A Soft & Squishy Sentence
Dirty deeds go virtually unpunished.


Deroy Murdock

Five months in jail for driving Mr. Bin Laden? Only in America!

Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s former chauffeur, recently won an appallingly light sentence for aiding al-Qaeda. Hamdan’s apologists call him a hapless, innocent motorist. If so, anyone steering a bank-job getaway car is “just a driver.”

Hamdan is no naïf. He is a camp-trained al-Qaeda member who a Guántanamo military tribunal convicted of giving “material support” to America’s chief enemy in the War on Terror. Hamdan transported weapons (including two shoulder-launched missiles with which he was caught), drove and hid bin Laden, and guarded this mass murderer with a machine gun.

Avoiding legitimate work, Hamdan joined al-Qaeda in 1996. He never quit, even after learning that it bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (224 dead, some 5,000 injured) and blasted the U.S.S. Cole (17 killed, 40 wounded). If Hamdan’s hands do not bear the blood of the 2,979 individuals butchered and 7,356 battered on September 11, his orange jumpsuit certainly does. And for this, Guantánamo’s supposed Torquemadas gave Hamdan just 66 months in jail, minus 61 months already served. Hamdan could be free by New Year’s Eve.

“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,” tribunal judge Navy Captain Keith Allred told Hamdan.

“God willing,” Hamdan replied. He waved at the military jurors and said, in English, “Bye bye, everybody.”

As America entwines itself in dainty legal niceties, it grows clearer that we’re not the jailhouse sadists of Leftist lore. In fact, we’re too nice.

What was the Bush administration thinking when it put Hamdan, and soon other Gitmoites, on trial? Why did Congress demand these proceedings? Was the Supreme Court smoking crack when it invited terrorists into U.S. courts and granted them rights under the very constitution they would cash in for sharia law?

America did not try Nazi and Japanese POWs in 1943 and 1944. We sought justice after World War II ended. Likewise, once the War on Terror is finished, we can decide whether, when, and how to release, try, or execute the Guantanameros. (The Pentagon reports that at least 37 freed Gitmoites have resumed jihad. Collectively, they have murdered no fewer than 96. For instance, Guantánamo alumnus Abdullah Salih al-Ajmi detonated himself in Mosul, Iraq on April 26, killing 13 and hurting 42.)

When will the War on Terror end? Ask bin Laden. He started it. He can surrender today. Until then, the civilized world has a moral duty to crush bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and their followers. Meanwhile, Islamofascist detainees must be kept on the sidelines. This is Warfare 101.


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