From Ranger Against War. Comedy, perhaps, but David Hicks will pay dearly for the joke.
They brought one Pinch, a hungry lean-faced villain,
A mere anatomy, a montebank,
a threadbare juggler, and a fortune teller,
A needy, hollow-eyed, sharp-looking wretch,
A living-dead man
* * *
There’s none but asses will be bridled so.
Why, headstrong liberty is lash’d with woe
–The Comedy of Errors (both), Shakespeare
Well, we’re Waltzing Matilda off stage right, but this is truly an off-Broadway show. The David Hicks trial, billed as the first war crimes trial by the U.S. since WWII, was a no-consequence case conducted at a kangaroo court.
In ring one we have David Hicks, Australian citizen carrying a weapon for the Taliban and supposedly working for or trained by al Qaeda. A rifleman! In Afghanistan. [Of course, it is their country, and they do have a right to defense forces. And contrary to the rhetoric, this is not war, and we did invade them, but we’ll put aside those small matters for now.]
Now, the U.S. military invades and Hicks is captured on the battlefield. There is no proof that he did or didn’t fire his rifle. In fact, this is irrelevant, as he was captured and not arrested. [Incidentally, the effective range of the AK 47 is 460 m. To the best of my reckoning, this put America and Americans outside of the range of his rifle.]
So to sum it up, this is the first war crimes trial since WW II, and we have Hicks on center stage, a truly small-time loser. Let’s call him a rifleman for sure, and a terrorist, maybe. One must ask: How is carrying a rifle for the Taliban in Afghanistan an act of terror?
The Israelis get Eichmann, others get Pol Pot or Idi Amin, and the U.S. gets piss ant David Hicks. Sure makes me feel safer knowing Hicks and his rifle have been neutralized. Heckuva job, GWB.
Hicks has been dealt with by the tribunal, and the tribunal has been dealt with by Hicks. The key point of this landmark plea bargain is that the U.S. government will not be liable for nor will Hicks take legal action against the U.S. for torture. According to the Wall Street Journal, “the plea deal requires him to drop maltreatment claims.”
It seems that U.S. policy is what really got the plea bargain. If Hicks was truly the “worst of the worst,” why would our great legal eagles even consider this deal?
The answer is that U.S. policy will not countenance the light of day. The American taxpayers are the losers in these tribunals, since it is our dollars that are financing these secret travesties of justice, playing out in kangaroo courts, with third tier players.
The American taxpayer pays hundreds of millions of dollars for secret prisons, detentions, and renditions, and hundreds of billions to invade countries, and the best we can come up with in Trial #1 is David Hicks, who may or may not have even fired his rifle.
This is not justice, this is a comedy.