Omar Khadr is a Canadian who was captured by US forces in Afghanistan in 2002, tortured, and taken to Guantanamo at the age of 15 making him the youngest person there. (I have written about his case back in 2010 and 2012.) He then spent nearly 13 years there and was tortured repeatedly, then pleaded guilty to a war crime, and was then sent back to Canada to serve the rest of his sentence.
He has just today been released on bail by a judge in Canada who rejected an effort by the Canadian government to keep him imprisoned while he appeals his US conviction of war crimes. Khadr says that he agreed to the war crimes plea just in order to get out of the hellhole that is Guantanamo.
Apart from the fact that the US tortured someone who was a minor and then charged him with war crimes, something that no nation has done to a minor since World War II, what is interesting was the nature of the war crime that he supposedly committed, which was throwing a grenade that killed a US army special forces medic in Afghanistan. So we have a situation where the US invades another country and when the people there fight back, the people resisting a foreign occupying force and targeting members of that occupying force are the ones committing war crimes. This strikes me as a bizarre distortion of that concept. If a foreign army were to occupy the US, would we view a 15-year old boy who takes actions to attack those troops as a terrorist or as a hero?
In some ways this attitude is similar to the policing practices in much of the US. The police can come into your home or stop you in your car and assault you and even try to kill you for no discernible cause, but if you try to resist, it is you who are charged with assault, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.
It is all part of the authoritarian mindset that says that the state has the exclusive right to use force, whether it is legally and appropriately used or not, and anyone who challenges them is the wrongdoer.