Clicking on banner ads keeps JWR alive
Jewish World Review Jan. 21, 2002 / 8 Shevat, 5762

Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

No 'Little Boy Lost' -- The Marin, Calif., family of al Qaeda training-camp graduate John Walker has hit a new low. Father Frank Lindh and his wife Marilyn Walker (from whom Lindh is separated) are "disappointed" with the U.S. government's treatment of their 20-year-old son, who was captured on Dec. 1. In a statement released by family-retained attorneys, they complained that they have yet to communicate with him.

They shouldn't complain. They have things a lot better than the families of the some 3,000 Sept. 11 victims who spent the holidays bereft of their loved ones.

Of course, the lack of communication could be Walker's choice. After all, Walker dropped his father's name, which doesn't bespeak closeness. Walker had not contacted his family for six months prior to his capture, which doesn't bespeak good communication. In December, when a CNN interviewer offered to let Walker use his cell phone to call his family, the Taliban vet told the journalist to come back the next day with a laptop.

The family also complained that the government has not allowed Walker access to his lawyers, James Brosnahan and George Harris. This is really choice. Walker's parents apparently thought their son was so adult at age 16 that they sent him off alone to a Middle East trouble spot to study Islam. Four years later, when he's 20 and actually an adult, his parents think it's just outrageous that the government doesn't let them make his decisions.

It is ironic that it took Attorney General John Ashcroft to note that Walker "is entitled to choose his own lawyer." Ashcroft also told reporters that Walker waived his right to a lawyer. Which means Brosnahan and Harris aren't his lawyers.

Then there's the family's gratefulness that they "live in a nation that presumes innocence and withholds judgment until all of the facts are presented. " I guess that's supposed to be the family's way of telling Americans that they have to presume the former Taliban and al Qaeda soldier is innocent.

No, we don't.

A jury has to presume that Walker is innocent, but the public is free to think what it will. A trial will provide information as to Walker's mental state, it will provide Walker with a chance to refute certain allegations and inform a jury whether his actions meet the standards needed to convict on any or all of the charges against him.

That doesn't mean Americans have an obligation to forget what they saw Walker say on CNN. Asked what it was like fighting for the jihad, Walker answered, "It is exactly what I thought it would be."

Americans don't need a trial to believe Walker's admission that he fought for a group that set out to kill American civilians. Many of the dead were near Walker's age. Some were younger. Others left orphans and spouses.

One has to wonder if those people might be alive today if Walker had left the al Qaeda training camp after, according to a criminal complaint written by FBI agent Anne E. Asbury, he learned in June "from one of his instructors that bin Laden had sent people to the United States to carry out several suicide operations."

If he had a moral center that was revolted by the al Qaeda agenda, he could have been a hero. An al Qaeda training manual found by British authorities starts with a pledge "to make (the oppressors') women widows and their children orphans." It calls for "assassinating enemy personnel as well as foreign tourists" and the "removal of those personalities that block the call's path." Walker probably didn't see that manual, but he surely heard the same vile talk.

Walker's parents announced that they "pray for a just resolution of this case." It might be a smarter bet for them to pray for anything but a "just resolution."

Comment JWR contributor Debra J. Saunders's column by clicking here.


01/16/02: Son of Supercar
01/12/02: Beware the European view of the death penalty
01/09/02: Other people's children
01/07/02: It doesn't fly
01/03/02: Going from the Atlantic City Boardwalk to Berkeley
12/31/01: In America, punishment should fit the crime
12/28/01: What I'd like to see in 2002
12/24/01: Don't heckle ink monopolists
12/21/01: Mumia finds safety in numbers
12/19/01 The self-help PBS shopping network
12/17/01 Caught on tape
12/14/01 Know when to hold 'em
12/10/01 Old friends
12/06/01 I read the news today, oh boy
12/03/01 It's not cricket
11/28/01 Admissions and omissions
11/26/01 Guns and abayas
11/21/01 Depraved minds think alike
11/19/01 Guilty, a la carte
11/14/01 Interpreting the entrails of Election 2000
11/12/01 Life and liberty
11/09/01 Safety is as safety does
11/07/01 More hot air on global warming
11/05/01 Bumped Pakistani's molehill
11/01/01 Freedom snuffed out
10/29/01 Give war a chance
10/26/01 Airline bill needs liftoff
10/22/01 The Riordan Principle
10/19/01 Before America gets tired of the war on terrorism
10/17/01 Patriot games
10/15/01 I was a 'McCainiac,' and I have seen the light
10/12/01 University of Censorship's fall semester
10/11/01 Poor little rich boy, Osama
10/07/01 Don't feed Israel to the beast
10/05/01: bin Laden is not our Frankenstein monster
10/04/01: Where no man has gone before
09/26/01: Who's bloodthirsty?
09/26/01: What's to understand?
09/20/01: Barbara Lee's line in the sand
09/14/01: You gotta love this country
09/13/01: ENTER TERROR
09/11/01: You can't clone ethics
09/06/01: NOW's goal: equal rights for women without equal responsibility
08/30/01: What's love got to do with it?
08/24/01: A clean, well-lighted place for junkies
08/20/01: Bush should stand up for justice
08/08/01: Don't give Peace (Dept). a chance
08/03/01: Lose a kid, pass a law
08/01/01: Welcome to France, killers
07/30/01: Why it's easy being green (in Europe)
07/26/01: If disabled means expendable
07/23/01: Condit should not resign
07/18/01: Feinstein should learn her limit
07/16/01: A drought of common sense
07/13/01: The catalog has no clothes
07/05/01: It's Bush against the planet
07/03/01: The man who would be guv
06/29/01: Wheeled, wired and free
06/27/01: O, fearful new world
06/25/01: End HMO horrors
06/21/01: Either they're dishonest or clueless
06/18/01: Freedom is a puff of smoke
06/15/01: In praise of going heavy: Yes, you can take it all
06/13/01: McVeigh: 'Unbowed' maybe, but dead for sure
06/11/01: Gumby strikes back
06/08/01: Los Angeles' last white mayor?
06/07/01: Kids will be kids, media will be media
06/04/01: Draw a line in the sand
05/30/01: Just don't call him a moderate
05/29/01: Operation: Beat up on civil rights
05/24/01: Of puppies, kittens and huge credit-card debts
05/22/01: Bush needs an energy tinkerbell
05/18/01: Divided we stand, united they fall
05/16/01: Big Bench backs might over right
05/15/01: Close SUV loophole
05/11/01: Kill the test, welcome failure
05/09/01: DA mayor's disappointing legacy
05/07/01: If it ain't broken ...
05/03/01: They shoot civilians, don't they?
04/30/01: Executions are not for prime time
04/12/01: White House and the green myth
04/10/01: The perjurer as celeb
04/04/01: Bush bashers don't know squat
04/02/01: Drugging our oldsters
03/30/01: Robert Lee Massie exercises his death wish
03/28/01: Cheney's nuclear reactor
03/26/01: Where California and Mexico meet
03/16/01: Boy's sentence was no accident
03/14/01: Soft money, hard reform
03/12/01: Banks, big credit lines and consumer bankruptcy
03/09/01: Free speech dies in Berkeley
03/02/01: When rats have rights
02/28/01: Move a frog, go to jail?
02/26/01: They knew they'd get away with it
02/20/01: How Dems define tax fairness
02/16/01: The jackpot casino Carmel tribe?
02/14/01: You can fight school success
02/12/01: Hannibal -- with guts this time
02/08/01: A family of jailbirds
02/05/01: Reality's most demeaning TV moments
02/01/01: Justice for the non-Rich
01/26/01: Hail to the chiefs of D.C. opinion
01/24/01: A day of mud and monuments
01/22/01: Diversity, division, de-lovely D.C.
01/19/01: Parties agree: Give back the money
01/17/01: Get tough with the oil companies, or forget pumping more Alaskan crude
01/15/01: Mineta better pray that no attending confirmation senator has ever driven to San Jose during rush hour
01/12/01: Europeans should look in the mirror
01/10/01: Dems' reasons for dissin' Dubya's picks
01/08/01: Jerry, curb your guru
01/03/01: A foe of Hitler and friend of Keating
12/28/00: Nice people think nice thoughts
12/26/00: The Clinton years: Epilogue
12/21/00: 'Tis the season to free nonviolent drug offenders 12/18/00: A golden opportunity is squandered
12/15/00: You can take the 24 years, good son
12/13/00: Court of law vs. court of public opinion
12/08/00: A salvo in the war on the war on drugs
12/06/00: Don't cry, Butterfly: Big trees make great decks
12/04/00: Florida: Don't do as Romans did
11/30/00: Special City's hotel parking ticket
11/27/00: No means yes, yes means more than yes
11/22/00: The bench, the ballot and fairness
11/20/00: Mendocino, how green is your ballot?

© 2000, Creators Syndicate