Wrist-slap justice

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 naif. He is a camp-trained al-Qaeda member whom a Guantanamo 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 had 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 Sept. 11, his orange jumpsuit certainly does. And for this, Guantanamo’s supposed Torquemadas gave Hamdan just 66 months in jail, minus 61 months already served. Hamdan could be free by New Year’s Eve.

Tribunal judge Captain Keith Allred told Hamdan he hoped he could "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."

"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 placed 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, Guantanamo 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, Islamo-fascist detainees must remain sidelined. This is Warfare 101.

As for Hamdan, the toughest sentence he faced was life. He should have been executed. Life is too lenient for those who love death. The firing squad or gallows should await al-Qaeda agents who helped slaughter 52 on London’s subways, 191 on Madrid’s trains, 202 in Bali, 2,979 on 9-11, and countless thousands in Iraq.

Also, jailing Hamdan and his buddies makes them hostage bait. (e.g. "If you want to see your kindergartners again, put Hamdan and our other brothers on a flight to freedom. We will fly the jet. Al-Qaeda has many pilots.")

Rather than execute terrorists, Israel imprisons them. Terrorists, in turn, occasionally kidnap hostages to trade for Israeli-held Islamo-killers. Thus, in January 2004, Israel swapped 400 Palestinian and 30 Lebanese prisoners for the remains of three Israeli soldiers whom Hezbollah had abducted in October 2000. Last July 16, Israel switched a Lebanese convicted murderer and four live Hezbollah terrorists for two dead Israeli soldiers.

Al-Qaeda types would be far harder to exchange if they were executed, cremated, and stored in urns. Better yet, dispatch their ashes to the nearest garbage dump.

Some worry that such executions would martyr al-Qaeda agents and anger Muslim radicals. But where exactly are these happy Muslim extremists we would enrage?

Salim Hamdan’s five-month Caribbean sojourn is America’s reward for going soft, supple, and effeminate toward our Islamo-fascist enemies. Eisenhower never would have tolerated this nonsense. A manly War on Terror would have avoided this mess. Governing in high heels blocks the blood to men’s brains.


(Deroy Murdock is a columnist and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. E-mail him at deroy.Murdock(at)gmail.com)