The rotten father who reared a son who betrayed his country, a son who wouldn’t even use his father’s name until he got in trouble and needed help, is whining that his poor, innocent, dear boy should be released. From the OpEd page of :
Bin Laden’s Gone. Can My Son Come Home?
By Frank R. Lindh
Published: May 21, 2011
ON the evening of May 1, we learned that Osama bin Laden had been killed. The following dawn, I left my house in the Bay Area to catch a bus to Oakland International Airport. I flew to Indianapolis for a scheduled visit with my son, John Walker Lindh, at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.
I love my son. I enjoy our periodic visits and our weekly telephone calls, but this visit felt different. “If Bin Laden is dead,” I kept thinking, “why can’t John come home?”
A convert to Islam, John was found, unarmed and wounded, in a warlord’s fortress in northern Afghanistan in December 2001. He was subjected to physical and psychological abuse — a precursor to the mistreatment of many prisoners, in both Afghanistan and Iraq, by the American military during the George W. Bush era. Marines took a photograph of John, blindfolded, bound and naked. It was published and broadcast worldwide.
In post-9/11 America, John became a symbol of “the other.” He was called the American Taliban. A traitor. Detainee No. 1 in the war on terrorism.
The answer for the distraught Mr Lindh is this: yes, your son can come home . . . in 2022, when the twenty year sentence to which he agreed has been served.
The elder Mr Lindh would have us believe that Sulayman al-Faris, the name that young Mr Lindh used while in Afghanistan, or Abu Sulayman al-Irlandi, the name he apparently appears to prefer in prison, was really just an innocent lad, and his decision to join the Taliban was “rash and blindly idealistic, but not sinister or traitorous.”
Yet, what would the young Mr Lindh say about his decision? He wrote a (bad) poem, which has been published, saying in part:
Like blight they spread from crags to plains
To hilly dusty turf
To rocky lunar landscapes ‘neath
The rooftop of the earth
They hid behind the highest clouds
To fly as swift as sound
With daisy cutters cluster bombs
And spies upon the ground
Their leader stepped out swaggering
Declaring a crusade
He called the world to follow him
And most of them obeyed
For wolves may foam and bark and bite
And gnash and gnaw and hiss
But if a sheep should dare bite back
He’d be a terrorist
He signed it Abu Sulayman al-Irlandi, Detainee #001, Ramadan 1431. Ramadan 1431 began on the evening of Tuesday, 10 August 2010, so this isn’t something he wrote early in his captivity and has since eschewed.
The elder Mr Lindh is selling one story, and perhaps he even believes it, but what his poorly reared son is saying, directly, does not match the story his understandably upset father wrote in the Times. The younger Mr Lindh has, of course, freedom of speech, and can say whatever he wishes, and we have the freedom to take him at his word.
Not that it matters: “Sulayman al-Faris” admitted, in a signed statement, that he committed felonies against the United States, in a plea bargain in which he agreed to a twenty-year prison term, to avoid being tried on charges which could have resulted in three life sentences plus an additional ninety years. Perhaps the younger Mr Lindh’s attorneys didn’t think that they could beat enough of the charges to get him a sentence shorter than two decades, or perhaps “Sulayman al-Faris’s” iron will to jihad didn’t include fighting in court, but, in the normal course of events, the elder Mr Lindh will get to see his son, alive and free, something he might well never have seen.
The elder Mr Lindh concluded:
John was a scapegoat, wrongly accused of terrorism at a moment when our grieving country needed someone to blame because the real terrorist had gotten away. Now that Bin Laden is dead, I hope President Obama, and the American people, can find it in their hearts to release John, and let him come home. Ten years is enough.
Uhhh, no. He was not “wrongly accused of terrorism,” but signed a legal document which agreed that his actions constituted “supplying services to the Taliban, by fighting in support of the Taliban, constituted a felony that involved, or was intended to promote, a federal crime of terrorism within the meaning of U.S.S.G. § 3A1.4, in that the Taliban’s control of Afghanistan, and the activities of those individuals fighting in support of the Taliban, provided protection and sanctuary to al Qaeda, a designated foreign terrorist organization,” and that “the Government would so prove at trial by proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Mr Lindh, your son’s sentence is almost half over. He served an evil man and an evil cause, one in which he willingly participated to attack his own country and to try to spread Islamist oppression over the local people of Afghanistan. That, absent unforeseen events, your son will return to you is something that many fathers cannot say about their sons, due to the Taliban, due to al Qaeda, due to the causes for which your son fought.
I found the cited article through a blurb which had just the title: “Bin Laden’s Gone. Can My Son Come Home?” My first impression was that this was by a Cindy Sheehan type, whose son had volunteered for the military and was now serving in Afghanistan. I was going to point out that the son’s service was brave and noble and voluntary.
[UPDATE (JH): Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion made this the Post of the Day]