About Omar Khadr’s lawyers
This is somewhat fascinating: Dennis Edney, one of Omar Khadr’s Canadian lawyers, thinks the Pentagon’s decision to can Lt.-Cmdr. William Kuebler, Khadr’s American military lawyer and whirling anti-Guantanamo dirvish, “was made in the best interests” of his client.
As much as I respect Kuebler, I have to say there have been times when I’ve wondered if his idealism was working in his client’s best interests. From a piece I wrote for Maclean’s last year:
A plea bargain such as [David] Hicks’ would be one way of breaking the stalemate, and [University of Ottawa professor Craig] Forcese believes it’s the most likely eventual outcome in the case—especially if Khadr “voluntarily assumed certain restrictions on [his] liberty,” which could make the scenario more politically saleable as well. Nate Whitling, an Edmonton lawyer who represents Khadr in Canada, says he’d consider any arrangement that “would get him out of Guantanamo.” But Lt.-Cmdr. William Kuebler, Khadr’s outspoken military lawyer in the U.S., says the refusal of authorities to recognize Khadr as a child soldier leaves little common ground for negotiation. “We think as a matter of law that Omar Khadr, as a former child soldier, is entitled to certain protections,” he says. “The U.S. government rejects that and wants to give him a life sentence, so there’s almost no possibility of coming to any agreement.”
I have no insight into Kuebler’s ouster or the currrent behind-the-scenes political realities of the military commissions. But with Barack Obama in the White House, it seems to me Khadr needs ruthlessly pragmatic legal representation—child soldier, not a child soldier, whatever. Let’s just get him back to Canada. This is in no way a knock against Kuebler, but his well-founded idealism, combined with his well-founded, unceasing and loud opposition to the legal process under which he was attempting to represent Khadr, might not be quite what his former client needs right now.