The American Taliban: off too easily

By on January 30, 2002

Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, George W. Bush promised the American public and the rest of the world that those who aided the attacks in New York City and Washington D.C. would pay.
Then came the surprise that one of our own was fighting for the other side. 20-year-old John Walker Lindh was found in Afghanistan complete with a scraggly beard and a menacing glance toward the camera.
His parents, well-meaning as they may be, tried to pass their son off as a troubled kid who got mixed up with the wrong crowd. Yeah- a crowd that flies planes into buildings for fun.
Polls were conducted all over the place about what the public thought his fate should be. Treason? The death penalty? Both of those garnered high votes on the AOL polls.
But recently, Lindh’s charges were made public. And they don’t include any of the above. In fact he got off pretty easily considering the “bad crowd” he was hanging out with.
Newly shaved but with the same fixed stare, Lindh arrived in the U.S. last week ready to face charges of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens, providing support to terrorist organizations and engaging in prohibited transactions with the Taliban.
Now the charges may not be so significant as to carry out a death sentence, but one would think that there would be another charge that would carry something a little more severe.
Like the treason! He committed treason in every sense of the word. He joined up with the Taliban shortly after converting to Islam four years ago.
Of course, converting to Islam in not a crime or a bad thing by any means, but the path he chose to take within his faith led him to commit treason.
Bush promised us results and so far he has carried through on the promise for the most part. But sending Lindh to prison for the rest of his life is not the answer. Why not? There are several reasons.
Number one, by postponing his life we are giving him the freedom to sit and plot against his captors and the country in which he is imprisoned. Incidents of violence happened in prisons all the time and there is no guarantee he will not cause a problem.
Number two, who is going to pay for him to be locked up for the rest of his life? His parents? Not likely. The American people, the very same people that he plotted to kill, will be paying for his nightly dinners, his therapy sessions and his recreation equipment.
At twenty years old, he is likely to live for another 50 or so years. That is thousands of plates of food and clean towels for after his shower.
Some people against giving Lindh the death penalty say that his suffering will be greater if he is locked behind bars for the rest of his life.
People like him do not deserve to be in a facility in which he will get access to TV sets, computers, basketball courts, weight training equipment and warm blankets.
All that is probably more than he had in Afghanistan. That is smart. Let’s reward the guy with better accommodations than he had before he was arrested.
Being put to death by the country he abandoned and now hates would suit him just fine.


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