After five years of imprisonment and George W. Bush's "enhanced interrogation techniques," the man who once drove Osama bin Laden's car was sentenced by a panel handpicked by the Pentagon to 5 1/2 years. Since he gets credit for time already served, that makes him eligible for release in 5 months. His case is subject to mandatory review by a Pentagon official who can shorten the sentence, but is prohibited from extending it. Prosecutors were seeking a sentence of 30 years to life.
Bush says simply that we will not release anyone who still poses a threat. Just ignore the ruling of his own concocted military commission, and keep the man locked up 'till he dies. Some "rule of law."
Hamdan said he worked as a driver to support his family. He has a 4th-grade education and two daughters. He needed a job.
Bush says that makes him one of the "worst of the worst."
The handpicked panel of military jurists seem to disagree. The lead judge told Mr. Hamdan, "I hope the day comes that you return to your wife and daughters and your country, and you're able to be a provider, a father, and a husband in the best sense of all those terms."
Mr. Hamdan responded: "God willing."
It might be understandable if Republicans are upset by the verdict and the sentence. The case was chosen to be the first prosecution because it was a "slam-dunk." In the end, Hamdan was convicted only of what he admitted to from the very beginning: he drove a car for someone because he needed a job. That someone happened to be Osama bin Laden. So he provided "material support for terrorism: personnel; himself."
But the general Republican mindset is unforgivable. Most of them, even those not quite bold enough to say it, believe exactly what this commenter wrote in response to a story about the sentence at ABC News:
Don't get me wrong- I love this country. But I hope that Obama gets elected, has 'peace talks' with the terrorists and with his foreign policy naivety- the US is bombed even worse- and all the liberals shut up. Don't you think there is a reason Iraq is wanting Obama in power? Shouldn't that scare everyone? Doesn't anyone question why things are more peacefull then they have ever been- in anticipation of Obama's election when terrorism can run wild and free without any repercussions?
I'm sure that sentiment is shared by many Republicans, including several in Congress who would love to say so explicitly, but worry that making their longing for another attack on America known would jeopardize their political careers. There may be some so peeved that they can't contain themselves, and we may hear about some slips in the next few days.
But that is exactly what is on many of their minds: "I hope the U.S. is bombed even worse - so liberals will shut up."
Another commenter, echoing my general thoughts on the whole matter of prosecuting this driver while doing absolutely nothing to find the persons actually responsible says:
Would it make you feel better if we put Bin Laden's maid on the rack and tore her to pieces? Why not just grab some brown people at random at that point? The administration got everything they wanted in terms of ground rules for these proceedings and they STILL got their butts kicked. To you that means the dreaded "liberals" did something wrong, when it SHOULD tell you that they didn't actually have any evidence against this person.
Still another sensible reader responds to a comment subsequently deleted by ABC for being an ad hominem attack:
["You libs are stupid and very stupid. You are pushing a stupid idea that we should just give people time outs for killing those people in New York."]
NO, stupid is trying to hold every goat herder responsible for what a few people in their country did. Stupid is knee-jerk actions of killing 10's of thousands of innocents because a few killed hundreds of us. Does keeping this slob in prison for the rest of his life help any of you? Does destroying our country, our values, help anyone other than Bin Laden?
There is no doubt that there will be examples of other posts all over the web by completely sincere Republicans wishing another attack on their own nation just so liberals will shut up and quit talking about the rule of law, unprovoked aggressive war in Iraq, future unprovoked aggressive war on Iran, and warrantless surveillance of Americans in the push for a total police state -
I'm just too sick to my stomach to go looking for them.
By JC Garrett
JC Garrett is a freelance writer and Constitutional scholar from the piney-woods of East Texas.
Mr. Garrett owns and operates an independent recording studio, plays several instruments, writes, sings, and produces music.
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