This WaPo story summarizes the first day of hearing s in the Omar Khadr military commission hearing.  Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was 15 when he allegedly threw a grenade at US Special Forces in a firefight in Afghanistan.  The story’s last paragraph mentions that Army LTC Jon Jackson, Khadr’s defense counsel, passed out during today’s hearings and was taken to the base hospital.  Anyone know if LTC Jackson is OK?

UPDATE:  WaPo reports here that, “[LTC] Jackson responded to a medic’s immediate treatment within 30 seconds, and he was taken by ambulance to a base medical facility. There, doctors determined that he was suffering complications from gallbladder surgery he underwent six weeks ago.”  We wish our colleague a speedy recovery.

10 Responses to “Defense Counsel Passes Out During Khadr Commission Hearing”

  1. soonergrunt says:

    Clueless Dillettante question:
    Khadr is accused of killing a US medic. So my question is this–how is an uneducated Afghan juvenile supposed to tell the difference between a US SF medical sergeant and a US SF weapons sergeant? I don’t remember any of the SF medical guys I met (admittedly only a few guys) who wore a red cross arm band on mission. It seems to me that Khadr killed an enemy Soldier engaged in combat operations, and while I don’t like that he killed a US Soldier, isn’t that his ‘right’ or duty? And isn’t it possible that some spanish or italian ‘judge’ will decide to prosecute some US Soldier for bul**h*t warcrimes and use this to bolster his claim?

  2. Anonymous says:


    It has nothing to do with SFC Speer’s status as a medic. The allegation is that Khadr was an unprivileged belligerent (did not carry arms openly, no command and control structure, no uniform, etc) therefore whether he killed a medic or an infantryman, by killing SFC Speer he committed a war crime.

  3. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    Anon has it. While your reading is one that is a traditional notion of what war crimes can be prosecuted, the US MCA does things a little differently. Basically anyone improperly on the battlefield is liable for traditional crimes at a US MCA military commission.

  4. soonergrunt says:

    Thanks to both No Man and Anon 2047. I understand the rationale now, but that begs the question (or perhaps I just beg the question) that if the MCA is going to prosecute things like this, does that not give license to other parties to ‘creatively’ interpret LLW for the purpose I stated above, using a US servicemember for political fodder? I could just see some troop on pass from Caserme Ederle, Italy getting popped by Carabineri and put on trial.

    I guess my confusion/concern comes from the idea that a lawful resident of a region can resist military occupation, can’t he? I don’t have any use for the Taliban except as doorstops, but they were the guys in charge of Afghanistan when Khadr’s family moved there.
    Why don’t we just keep Khadr’s dumb ass in a POW camp until we leave Afghanistan. I thought the GC allowed a beligerent party to keep POW until the hostilities were complete. Couldn’t we have done that w/o asking anyone?

    This is why I was a pretty good Infantryman, and would’ve sucked as a Lawyer. In my line of work, most things are very straight forward binary choices. Shoot at people/don’t shoot at people, Yell at Private/Don’t yell at Private, and so on.

  5. Charlie says:

    Last time I checked, murder wasn’t a war crime. Even if the weapon used is a grenade, and the victim is a US servicemember. Shouldn’t Khadr have been tried under Afghan law for murder? Alternatly, could we try Khadr in a US federal court for murder under passive personality principle? If a Canadian citizen killed an Afghan in the US with a grenade, could Afghanistan claim jurisdiction and call it a war crime?

  6. Ama Goste says:

    No Man, et al, the best way to stay up to date on the commissions is through Carol Rosenberg (Miami Herald). She has practically lived at GTMO since the commissions began. Here’s her Twitter feed:

  7. soonergrunt says:

    Just to be clear, I don’t give two shits about Omar Khadr. He’s a dirtbag who would either be planting IEDs today or would’ve been killed by now doing so. I just don’t believe that we come out ahead by bending the rules to suit our needs of the moment. Our principles should mean more to us than that.

  8. Gitmo JAG says:

    A note on LTC Jon Jackson – he is one of the Army’s finest trial lawyers. He is respected by all who have practiced with or against him. Polished, unflappable, and committed to his mission.

    Wishing him and his family the best.

  9. Truthspeaker says:

    Sure you don’t.

  10. soonergrunt says:

    Sure you don’t.

    So you have nothing to add, then. Got it.