Omar Khadr. The Enemy Within
The saga of Omar Khadr has troubled a great many Canadians, and not all of us for the same reason.
For some, Khadr has emerged out of the War on Terror as one of Canada’s very own casualties; although one on the other side of the conflict. For these people, Khadr is a child soldier, a pawn used by Al Qaeda in the execution of their continuous campaign of terrorist mayhem.
For others, Khadr is a very dangerous man: a willing warrior in the armies of Al Qaida. In The Enemy Within, Ezra Levant lays out his case for branding Khadr a terrorist, and keeping him out of Canada for as long as possible.
But the enemy within is more than just Khadr himself. Levant takes aim at Khadr’s seemingly-vast legion of supporters, including Judy Rebick, Michelle Sheppard, Thomas Walkoum and others. Each has objected to the trial of Khadr for the wartime murder of Sergeant Christopher Speer, and insisted that Khadr himself is a victim at worst, a hero at best. Levant describes Khadr as a member of a “fifth column” of radical Islamists within Canada, who intend to tear down our liberal democracy – by force of terror if necessary – and replace it with a Muslim theocracy. But by implication it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Khadr’s supporters are enablers of this fifth column, and active participants at worst.
This may or may not be a fair.
If Levant actually intends to ascribe malign intent to these individuals, it’s on this count that he’s mistaken. Frankly, the lack of confidence in liberal democracy and western society demonstrated by people like Shepard, Rebick et al is nothing new. It’s the same old story with an incredibly ironic new twist.
In The End of History, Francis Fukuyama alluded to a sense of historical pessimism that had sunk into varying elements of western political culture in the late 20th century. It can be identified as early as the 1960s, but had become far more pervasive by the 1980s. At the core of that pessimism was a singular, very simple belief: that free liberal societies – as embodied in liberal democracy – weren’t necessarily the destiny of all human societies. Prior to the 1990s, this manifested in a belief that Soviet communism was permanent. It wasn’t merely the left who thought this – this belief was in Henry Kissinger’s mind when he helped establish the detente between the United States and the USSR.
Then the Berlin Wall came down, and those who were searching for an alternative to liberal democracy needed to find a new alternative. Many of them seem to think they’ve found it in the radical Islamic regimes currently existing in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia, and favoured by people like the Khadr family. The moral, political and cultural relativism used to justify a soft stance on the Soviet Union have since been redeployed to convince people that the medieval beliefs of radical Islam are not necessarily inferior to the progressive beliefs of liberal democracy.
And that’s where the cruel ironic twist comes along. Prior to the fall of the Iron Curtain, these individuals could at least pretend that the Soviet Union represented an alternative means of respecting the values these people pretend to hold dear. That was a farce, and anyone who wasn’t actively deceiving themselves knew it, but at least they could pretend.
Today, they’re still deceiving themselves. Even in their approach to topics such as the Arab Spring are predicated on naivete, historical ignorance and just hoping for the best. They conveniently forget that the current Islamofascist regime in Iran came to power by hijacking political uprisings that were remarkably similar to those that have taken place in places like Egypt. Their support for the Arab Spring isn’t a prima facie error, but many of them have ignored the looming influence of Islamofascist sects such as the Muslim Brotherhood. But by the same token, the number of truly sincere democrats driving the Arab Spring at least provides them with some justification to pretend.
With people like Omar Khadr, there is no pretending. The Khadr family have never even provided the illusion of a society providing freedom and justice for all. They’ve made their vision for the world crystal clear: it’s one in which all the peoples of the world have been trampled under the heel of Jihad, and burdened with the yoke of Islamofascism.
Over the decades, these individuals have developed a cache of tools to help them ignore the fundamental realities of individuals such as Khadr. Foremost among them is to adopt a cynical attitude toward the “official” version of nearly anything (unless, of course, they themselves have had a hand in crafting it).
Despite the non-existence of any evidence that Khadr was actually tortured, they continue to cling to the belief that Khadr’s confessions were obtained by torture. Evidence isn’t necessary for them to maintain this belief – Khadr’s claims alone satisfy them. Which makes it much more convenient for them.
Simply put, there’s little doubt in the minds of those who have familiarized themselves with the entirety of the evidence in the Khadr case that Levant’s account of it is entirely accurate. But because so much of it is based on the “official” account of Khadr’s activities, and on the “official” account of his confession, those who insist on backing Khadr will refuse to accept it, no matter what. There is no rational justification for them to do it. They’ll simply refuse.
Fortunately, Ezra Levant didn’t write The Enemy Within to appeal to the Judy Rebicks and Michelle Sheppards of the world. He wrote it to appeal to other people: people to whom Omar Khadr is more than simply an icon representing how allegedly corrupt and barbarous they think the Western world is, but is rather a dangerous individual with blood on his hands; a dangerous individual that, despite the malpractice of too many so-called journalists like Rebick and Sheppard, Canadians have the right to know about.
Patrick Ross is a Contributing Writer for The Propagandist