for who his father is. But I do wish he'd stop claiming he was captured for no reason other than "because I was Arab." Also, if I were him, I'd stop referring to my dad as an innocent philanthropist.
"Are you traumatized?" prompted another TV reporter, desperately trying to get that clip.
"Yes," he said on cue. "I am, you know I am traumatized."
But he didn't look traumatized at all. He looked smug.
Maybe the US was implanted a GPS chip in his butt, and his moves are all recorded via satellite.
It's obvious the kind of people this guy consorts with. Why in hell was he ever released from Gitmo?
To prove America's case that, while he is one of the less dedicated islamofascists, he was detained for good reason. The skeptical press is now realizing that misunderstood mama's boys are not being kept at Gitmo. Strictly my opinion.
But that's all secondary, just to keep tabs on him, and ensure that he's being honest with his CIA handlers when he reports in for his monthly debriefings.
How do you think he earned his way out of Gitmo? Cooperation. He flipped, he's working for Uncle Sam now.
No, he's still OUR problem. I guarantee you that he won't be blowing up any Canadian buildings, he'll head straight for New York.
Problem is, the dumb liberals there will probably help him.
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