OH SAY NATION: A Political Commentary 1st Edition

                                                                               By Marilynn Stark

                     The Case of John Walker Lindh

       January 16, 2002     All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2002 by M.Sark


"Oh! thus be it ever, when free men shall stand

 Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation!"

Excerpt from the Star Spangled Banner

Thus goes a most profound message to be contemplated upon which is from our National Anthem. Self-defense breaks down to the unit level in any matter; if the need for self- defense is that of an individual or of a nation, that need carries its own merit for the moment at hand. The family is the unit of society in general. When a nation goes to war, the security and the lives of its broadest citizenry is determined by the strength of the defense of the women and children, for in that social unit is contained the entire destiny of the nation itself when analyzed from the social bearings. This analytical basis is derived from the profound nature of war which many times is implemented in order to alter or claim the destiny of another nation. Such claim may foment a new destiny for the nation placing that claim upon another nation or group of them.

However, the overall analysis of the state of a war for its sanction, its progress, its level of activity, or the likelihood for its resolution and cessation is placed most certainly upon the objective of securing the peace; therewith can the children and youths grow and develop in the sense of self-determination which is nurtured by domestic tranquility. Any war encroaches upon the sense of security in the homes of a people if it is an all-out conventional war. Many of the wars of today's age may be delocalized and of a strict interventionist caliber in a far-off nation living in the civil contempt of division, for instance; therein the homes of the defending nations are not under the direct physical threat of siege. When many such wars of either an imperialistic or an interventionist type gather the distance of time, they are likely to accrue to a broader settlement among the many nations; or if peace had been more prevalent than not prevalent among the several nations, the greater settlement may only dispose a few nations in the conflict. This is derived from the progression of wars which can be viewed much as one views the progression of a single war as the dynamic sum of its battles.

Therefore, to view the peace of a nation as contingent upon the war clause that it is morally imperative to defend the homes and to even contain the battles to a field-wise disposition in the abstract perimeter of the homes constitutes a profound vision. This is a vision we American people cherish. So do all peoples actively cherish that vision, if they are at once evolved as nations into civil posture by good reckoning with governmental systems and currently free of any natural disasters or free of grossly unjust socio-political attack of any kind.  Where there is anarchy, the discord breeds violence; moreover, violence can be likely to ruin the social centers, including the domestic side.   

Today the contemporary center of horrific, warring violence which dominates the world scene, the Middle East conflict between the State of Israel and the Palestinians, involves the quest of two nations to define a defense of homeland; however, the homeland areas are the same respective to each side under dispute.  This dispute carries a deeply rooted history which is derived from religious belonging. The state of the terroristically driven madness in that region of the world is of critical importance to the economic interests of the United States whose oil commerce with the region is critical and holding. The Arabic people everywhere suffer for this tinderbox of the times, and it contributes to the sense that there must be a holy war forming somehow. The discontent rises and challenges the peoples in all of that region.  Thus do we have some resentment of American wealth, coupled with an absenteeism in war, as many are likely now to perceive it where we should be expected to have to share the burdens of violence if we feed from the oil interests of the nations collected around Israel and Palestine. Yet we remain innocent, and more critically we are deeply concerned for that region and its perennial disputes. The United States tries to mediate in the Middle East conflicts. But the impressions made upon people everywhere who watch the world stage do not change. This is a fight which has no end, it seems; and why? It is because the homes are up for quest at the root level. There are no direct borders which are agreed upon, so that the invasion is of a mental demeanor, and it drives the peoples into an understandable helplessness which turns into madness, terroristic madness.

There is no measure of compassion great enough for the people who are caught in the terrible momentum of the Middle East terrorism.

Thus, we have the case of John Walker, a well-raised American youth who has gone abroad to pursue a study of Islam and somehow lands on the enemy side of a conflict in Afghanistan where the United States has committed military force to oppose the terroristic regime being touted by a group known as the Taliban. That conflict relates to our direct and summary defense of this nation as against terroristic attack.  Terrorists are reputed to proliferate the countryside in that nation of Afghanistan, to organize there, to train there, and to harbor and follow the very suspect who is thought to have been the chief perpetrator of the unspeakable three-pronged attack by highjacked planes upon our nation on September eleventh of 2001. Of course, he would be Osama Bin Laden, the nefarious hater of America, who joins in the concept that there is a religious calling to regard a single nation as an enemy to God Himself. Therefore, war does spread through the contagion of terrorism, which might be a vector of the dire conflict of those of Islam from the Middle East, who feel ruled against and hopeless, largely hopeless. How can one defend John Walker, who today was indicted for conspiracy to kill American citizens as a fighter, and who was a front line seer on the side of the Taliban. That is treason. Other charges include supporting a terror organization and transacting in a knowing manner with such an ilk.

When I first saw the looks of John Walker and heard that he was caught in accusatory rhetoric, that he might be such a turncoat on his nation, I clamored to find his possible innocence. I gave him every benefit of the doubt; I tried to search for a way to understand how such a horrible ordeal as to become a prisoner in a foreign nation could have befallen him. Since the war game of false incrimination is part and parcel of wars, there was likely to be a propagandist side to the story of John Walker which could for him be undone, I reasoned, valuing his possible innocence above all. So I turned to our own system of justice and prayed for his release back to our shores, where he could find such justice, be exonerated, perhaps, and be found to have been a brainwashed, indoctrinated, and constrained hostage, whose image had been portrayed wrongly by those whose perceptions had been altered in the wake of the terroristic attack of nine/eleven. I had no idea that he had so deeply engaged in the conspiracy, hoping somehow that he was just a stoolpigeon for enemy concern whose innocence was yet to be seen.

He left the United States with the good purpose of taking up his religious study abroad, we are told. John Walker at an age of twenty and not even with an attempt at an established livelihood or profession of his own submerged deeply into a terroristic culture with its casuistic values for the empowerment of wanton war. He was a youth with no backdrop of experience in other of life's pursuits who opted to turn on his homeland. This fact cannot be denied nor refuted. John Walker can tell the relevant authorities that he met with Bin Laden in small groups, that he trained in his terroristic terror camp, and that he had been informed of Bin Laden's conspiracy to perform a giant act of terroristic revenge upon the United States. Then he has given himself away for what he is, and there can be no further legal argument in his favor which will deny him his deeds and his intent. Walker committed heinous deeds. If the compassion of your mind extends to him in this, his hour of reckoning, remember that an individual who has lost his reasoning except unto destructive offensive ploy, and that against his nation of birth, is commonly known as a traitor. Anyone can reach for an explanation of how all this happened to John Walker as a way to try to transcend the shame and the disgrace it has caused our country. Then in this you are reaching for an explanation as to how a traitor was born. Traitors are dangerous people. When a traitor is placed in a central commanding position theoretically on the world stage where deeply rooted conflict is there, the advantage lent the enemy itself is of immeasurable worth to them. Such advantage incites the enemy and feeds the subjective affirmation of their every thought of enmity, giving sway to the weaker among them and courage to their leaders. Major vulnerability to an entire nation can be formed by an act or the consistent acts of traitorous intent on the part of even one individual such as the history of the intrigue of war has always told. While we strive as a good democracy to give proper justice and hearing to Walker, we are upholding our values as we might; and as we should so uphold our values, are we so doing that our nation certainly would not be lowered to a demeaning posture in the case of one of its citizens?  Had his actions blustered into an impending fight against his own countrymen as he trained with zeal to defeat them as he saw it? Thus forth, his words as he describes his born enmity and the sidedness it fostered can only trail in the wind of what we have actually taken from him, the blows conceptually which he has delivered us as American people. So we must righteously declare: let justice be done in the case of John Walker. Is this trying the case before it is heard?

War is a form of political science, whose utility is as good in the long stretch as its sanction according to righteous value. The ugliness of war does not disqualify it as an essential and scientific endeavor to keep order and the rule of moral precept intact. If an individual or a nation engages in war or in warring deeds even, then the justification for that engagement depends partly upon how brilliant the plan for reconstruction after the event of destruction has occurred. That postwar bargaining will be as clear as the issue formation it had engendered during statement of battle before and during the war and over which battles comprising the war had been fought. If issue formation had been weak, then there will be a less clear understanding of the resolution which had brought about the cessation of active and further conflict.

In the case of the formulation of an army of terrorists in the nation of Afghanistan, where an individual was himself engaged in that formulation at least by deed, and that individual is known to be John Walker, then he as an individual must answer to his deeds through which he had intended to associate himself with enemies to the domestic tranquility of his own homeland. Furthermore, he spoke of his enmity with those associates of nefarious intent towards us. These are dire actions on his part, and he must be held accountable for them, of course. If he was indeed innocent of wanting to join the Taliban in any way, then his only prayer for proof would lie in the brilliance of any plan he had kept which would have preserved somehow his fealty to this nation of the United States. Full listening ears should be given him if he has such a saga. He cannot look back, regret his grouping based upon religious fanaticism, and retell the story to please everyone as to his core innocence somehow because deceit at that level will not work. Innocence carries an awesome power in mortal conflict, and it can be discerned after a warring match because from that innocence is always born the vision of regrouping, of reconstructing through deserved moral worth. Many times in a fight, let alone a war, the victim becomes the crime in the minds of others less involved in the fight. The one who had perpetrated the attack often relies upon this form of deceit as a mode of hidden justification, of license, indeed. But true innocence has the power to claim back the one who had been wrongly portrayed, to find the justice even twice over: once because of unjust attack, perhaps, and then again in false accusation as to the source of perpetration.

If John Walker was taken in at first, then indoctrinated and held against his will, and then owned by the enemy as if he had no more individuation or power of self-determination, then John Walker had participated in the terroristic warring part of the enemy to our national tranquility. That is the nature of war. It does that to people. Should he be exonerated for that? On what grounds can we determine from that his core innocence unless he produces profound evidence, let alone persuasion. We would like him to be the double agent who superceded heroically for his nation. Of course he will get a fair trial, all things considered, when the President of America has declared a war on terrorism. However, review how vague and ill-fought are the terroristic aggressions, those we face now, based on what we have seen in nations who must shoulder constant terror being struck at the public, and this especially after the events of September 11. How we define the way in which terrorists are regarded and punished for their crimes and their declarations of generalized enmity through the case of John Walker will be of vital importance to the proper guidance of the American nation of people and also of its governing functions and system, as well as of our leaders. To give an analogy as a logical rescue over a pitiable character, imagine a soldier who has been trained as to how to keep the code of honor if caught behind enemy lines. Such a soldier has redeeming qualities of mind to begin with, granted.  He is dedicated and loyal, but knows what torture and fear can do to destroy such loyalty. This is the lore of all war. The power of the collectivity of his own army is known to him, and he fears losing it and having to answer to the killing he has done from behind that collective shield and with its righteous perimeter guarding the warring concept as he fights. If he breaks his honor and aids or abets the enemy with information useful to them, who is he? Many warriors cry for their own death before they ever see that side of war, and because of that they with honor take own their lives before they give in to the enemy but for torture in any event of captivity, or they at least try to kill themselves. With all of that consideration, still a person who aids the enemy in war is a traitor, and the stakes are high because the cause is grueling, and the nature of the engagement is also fundamentally grueling. This is the nature of any case within an established army in a sanctioned war.

Therefore, think of how much more magnified is the sensitive question of the possibility that Walker was kidnapped somehow and coerced to join the Taliban. He has no established order, no army or organized national backing from which to form a believable perspective; but that does not exonerate him. No one can change the nature of war to fit his innocence as tragic as that may seem in view of our inborn love for guarding the innocence of a citizen until proven guilty. If he had been part of an army and had gone into captivity, he would have faced court martial for conspiring to kill his own compatriots. If he had been a trained double agent, all of his activity would have been centered on intelligence gathering, and there would have been ways to address the success of his mission if he had made it back alive. In such a case, any commander weighs the courage and the good deeds against any other consideration of possible malfeasance which could for some reason arise: for one of the truths of war also is that heroism is a prize to be reckoned after, and some will wrongly accuse their own out of twisted jealousies.

What lesson to be learned from this trial of Walker will become diffusively integrated into our knowledge of successfully opposing the breeding of terrorists in our own country. Afghanistan is a garden of heroin, a poison which has also infiltrated the veins of our youth and others, as well as the coffers of the underworld. The juxtaposition of heroin traffickers and drug networks here in the United States with the terroristic hatred of those affiliated with people like Bin Laden and with Bin Laden himself will undoubtedly heighten the drug wars in this country after the events of September 11 and the resultant declared war on terrorism from Washington, D.C. Consider this fact coupled with the empowerment our nation achieved through the Cold War with the USSR. Undeclared wars train people wrongly to believe that there can be no sanction for war. Thus were many youths fooled by the Vietnam conflict, and haughty to be above it, they turned to drug acculturation and became drug dealers, thus participating in their own version of an undeclared war, the drug war. They were seemingly liberated from the ill-effects of a despicable phenomenon, war, only meaning war in the classical sense of war. They were indoctrinated accordingly, and drugs proliferated in this country and took root here. We are still fighting that aspect of the Vietnam War. The misbegotten Vietnam War still lives on here in such a phantom as drugs, which lower and endanger a nation of people; indeed, this is where outlaws start the insidious process of ruling through the game of false incrimination as they conscribe innocent people into their various crimes. These outlaws corrupt and even conquer if they are not thwarted and overturned in their power. They gain the dangerous power of indoctrination over time whereby they can mislead the good and the innocent to persecute the righteous for their righteousness. After that, they level them to the misdeeds of crime with the lure of money. The power of hearsay gains precedence in the courts under the rule of the unrighteous. Therein the people have been mobbed, and the portal to the power of that mob effect has been the physico-chemical level of drug influence; and that influence has been especially on the youth. These youths can become steeped in drugs at the cultural level and never turn back. Imagine, therefore, how dangerous the games now in our American society. In truth, suspicion of alliance with terroristic groups will call forth the arm of the judicio-legal system into our homes even further than what the drug war itself before September 11 had accomplished in that respect. Terrorism will become as subtle as a virus among our people as a threat to our tranquility, not only as in its disastrous form, as in the image and aftermath of the death of three thousand workers at the World Trade Center. That event has left us scrambling for any redemption as guardian of the other nations for their peace since we did not protect our own even if the surprise attack is the greatest tool of war: terrorism uses that truth to create war where there had been none. For this we cannot shame ourselves. We can, however, examine the way we have regarded the leadership of the era which saw the ending of the Cold War and transcend even despite the recent threat of terroristic attack we took; we can transcend the misbegotten idea that war should have no sanction. Wars that are useful to the preservation of mankind have great sanction. Perhaps we were struck so mightily by surprise on September 11 as to include the Pentagon itself because we had seen so many years of a long, cold struggle with the Soviet regime which never reached resolution by its nature or promise. Well then, who were the central figures in that extended stalemate? Were they a bunch of traitors for not representing above-board their desire for conflict while regarding the conflict impossible by the MAD Doctrine? And thereby were they reaping the empowerment of a war not yet proven by legal expertise? These facts play upon the minds of those who resent us as a nation for our power, our goodness, and our wealth; our wealth they say we tout as our glory for values and good character while it is only materialism, selfish materialism. People who participated at the town hall level in the deeds of the Cold War against other citizens on no just grounds should own up to that; and thus should they make peace. That owning up would strengthen our society and give us resolution and courage that we made good towards one another. It would build in us a fortification for the times ahead; it would build for us a greater measure of shield so that we might be less vulnerable to the undeclared warriors, those despicable agents of surprise, the terrorists from foreign shores who play upon our weaknesses which they perceive by living among us, for instance.

We must watch attentively the case of Walker, and learn from it for our own future betterment and preservation. Be grateful for the essential structure of our governing system, for it has by that structure the tools constitutionally endowed and the reverence for truth which will empower the jury to decide in this case of immense historic importance, the case of John Walker Lindh. Thus, regardless of the strife we as a nation of people have known and shouldered or even that we were innocent of the leadership we witnessed; some of that leadership was also most brilliant and good. Pay no mind to he fact that we could not control or stop the intrigue of the Cold War nor the ravages of the drug world, nor the spectacle of Vietnam -- we still have the tools and the political wisdom to survive and to supercede. No government becomes great without trial and test; what test is greater than war or cold war? No people become greater without understanding what their government has done. In this way we select our leaders, and for that we are truly in the grace of God, no matter what else happens.

              2002  by Marilynn Lea Stark  All rights reserved





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