Gitmo Interrogation Video Released
I honestly don't know what to make of this video of then-sixteen year-old Omar Khadr being interrogated at Gitmo by Canadian security officials. Let me just say right off the bat that at no time during this "highlight reel" is he tortured, mistreated or even laid a hand on. The Canadians who showed up to interrogate Khadr, who's a Canadian citizen of Afghani extraction, were plainly there to gain his trust but to offer no sympathy.
The story goes that Khadr was picked up six years ago in Afghanistan during a firefight with American forces. Obviously, the boy was severely injured in the battle but the question remains: Was he fighting alongside the Taliban, did he kill an American soldier as he's been accused or was he just in the wrong place at the wrong time?
If he is indeed a Taliban sympathizer, especially one who killed an American soldier, then obviously we shouldn't be too concerned about sleep deprivation and whether or not he's getting adequate medical care.
But the spots in the video (a couple of minutes out of seven hours of footage released by our government at the behest of Mr. Khadr's Canadian attorneys) in which the boy breaks down does not, to me, signify a hardened Taliban operative spouting propaganda about overthrowing the evil, decadent west. The child that I see in this video is scared, betrayed, vulnerable. At one point he actually moans, "Kill me." As a father of three children, my heart goes out to him and, yeah, I'll admit it, I want to hug him and take away his pain. Sue me for being a bleeding heart liberal.
If this boy is a hardened terrorist who actually killed one of our own (his parents have been described as "fundamentalists" which shouldn't imply that they're Islamic fundamentalist terrorists or sympathizers), there's still a chance that he may not have admitted it, which would explain his six year-long incarceration. However, you have to consider that if he was actually an innocent boy back then who was caught by the highly suspect Northern Alliance, you'd think he would've cracked by now and confessed to whatever it is they want him to confess.
In the end, I don't know what to make of this extremely brief sampling of the child's interrogation but when I see his sleep-deprived reactions to his captors and interrogators, I keep going back to Donald Rumsfeld's characterization of Guantanamo Bay detainees as being "the worst of the worst" (young Omar now wears the white jumpsuit that identifies the most compliant, more model prisoners). I think of Jeff Sessions during Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2005 and Sessions saying that all the detainees in Gitmo ought to be executed immediately. Yes, there's a legitimate question as to whether he could be a radical fundamentalist and killer. But here's a better question:
What if he really was an innocent 16 year-old child caught in the wrong place in the wrong time?