Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Justice, American Style

Psalm 91:1-5 (King James Version)

Psalm 91

“1He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day”

I got an interesting e-mail this morning. Richard Reid, the notorious “shoe-bomber,” was sentenced for his crimes on January 31st. I might have missed it, but I don’t remember there being much, if any, press given to this story.

Was it just me or did the networks and major cable outlets under-report this story? I realize that Emporia is far away from the center of power in this country, but not so far that we’re totally out of touch.

To their credit, CNN’s Law Center did provide some coverage.

In a rambling statement at his sentencing, Reid showed no remorse for his crimes. A portion of the transcript follows:

RICHARD REID: “I start by praising Allah because life today is no good. I bear witness to this and he alone is right to be worshiped. And I bear witness that Muhammad Sa'laat Alayhi as-Salaam is his last prophet and messenger who is sent to all of mankind for guidance, with the sound guidance for everyone.

Concerning what the Court said? I admit, I admit my actions and I further, I further state that I done them.

JUDGE WILLIAM YOUNG: I didn't hear the last. I admit my actions and then what did you say?

REID: I further admit my allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah. With regards to what you said about killing innocent people, I will say one thing. Your government has killed 2 million children in Iraq. If you want to think about something, against 2 million, I don't see no comparison.

Your government has sponsored the rape and torture of Muslims in the prisons of Egypt and Turkey and Syria and Jordan with their money and with their weapons. I don't know, see what I done as being equal to rape and to torture, or to the deaths of the two million children in Iraq.

So, for this reason, I think I ought not apologize for my actions. I am at war with your country. I'm at war with them not for personal reasons but because they have murdered more than, so many children and they have oppressed my religion and they have oppressed people for no reason except that they say we believe in Allah.

This is the only reason that America sponsors Egypt. It's the only reason they sponsor Turkey. It's the only reason they back Israel."

It’s interesting to note that on the day before Reid was sentenced millions of Iraqis voted in a free election. As he was being sentenced to a life of confinement, democracy was dawning in Iraq. It’s interesting to note that the United States, not Osama bin Laden and his terrorists, who supports a two-state solution to end the violence in Gaza and the West Bank. It’s interesting to note that it is the United States, not Abu Musab al-Zarawi and his followers, who champions democracy in the Middle East.
Reid then went on, proclaiming to not be worried about the sentence for his crimes:

"As far as the sentence is concerned, it's in your hand. Only really it is not even in your hand. It's in Allah's hand. I put my trust in Allah totally and I know that he will give victory to his religion. And he will give victory to those who believe and he will destroy those who wish to oppress the people because they believe in Allah.

So you can judge and I leave you to judge. And I don't mind. This is all I have to say. And I bear witness to Muhammad this is Allah's message.”

It’s become a mantra of sorts, chilling and all too familiar. America is guilty of killing millions of innocent Iraqis; America has a vendetta against Islam; America backs Israel. The punitive judgment against Reid amounted to life plus 110 ten years for the eight counts he was found guilty of. The monetary judgment amounted to over two million dollars. It’s probably a foregone conclusion that no one will ever see the money. But that’s alright; Richard Reid will never see the light of day again as a free man.

Once Reid had his say, Judge William Young spoke for the court and the American people:

“This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and a just sentence. It is a righteous sentence. Let me explain this to you.

We are not afraid of any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here. And I say that to everyone with the utmost respect.

Here in this court where we deal with individuals as individuals, and care for individuals as individuals, as human beings we reach out for justice.

You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier gives you far too much stature. Whether it is the officers of government who do it or your attorney who does it, or that happens to be your view, you are a terrorist.

And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not treat with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists.

We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

So war talk is way out of line in this court. You're a big fellow. But you're not that big. You're no warrior. I know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal guilty of multiple attempted murders.”

And, in one final stirring moment he explained to Reid the meaning of American justice:

Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms.

Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. Day after tomorrow it will be forgotten. But this, however, will long endure. Here, in this courtroom, and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done.

The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged, and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.

See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag still stands for freedom. You know it always will. Custody, Mr. Officer. Stand him down.”

Amen, Judge Young, justice, American style, will find those who have perpetrated these evil deeds and it will prevail. Some of them may still be hiding right now in caves. Some may be making bombs in the Sunni Triangle. Some may even be living in this country, taking advantage of the freedom America affords to all. But it will find them! It may not be today, or this week, or this year. But it will find them!

In one last bit of irony Reid reminded the court that God would be the judge in the end. It’s the only thing he was right about during the entire process. The Righteous Judge, the Supreme Judge of history will have the last word. So, to Richard Reid, Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and all who terrorize under their banner, I say with absolute certainty, that you will hear these words on that “Great and Terrible Day” – Go to hell!

1 comment:

quaisi said...

It seems to me to be a case of we`re right and you`re wrong on both sides. You`ll never resolve this if you keep on thinking this way both of your sides.

On a slightly unrelated point your post is too long. You would do far better to right more concisely. (you might get more comments as well)

Take it easy,
Simon in Japan