And for the gazillionth time, the CBC (like so many of the painfully useless mainstream media outlets before it) misrepresents the case of one Omar Khadr by claiming -- in this case on tonight's episode of "As It Happens" -- that Khadr is accused of killing an American "medic."
Once and for all, can we set the record straight? Khadr's alleged victim (and there is substantial evidence that Khadr is not even guilty) was not a "medic". Let's let Wikipedia deal with this myth:
Sergeant First Class (SFC) Christopher James Speer (September 9, 1973–August 6, 2002) was a soldier in an American special forces unit, who was mortally wounded during a skirmish in Afghanistan, on July 27, 2002. Speer, who was not wearing a helmet at the time, suffered a head wound from a grenade, and died of his injuries approximately two weeks later.
So, SFC Speer was a "soldier" in a "special forces unit." How ... odd. And, on that day, what sort of "medic"y stuff was he doing? Hmmmmmm ...
On the day of the skirmish he was part of a squad assigned the task of going through the ruins, looking for weapons, and evidence of terrorism.
You know, that doesn't sound very "medic"y to me. What's up with that? What's a "medic" doing digging around for weapons and stuff like that? Ahhhhh ... suddenly, it's clear (emphasis added):
Speer received paramedic training at the Joint Special Operations University, in Hurlburt Field, Florida.
Under international humanitarian law (the law of war), medics are a specially protected class of noncombatants, the killing of which is considered a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions. However, according to Article 24 and Article 40, in order to qualify as noncombatant medical personnel, the individual must display certain insignia. At the time, however, Speer was not acting as a medic, and was not afforded "non-combatant status" under the Geneva Convention.
In other words, Speer was not a "medic" or, at the very least, was not acting in that capacity and had not clearly identified himself as one. Quite simply, Speer was a special forces soldier who just happened to have some paramedic training. Period.
This, of course, doesn't change much of what happened that day, and Khadr should still be put on trial to see exactly what he's guilty of. But it's time to stop portraying Speer as a "medic," which is a blatantly obvious playing of the sympathy card.
Regardless of what Khadr is or is not guilty of, Special Forces Sgt. Christopher Speer was a soldier on the field of combat. Continually describing him simply as a "medic" solely for the sake of tugging at the heartstrings is dishonest and shameful.