Across the street from the US Consulate on University. Family and supporters gather to press for government intervention to bring Canadian citizen Omar Khadr home to Canada.
Credits: GREG HENKENHAF/QMI AGENCY
No sooner had Omar Khadr returned to Canada than dewey-eyed sentimentalists who don't see a convicted jihadist so much as a very naughty boy were venting their feelings.
Like Justin Trudeau MP. Never one to let his famous surname inhibit his own over-arching political ambitions, the man who would be PM tweeted: "Sorry, I've been clear for a long time on #Khadr: he was a child soldier, he needed to be brought back a long time ago."
Another keen for a conspicuous display of moral vanity was interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae: "Omar Khadr's return to Canada long overdue - Romeo Dallaire has done an amazing job on the issue of child soldiers, and deserves thanks" was his considered contribution to the Twitter-verse.
Really? A child soldier? As if Khadr's youth somehow qualified the gravity of his guilt and instead made him an accidental terrorist.
You'd have to have the personal morals of a box of hammers to think youth is an exception to culpability. He may have been too young to shave but he confessed to committing an adult crime.
Khadr was captured on July 27, 2002, by American forces at the age of 15 following a four-hour firefight in the village of Ayub Kheyl, Afghanistan.
His time in Guantanamo Bay eventually saw Khadr plead guilty to the murder of a U.S. army medic, Sgt. Christopher Speer, in the same action where Khadr was captured.
The prosecution psychiatrist testified that Khadr showed no signs of remorse, although he apologized to the widow of Speer for the pain he had caused her. That's big of him.
Khadr also said his eight years in prison had taught him "the beauty of life." Nobody knows if this beauty applies just to his own life at the exclusion of those who don't share his jihadist tendencies.
Still, those who would accommodate Khadr remain transfixed by the fact he was so young when he took another's life.
In doing so, they have slim regard for history and the role of children in warfare. Maybe I can help.
Adolf Hitler's last public appearance came on his 56th birthday when he left his bunker to decorate 12-year-old Hitler Youth soldiers with Iron Crosses for their heroism in the defense of Berlin. The little boys were filmed staring at him with worshipful admiration. They were then sent back out into the streets to continue killing.
In Cambodia, Pol Pot used tens of thousands of child soldiers to maintain his regime. They stood guard over workers and in some cases were required to execute members of their own family suspected of disloyalty to the leader.
I know this for a fact because I have interviewed former child guards in Phnom Penh who worked in that city's Tuol Sleng prison where at least 20,000 people died in the name of Pol Pot's agrarian revolution.
The ones I talked to admitted to being perfectly aware of what moral choices they were making at such a young age in murdering innocent people.
In Africa today, child soldiers remain a sad but common feature in the various conflicts across the continent. Children as young as 10-years-old have been known to take up arms in Chad, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ditto Afghanistan. Most - but not all - of these are child warriors are prisoners. They don't choose to voluntarily travel across the world in search of a fight as terrorist Omar Khadr did. They grew there. Khadr flew there.
Finally, here's a chilling notion to consider.
If this self-confessed jihadist hadn't been captured and eventually found his way back to Canada, would he have been considered ripe by his handlers to commit an act of terror on Canadian soil?
We'll never know until war criminal Omar Khadr tells us himself.