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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Everyone remember John Walker Lindh, the 'american taliban?'
With Bush nearing his end of office, an effort is being made to gain amnesty.
I looked over a website devoted to his release.
It makes some arguments, but fails to address one issue.
True, americans have gone overseas to fight in other country's conflicts.
I've known some of them. I met Provo Willliam 'Liam' Quinn in San Francisco fighting extradition for shooting a english policeman.I thought then, and now Old Liam was a little disingenuous about claiming innocence, and the neccessity of the very act.Liam was one of those dragons my great grandmother warned me about.
And I was aware of Lori Berenson, who got caught up in Peruvian politics and wound up imprisoned wehn her 'friends' proved as unsavoury as the Fujimori regime.
I've witnessed many friends in the environmental movement murdered, falsely arrested, beaten and harrassed.

And then there is John, who converted to Islam and decided to inteject himself in the affairs of another country half a world and half a millenium seperated from his California home.
Now he says he's learned more about the taliban, regrets joining them. His supporters cite evidence Ashcroft railroaded him into a 20 year prison term for committing no real crime.

Well, I remember the judge in his case. Lindh's people claimed he did nothing overtly against the United States.
The judge correctly pointed out he didn't do anything FOR his country either.
We have military personel, civilians doing prison time for crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. I doubt those ( mostly young) people had a full grasp of what they were comitting themselves to beyond the 'ARMY STRONG' recruiting ads from the same people who sell us toothpaste.
So I look at poor John, think him a dumb kid from a classic 'woo woo' California family who ran off to play arabian nights not unlike some other kid enlising in the Marine Corps with a not fully formed idea of military service ( did any of us who served?)
I'm sorry, but my personal viewpoint is he doesn't deserve a pardon any more than those other young people.
 

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Freedom is governed by laws, tyranny by dictates.

If he committed no crime then why should he be in prison. Just because one does something unpleasant for someone else does not determine the need for a punishment...if so we would all be in prison.

I find what he did distasteful but it wasn't a crime.....where is the freedom for all of us if he is in prison when he committed no crime?

noble
 

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Lindh left the United States—where he was raised in the lap of luxury—and went halfway around the world to train with an enemy organization. The Taliban was one of the most vicious and vile organizations to walk the earth. Then he fought with the Taliban on the front lines against American forces. He continued to fight even when he could have surrendered. He was implicated in the death of CIA agent Spann.

I reject every comparison of Lindh to our troops—the comparison is infuriating and it is stupid. He’s nothing but a rich little punk. If he’s an American, he’s a traitor by every meaning of the word. If he’s a Taliban fighter, then he’s an enemy combatant. Either way, he’s scum.

As far as I’m concerned, he should have been stood up against a wall and dusted off. Then his mommy and daddy could fly over and pick up his body. That’s what his buddies in the Taliban would have done.

I hope he rots in prison.
 

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Strange argument, but consistent

So I look at poor John, think him a dumb kid from a classic 'woo woo' California family who ran off to play arabian nights not unlike some other kid enlising in the Marine Corps with a not fully formed idea of military service ( did any of us who served?)
I'm sorry, but my personal viewpoint is he doesn't deserve a pardon any more than those other young people.
If you are saying that Lindh and everyone that enlisted in the U.S. military should be pardoned from their obligation, I would agree.
 

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Lindh left the United States-where he was raised in the lap of luxury-and went halfway around the world to train with an enemy organization. The Taliban was one of the most vicious and vile organizations to walk the earth. Then he fought with the Taliban on the front lines against American forces. He continued to fight even when he could have surrendered. He was implicated in the death of CIA agent Spann.

I reject every comparison of Lindh to our troops-the comparison is infuriating and it is stupid. He's nothing but a rich little punk. If he's an American, he's a traitor by every meaning of the word. If he's a Taliban fighter, then he's an enemy combatant. Either way, he's scum.

As far as I'm concerned, he should have been stood up against a wall and dusted off. Then his mommy and daddy could fly over and pick up his body. That's what his buddies in the Taliban would have done.

I hope he rots in prison.
In Mufti's response is so "on target" it deserved a second read. So, here ^ it is!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
noble, I refer you to your own french Dryfuss case,the unfortunate jewish officer accused of treason. Anti semitism in France was , and by some accounts, is just as virulent as in nazi Germany. Dryfuss was viewed as less than french, and therefore a traitor.
Westerners who have embraced islam, or born into it are all potential Dryfusss with today's conflict.
It's unfortunate, profiling no less than kids wearing bagy pants.But, they are also no less obligated to State loyalty as I. When you assume a islamic based world view, and begin looking at your country from outside, not part of it, you are defacto abandoning part of your rights and obligations as citizen of that assembly.
And not a few have, either through outright acts of terror, or joining the Taliban as did Lindh and another american: or promoting a islamic world view as does another woo woo californian turned islamic cleric.
I certainly haven't attacked stealth bomber bases because they were used against serbs because of religious commonality.
No, Lindh's crimes were real.We put people in prison to protect society. That is the fundamental reason, even if others come into play.Lindh demonstrated that threat.
You may want to look at an american series ( it even takes place in France for several episodes) called BAND OF BROTHERS, about the 82 airborne. In one episode, an american finds himself talking with a german-american POW who's family returned and he wound up in the Wermacht, though growing up in the same Washington town.
I don't think he was summarily shot. But I don't think he was rapatriated to Walla Walla with a ticker tape parade either.
 

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I don't know what Lindh did...

...but neither does anyone else, not under the climate he was arrested and tried in. I do know that when this all began he was breaking no laws. We must also remember that the Taliban were put into power by America as was Saddam and many others that were later declared enemies (of course I'm being greatly simplistic with this statement, it was a complicated time). All of this make Lindh's situation very complicated which is why I used "if" so often in my post....I really don't know.

France has much to be ashamed of concerning WW II. Most of France was not occupied by the Germans but were willing participants just as America was a willing participant in the rise to power of Hitler. This is a part of History that neither side likes to speak of or teach in History class.

I wasn't around at that time so blame no one...I just wish we could all learn from our past mistakes but it seems we just keep repeating them...your country and mine.

noble
 

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...but neither does anyone else, not under the climate he was arrested and tried in. I do know that when this all began he was breaking no laws. We must also remember that the Taliban were put into power by America as was Saddam and many others that were later declared enemies (of course I'm being greatly simplistic with this statement, it was a complicated time). All of this make Lindh's situation very complicated which is why I used "if" so often in my post....I really don't know.

France has much to be ashamed of concerning WW II. Most of France was not occupied by the Germans but were willing participants just as America was a willing participant in the rise to power of Hitler. This is a part of History that neither side likes to speak of or teach in History class.

I wasn't around at that time so blame no one...I just wish we could all learn from our past mistakes but it seems we just keep repeating them...your country and mine.

noble
Exactly what did America do to cause Hitler to rise to power? They did not resist as actively as they could have (during a severe economic depression), I'll concede.

Lindh was fighting in a military operation AGAINST American soldiers, no matter how your doctorship wants to sugar coat it. No sympathy here. (We won't even get into the horrifically rigid dictatorship he and his want to impose everywhere. I'm not an attorney, but I wonder if treason charges weren't possible.)
 

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Anybody who stayed with the Taliban after 9/11 is a war criminal and doesn't deserve any sympahy.

Lindh was also part of a big bunch of terrorists who feigned surrender, then turned on us and killed a lot of people, including an FBI agent. He should have been executed for treason.
 

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Hitler came to power in a time of complete economic breakdown in Germany.

Exactly what did America do to cause Hitler to rise to power? They did not resist as actively as they could have (during a severe economic depression), I'll concede.

Lindh was fighting in a military operation AGAINST American soldiers, no matter how your doctorship wants to sugar coat it. No sympathy here. (We won't even get into the horrifically rigid dictatorship he and his want to impose everywhere. I'm not an attorney, but I wonder if treason charges weren't possible.)
He restored the economy through commissioning public works such as highways and dams...as well as rebuild and re arm the German military. Where do you think the money for all of this came from? It didn't come from Germany for they had non.

I tolerate others opinions which is what we should all do in a civilized environment. Try to remember that the ones who told you all about Lindh are the same that told you all about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that weren't there, The 9/11 connection with Iraq, there was non, there is no global warming (stated at the time of these events) and the American Economy is doing well.

If we can't believe someone when they tell us what we don't want to hear then we can't believe them when they say something we want to hear. A liar is a liar so can never be trusted. As I said...I don't know so wont say you're wrong. If he commited these acts then he is in the right place. If what he did was not against the law then prison should not be an option for him......I don't know.

noble
 

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Try to remember that the ones who told you all about Lindh are the same that told you all about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that weren't there, The 9/11 connection with Iraq, there was non, there is no global warming (stated at the time of these events) and the American Economy is doing well.
Then just consider the facts that are not in dispute. Lindh trained in two terrorist training camps. In a letter to his father he said that the attack on the U.S.S. Cole which killed 17 U.S. Sailors was "justified". He was captured with a group of enemy combatants who were fighting U.S. forces. Immediately after capture he was defiant declaring that he was Taliban. We can quibble over the unknown details, but to me it is hard to conclude that he was anything other than what is advertised based on what we do know.

As someone else said, he gets no sympathy from me. If anything he should be thankful that his captors didn't treat him the way al-Qaeda or the Taliban treats Americans that they capture. Of course if they had this whole argument about amnesty would be a moot point, wouldn't it?

Cruiser
 

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I've been giving this a lot of thought.

And have checked some facts on the Internet. The man was never accused or suspected of killing anyone even during the prison break. He was accused of having knowledge of plans to attack the guards. He was not accused of treason because this is very difficult to prove in court and in trying to do so his Lawyers would have made public American financing and involvement with the Taliban pre 9/11. The state thought it better to make a deal, accuses him of lesser offenses and agreed to 20 years.

Since everything he did took place outside American territory and not considered illegal where his actions took place it is unclear if he really broke any U.S. laws. I believe he did break international laws so am coming closer to the opinion that he should be sentenced for something....but that is what a forum is all about. We exchange views and knowledge and learn from each other....perhaps change the thinking of the other side.

These have been terrible times for the world so its about time we put an end to all this and continue to advance in peaceful ways.

noble
 

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Since everything he did took place outside American territory and not considered illegal where his actions took place it is unclear if he really broke any U.S. laws.
He had foreknowledge of the attack on the facility where he was held captive. He didn't tell anybody about it. He was still considered to be an American citizen. That's a textbook conspiracy case, which is what he was initially charged with. From what I read, the US attorney's office didn't want his mistreatment to come out in court, so they plead him out to a few lesser charges.
 

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This is where the world has a differing opinion.

He had foreknowledge of the attack on the facility where he was held captive. He didn't tell anybody about it. He was still considered to be an American citizen. That's a textbook conspiracy case, which is what he was initially charged with. From what I read, the US attorney's office didn't want his mistreatment to come out in court, so they plead him out to a few lesser charges.
The attack took place by combatants against other combatants in a war zone in another country...doesn't sound like conspiracy to me. A military attack was launched against the Taliban therefore it is clear the U.S. considered the Taliban as a military force not to mention they were the legally recognised governing authority of the country invaded.

Ergo from above these being held captive were P.O.W.'s. International law recognises the right for P.O.W.'s to try to escape therefore, legally no laws were broken. The problem arises when Bush tries to to use rhetorical terminology by calling some of them Illegal Combatants thus stripping them of their rights. A practice that has not been recognised as a legal event by the international community and now your own courts are refusing to accept this practice.

It is clear that he did break laws when he transgressed Pakistani territory to engage in legally unrecognized military training.

As I said: complicated but he is probably in the right place but was judged by the wrong court.

noble
 

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noble uses facts, reaches rational conclusion.

Anybody who stayed with the Taliban after 9/11 is a war criminal and doesn't deserve any sympahy.
The Taliban are not soldiers. They are criminals, bandits, pirates, spies. They cannot be prisoners of war.
There is such a thing as a war criminal that cannot be a prisoner of war? How exactly does that work?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I started this thread, not to air my opinion, but to examine this curious end of term amnesty tradition.
Amnesty, or foregiveness to use a religious term, implies the offender is no longer a threat to society, has attoned, is given humanitarian release because of health or family issues.
How many fighers were released only to renew their participation in attacks on our people?Lindh has not made an outright denunciation ot the Taliban, or demonstrated any allegiance to his country, He had ample opportunity to renounce his citizenship and did not.
I see him as a personal risk, and a symbolic one. There are not a few westerners, including another american who have embraced this 'jihad.' Those inidviduals, and their non western comrades need to understand our punishments are not mere whim.
 
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