Osama driver guilty of top war crimes

We’ve convicted a war criminal. A military tribunal in Guantanamo has found Osama Ben Laden’s driver guilty of war crimes. At the expense of Salim Ahmed Hamdan’s fate, I’m thrilled at this development. Look at the reach of what we consider war crime! This was Osama’s driver. Did the Nuremberg prosecutors go after the Nazi drivers? Were Göring’s or Goebbels’ drivers put on trial? The implications are going to be broad. For one, both Iraq and Afghanistan are illegal wars. Will anyone who’s carted a weapon for those engagements be considered guilty of killing over a million civilians?

Second, putting a Hamdan before a military tribunal is itself a war crime. Those conducting the trial are guilty. And what’s come up as evidence in the trial, is proof of further US crimes: rendition, illegal detention, torture. Fantastically, by asking the judge to consider confessions made under torture, the military prosecutors concede that they used torture. Documented. Admitted. This trial provides the discovery for the next.

You might feel sympathy for our soldiers who may decry they are only following orders. That defense may have gotten Commandant Klink and Sergeant Shultz off the hook, I can’t remember. But it didn’t cut amnesty for the Nuremberg defendants. In fact it defined the degree to which human beings are personally responsible for carrying out the immoral instructions of their leaders.

The split decision by the jury of military officers may reflect that they can see the same judgment might apply to their service, but their partial consideration is not going to save them.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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2 Responses to Osama driver guilty of top war crimes

  1. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    The driver of get-away cars in bank robberies are considered responsible for the robberies, too. One can bet this is the angle that Conservative partisans will be arguing the case.

    Of course, none of that explains why the men held at Guantanamo are being held by the US military where the US government is treating its military-held POWs neither as civilians, nor as POWs of war. What the government has done is unilaterally thrown out all international standards and created a third class of prisoners with neither the rights of civilians nor the rights of soldiers. They have created a third class of prisoners that the US government has declared can be tortured and broken, just so long as the US government declares that the torture is not really torture, even though the entire world knows that it really is.

    With the declaration of this third class category of prisoner without any civilian or military rights, the US government thinks that it can use its sleight of hand trick to abolish all human rights when it feels like doing so. The ‘democratic’ government of the US seemingly resents not being able previously to act as their despotic crony dictator friends are able to do with their prisoners, or as kings of old once did with them in the past.

    The torture of these prisoners is key to the US government, not their conviction, which is merely an aside to them. They simply want the ability to destroy people at will using torture, which is what torture is actually designed for, not to obtain information as claimed by the Conservative apologists for this terrorism.

    All Americans have to understand that there is an abusive personality type in modern society that simply supports torture of other people. They like the sadism involved. Many of these people are old bird hunting rich loafs like Dick Cheney, religious perverts, and gun toting thugs who have done a tour of duty in the more rabid sections of the police and Marines. That is a large group in the US who almost in Pavlovian manner simply want to hurt other people, innocent or otherwise.

    Combine this with the ingrown racism of these thugs (after all, their first victims with this new grouping of third class prisoners are almost all dark skinned Muslim ‘arab’ types) and we can see how easily it will be to continually expand the third class of right-less victims in the years ahead. Good luck to all of us.

  2. Avatar tony logan says:

    Well, poor Hamdan gets 66 months in prison, of which he has been served most of that already. Of course this was a ‘trial’ where the judge, jury, and prosecution (one and all the same) all say that it matters not whether one is found innocent or guilty, since the US government has reserved ‘the right’ to keep you in jail forever.

    I’m still not sure why they bothered having a ‘trial’ when that is the case? Our ‘democracy’ is an amazing thing is it not, Mr. Kafka? By the time Hamdan gets out, he will haver found that he has been turned into a giant cockroach whose family will only want to keep in his room (a jail cell) to avoid potential embarassment. (I apologize to those who have never read Kafka, and haven’t a clue to what I am talking about? Things are like that in Wonderland.)

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