A military judge has thrown out the charges against Gitmo detainee Omar Khadr. The decision hinged on how Khadr was classified.
Andy McCarthy is sorting through the ruling. Bottom line:
Briefly, an enemy combatant can be any enemy soldier. Such a combatant is unlawful if he has not comported with the laws of war — including belonging to a regular army, wearing a uniform, carrying weapons openly, and not targeting civilians. It should have been easy enough to do this with al Qaeda detainees. If it really has not been done, however, that could be a big problem since it would presumably necessitate re-doing all of the combatant status review tribunals before commissions could go forward.
The government is going to appeal. That, too, could be problematic according to the defense, which says they have only 72 hours to do so and the appellate court for commissions has not been constituted yet.
We don’t know enough facts yet to make an assessment of what’s going on here. Yet, if things are as the defense claims — and it bears remembering that very often they are not — this would be a demonstration of monumental incompetence. Let’s hope that’s not the case.
You will hear much about how Khadr was an innocent teen in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I remind you of the story behind Omar Khadr here.
[Omar]is in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay for his alleged role in an ambush of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan last summer. Omar is accused of lobbing the hand grenade that killed Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer, a 28-year-old medic with the U.S. Special Forces.
“That wasn’t a panicky teen-ager we encountered that day,” Sergeant First Class Layne Morris of South Jordan, Utah, who lost his right eye in the ambush, told the Boston Globe last month. “That was a trained al-Qaida who wanted to make his last act on earth the killing of an American.”
Speer left behind a wife and two children, ages 3 and 11 months. Just days before his murder, Speer had selflessly walked into a minefield to rescue two wounded Afghan children.