Battle-hardened American veteran Donnie Bumanglag says he’s wrestled with his conscience for years over whether he did the right thing by saving the life of Omar Khadr.
Bumanglag is wading into the debate over the Trudeau government’s $10.5-million payout to Khadr, who is seen by many as a terrorist who profited from his crimes.
The former elite airborne medic admits his position might not be popular with many Canadians — or even some of his own former comrades-in-arms.
The now 36-year-old says he’s been in the worst combat missions and bought into the ideology.
But he says he doesn’t need to hold any hatred towards anybody anymore, saying “I’m on Team Human now.”
Bumanglag says he has flashbacks to 2002 when he spent hours in the back of a helicopter frantically working on a 15-year-old Khadr, who was on the brink of death from gunshot wounds.
He tells the Canadian Press that Khadr definitely had a will to live and fought for his life.
WATCH: U.S. soldier says courts should have ruled on Omar Khadr payout
Khadr spent several months recovering from his wounds and from the moment he was conscious and able to speak, he began undergoing what were, by most accounts, some of the harshest interrogations the Americans or their proxies had devised.
Later he would be transferred to the “legal black hole” of Guantanamo Bay in October 2002 until his transfer to Canada in 2012, over the objections of the Conservative government of Stephen Harper.
He says he means no disrespect to the family of the soldier Khadr is alleged to have killed with a grenade, or the one who was blinded in one eye.
But he says he’s glad he saved Khadr’s life, saying it just wasn’t his time then, and “that’s war.”
Bumanglag says if anyone says they would go through what Khadr did for $10 million — they’re out of their mind.