Opinion

Trudeau Needs To Apologize To Americans, Not Omar Khadr

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

Why is the man in the photograph smiling? You’d be smiling too if your government just handed $10.5 million over to you.

This week the Trudeau government rewarded former al-Qaida terrorist Omar Khadr with a cash settlement because the Supreme Court of Canada said he was interrogated at Guantanamo Bay under “oppressive” circumstances. Never mind the confession that he killed a U.S. Army medic and blinded anothe soldier. Never mind his time in Afghanistan working for the other side.

Funny thing: the court might have wagged its finger because Gitmo wasn’t up to Club Med standards, but it didn’t advocate for a cash payment. That inspiration apparently belongs to the Trudeau government alone.

Not that the Canadian government is anxious to even acknowledge this travesty.  Nothing from gag-on-the-run Ralph Goodale’s office, the guy who heads up the “public safety” office in Canda. Nary an explanation from Trudeau, who has been up to his usual photo-ops all week on a desultory trip through Europe on his way to the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany on Friday. He uttered some blather when the story first broke on Tuesday about how legal matters all must come to an end some day.

Oh, and when the story broke: it was July 4th, Independence Day. How quaintly inappropriate.  It seems clear that the Liberals are at least somewhat ashamed of themselves for shellling out these millions to Khadr, because they aren’t exactly shouting the news from the rooftops. But clearly someone in the government decided to leak the story to their liberal friends in the media and it was those allies who did the dirty work and got the story out about how America’s closest ally was going to kick Uncle Sam in the teeth by rewarding Khadr for killing a U.S. solider.

I can tell you that the anger in Canada over this decision is palpable — especially from those of us who served in the military. In my years as a Canadian air force officer I spent a great deal of time with our American allies. It’s not just the mutual NATO membership or the fact that North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) is a shared operation that keeps the entire continent safe: Canada and the U.S. have fought wars and maintained the peace as kindred spirits and comrades in arms.

Let me tell you this: for those of us in uniform, we don’t just look at our U.S. counterparts as merely a friendly force; they are our brothers and sisters and when an American dies in action, Canadians grieve too.

That’s what makes this action by a Canadian government so painful. There can be absolutely no justification for paying off a man who admitted to killing an American solider — and, to add insult to injury, to apologize for punishing him. Were the few years he spent in prison really worth $10.5 million for a guy whose only expertise was working for al-Qaida? I hardly think so.

There hasn’t been a great deal of reaction over Trudeau’s latest lapse of sanity from the U.S. The pay-off has received some coverage in the media but without a lot of comment. The Trump administration has said absolutely nothing — perhaps because they think this is all a dose of fake news or just a bad joke. Would Trump’s “new found friend” Justin Trudeau — as the president described him in a Canada Day tweet — really do something like this?

Yes, he would and he did.

Khadr doesn’t deserve a cent for “compensation” and he doesn’t warrant an apology. But the U.S. does deserve one.

On behalf of all of us who value our friendship with the United States, I’m sorry we have to reap the consequences of what Justin Trudeau’s intolerably poor judgement has sown.

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