In an opinion piece entitled "A Child Soldier, Interrogated and Tried" in the Nov. 22, 2010, issue of the Boston Globe, Law School student Randolph Brickey ('11) discusses the implications of the Oct. 31, 2010, conviction by a military tribunal of a 15-year-old caught up in the 2002 fighting in Afghanistan. The case of Omar Khadr is "far from the only example of how our piecemeal, ad hoc system for prosecuting war on terror detainees collides violently with our values," Brickey says.
Khadr was born in Canada but visited the Middle East several times with his father, who in 2001 left his son, then age 14, with a Libyan militant group in Afghanistan. Khadr lived in a bunker with the group, and in a 2002 battle he was wounded and was subsequently accused of throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier. He was held in Afghanistan and then at Guantanamo Bay.
The military tribunal sentenced Khadr to 40 years in prison for his war crimes, but with a plea agreement he will be free in one more year, bringing his total detention and prison time to 8 years.
The realities of the war on terror are much harder to bear than theoretical debates and hypothetical situations, Brickey says. The precedent set by this case—that children are as accountable to the laws of war as adult soldiers—is not one that most Americans would want to see consistently applied.
To read the entire article in the Boston Globe, click here.