I have a serious issue with this huge compensation award to Omar Khadr, and the flimsy excuse that he was just a child or boy soldier. Romeo Dallaire stated on national television, “a child is a child is a child? I have a real problem with that statement. I can’t claim to have been a boy soldier but certainly I was a boy sailor, and when I joined the Royal Navy I left childhood behind.
I joined the Royal Navy in 1955 at age 15 and was classified as a Boy Seaman, after one year of training at HMS Ganges I was posted to the Far East. I acted as an armed escort on convoy duties and on the trains running between Penang and Singapore. I carried a 303 rifle and a clip of five rounds of ammo. While I never had to fire my weapon in anger, there is no doubt I was armed and dangerous. At the Battle of Jutland a 15 year boy seaman was killed at his post and later posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. I fail to see a difference between Khadr and our own boy soldiers/sailors. While I didn’t have the wisdom of age, I certainly knew why I was there and what I was doing. I certainly did not consider myself a child. As the question of Canadian citizen/constitutional rights has been raised. Allow me to say, I was a British subject whilst in the Royal Navy and have since served in the Canadian Forces, and I’m Canadian citizen, for more than 42 years. To claim he was only a child/boy soldier carries no weight with me. However, the killing an allied soldier carries a great deal of weight, and because he was tortured as a POW does not excuse his actions.
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