It only took five years, but the Battle of O’Hare has finally wound down and the United States has secured a victory! Jose Padilla was convicted today of all charges involving his plan to launch a massive dirty bomb terrorist attack in —
No, that’s not true. I mean, there was a dirty bomb attack planned, somewhere, by somebody —
No. That’s not exactly true, either. Well, there might have been an attack, but . . . John Ashcroft said . . . well, it made people feel safer anyway, to catch this person who may have thought about doing this.
Mr. Padilla was held in custody since May of 2002, and that is, no doubt, the reason that this dirty bomb was not detonated. Anyway, after being held without charges for most of those five years, the government finally found something that they could give as a reason to hold Padilla; you know, actual charges. No, they didn’t have anything to do with this dirty bomb that Mr. Ashcroft warned us of back in 2002, but they sounded pretty good to Americans hungry for some kind of victory in the “War on Terror.”
O’Hare has now begun rebuilding after this battle and should be servicing flights again soon.
Estela Lebron, Padilla’s mother, said outside the courthouse: “The winner is George Bush.”
If this is a grand victory in the war on terror, I do not look forward to seeing what a defeat looks like.
That article was found via Andrew Sullivan, who adds:
In the outrage some of us have expressed with respect to Padilla’s fate, it’s worth stating a few things that are often left unsaid. Defending Padilla’s rights as an American citizen to a fair trial is not the same as believing that terrorist plotters and cells should not be aggressively investigated and followed. It isn’t to say that we don’t have a legitimate interest that terrorists captured in a genuine battlefield in a foreign land be taken hors de combat. It is to say that if the war is to be conducted against American citizens and anywhere in the world, then such citizens must retain the protection of the Constitution and habeas corpus. It is to say that prisoners of war should be treated in accord with the Geneva Conventions.
It is to say that the power to wiretap by the executive must have a judicial check on it, to prevent abuse. It is to say that torture – under any euphemism – must become illegal again and taboo. It is to say that the purpose of imprisoning terror suspects is to prevent terror crimes and attacks, and punish crime and acts of war, not to create a pool of torture subjects for the purpose of intelligence gathering.