Thursday, June 25, 2009

Omar Khadr And Michael Jackson

I had intended to call this post "Michael Jackson And Omar Khadr", but I decided that just for once, Omar deserved to get top billing.

I've received four CNN Breaking News E-Mail Alerts (so far) about Michael Jackson's death. Unless he got back up shortly thereafter, screamed "BRAAAAAINS!" and took a bite out of Tito, that's probably three-ish too many.

What, too soon?

Poor Farrah Fawcett. She died first (garnering only a single CNN Breaking News E-Mail Alert for doing so), and promptly got overshadowed. It reminds me of C.S. Lewis dying on the same day as John F. Kennedy, meaning few people noticed. And so we add one final item to the list of "Eerie Coincidences Between The Lives Of Farrah Fawcett and C.S. Lewis".

On to Omar Khadr. This was going to be the entire entry until celebrities started dying. Khadr's case lets some people demonstrate that they think Canada should be dictating American policy (emphasis added):

...the argument raised by the federal government's lawyer in telling the courts to butt out of its handling of the Omar Khadr case is chilling...Federal Court Judge James O'Reilly had issued a blunt order "to return to Canada as soon as practicable" the young Canadian languishing in American custody... Justice O'Reilly's finding in April that the government's refusal to demand Mr. Khadr's repatriation was against fundamental justice...
In case you don't get the point, those quotations are from an editorial called, "Lawyer Exposes The Fragility Of Civil Rights". While the editorial makes some interesting points, most of it boils down to a theme that Canada should be able to demand (note that exact word used above) that the United States release accused murderers of their citizens, as long as the accused have a Canadian birth certificate. Sadly, lots and lots of people (in lots and lots of countries) don't seem to understand that this is at its core an issue of national sovereignty.

Omar Khadr is in American custody, facing charges under American jurisdiction for offenses against Americans. I would have liked his case to have been resolved in a more timely manner, but that's a separate issue.

Here's the bottom line on this whole debate: Canada has no business interfering with how the U.S. deals with Mr. Khadr. Imagine for a moment that an American were to come into Canada and commit serious crimes. Suppose that this hypothetical American criminal were then arrested and charged in Canada. If American lawyers were to call us up, demanding that we turn him loose and send him home, we'd see this as a ridiculous attempt at bullying. We'd say that he's our problem now, and that the U.S. can have him back if and when we're done with him.

In short, we'd tell the American lawyers to pound sand, go hug a rope, and / or sit on a pencil and twirl. And rightly so.

The same principle holds true in reverse. As long as Omar Khadr is in American custody, facing charges under American jurisdiction, then the diplomatic thing for Canada to do is butt out. We have absolutely no right to attempt to dictate to America. To even attempt to sway the proceedings by "just asking" (a suggestion contained in the linked editorial) would be an insult.

I acknowledge some exceptions. Rogue states and dictatorships sometimes lock up foreign nationals without valid cause, and in those situations I think it's perfectly appropriate for their home countries to call for their release and repatriation. However, I haven't heard any credible suggestions that Khadr was an innocent kid in the wrong place at the wrong time. By all accounts he was a non-uniformed enemy combatant on a foreign battlefield, which makes him a terrorist by definition, and quite possibly a war criminal. He could have been shot down like a dog on the spot, which in retrospect would have been simpler. Apparently I'm more grateful than he is that they chose to bring him in instead.

Just to deal with the objection that any wayward Daily Kos readers will surely raise at this point: just because you didn't like George W. Bush doesn't make him a fascist. Despite your fantasies, America did not change into a dictatorship between 2000 and 2008, on a slippery slope to dissidents being rounded into prison camps. The leftist delusion to the contrary is disproven by one simple observation. If America were really a draconian dictatorship, then Al Franken, Janeane Garafalo, and everyone whose picture appears on Zombietime would have disappeared in the night long ago. Instead, each of those folks are perfectly free to complain to their heart's content, without fear of jackbooted thugs showing up at the door. That's one of the greatest things about America: you can live in it without having to like it. (Same goes for Canada, incidentally.)

Here's a summation for Canadian terrorist sympathizers: how the U.S. of A. chooses to deal with Omar Khadr is really none of your business. He's their problem now. Go ahead and write all the protest songs about him that you want, but don't expect the grownups to take you seriously.

Hey, is Michael Jackson still dead? I haven't gotten a CNN Breaking News E-Mail Alert about it in like twenty minutes. How am I supposed to know?

Before this dies down (hey, see what I just did there? And it was an accident!), Jackson is going to be reported dead more often than Generalissimo Francisco Franco.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of an unfinished frog pinata. This started out as one of those projects with the kids (or kid, in my case) that sounded good on a dreary weekend afternoon, but for which all involved lost their enthusiasm partway. This thing hung in our kitchen like this (ostensibly "for the paint to dry") for months. The story didn't end there, though. Stay tuned!


RebelAngel said...

I thought it was a planet. Unfinished frog? Do tell!

Is Michael Jackson still dead?

Anonymous said...

I think Jackson and Khadr are gorgeous examples of what happens when people exploit their kids. As is usually the case, I think everyone involved should be horswhipped. Especially the dimwits who thought letting EVERYONE into this country was a good idea. Canada was never perfect, but it was less imperfect than everywhere else. I think people who want should be able to come here and enjoy/contribute to our culture, but that means leaving your old one behind. Your language, your false religion, and especially your unshaven armpits. Oh, yeah, and your wars.