Every once in a while, something happens in our criminal justice system that makes me shudder.
Slated to be released (three years early) from his supermax federal prison sentence, John Walker Lindh – known to most as “American Taliban,” and to his fellow terrorists as Abu Sulayman al Irlandi, which means father of a man of peace of Ireland – will finally regain his freedom. Despite having been charged with ten felony counts, including murder but mostly in relation to weapons and terrorism, he received only 20 years in prison.
Never mind the absurdly lax sentence – the question at hand is: what happens now? And what will happen to the dozens of other Americans-turned-terrorists who will be released in the next 5 or so years, after having served all their comparable sentences?
Some have suggested the best approach is to have a parole officer who is conservatively Muslim but not radical serve as a mentor. While a very positive and reasonable approach, some part of me revolts that he is going to be released back into American society. When considering the fact that DACA Dreamers are being deported for minor things like driving without a license, the injustice of someone who doesn’t even want to live in America being let back into the country is jaw-dropping.
Why should someone who is actively opposed to American life be released from prison into the country he hates? National security concerns aside, we should take his opinions into account. He hates America, so why should he have to stay here, especially when people who actually want to be here are being deported?
He’s served his time; he’s paid the price for his crime. This country already has a tarnished track record when it comes to indefinite internments for terrorists, both at Abu Ghraib and CIA black sites around the world. He should be released into a country that he would find livable. Afghanistan sounds great.
Since most accounts of his behavior while incarcerated point to him still being devoted to Islam, it seems his sentence was less than rehabilitative. So let’s all just let him live his life, in a country that doesn’t embody evil to him.