Justice for Salim Hamdan?

Salim HamdanRemember Osama bin Laden’s driver, Salim Hamdan? The Bush administration used to love talking about him. He was an example of an important catch in the War on Terror. They were not being ironic. At the time, I remember thinking that we were doing a pretty fucking bad job if the best thing we could claim was that we had captured bin Laden’s driver.

AlterNet noted that putting Hamdan on trial was like trying Hitler’s chauffeur at the Nuremberg Trials because we didn’t have Hitler. Note that Hitler’s chauffeur was not, in fact, tried as a war criminal. This whole Salim Hamdan episode is both wrong and pathetic—it has made the United States look silly or worse.

It seems that Hamdan is finally getting some justice. He had already been exonerated for many trumped up charges like conspiracy in the 911 attacks. But one charge did stick: material support for terrorism. This is a pretty broad understanding of this charge. After all, the government could convict any taxi driver bin Laden hired over the last couple of decades. But okay: it is what it is.

The problem is that the United States only made this new law after Hamdan supposedly violated it. So an appeals court comprised of 3 Bush appointees threw out the conviction.

Of course, Salim Hamdan was released in 2009, after serving the time for his crime. But it’s still nice to know that some modicum of justice is still possible in the United States.

Afterword

This from TopNews.in:

New York, Aug.11 (ANI): Several Americans are outraged that Salim Hamdan—who was Osama bin Laden’s chauffeur before his arrest six years ago—will be out of jail before the end of the year.

But Hamdan’s jury of six military officers apparently agreed with Nasser al-Bahri, an al Qaeda operative interviewed by Jonathan Mahler for his book “The Challenge,” who called Hamdan “a really naive, simple guy who doesn’t know the first thing about jihad and was just tagging along for the job.”

Take a job; go to prison. It’s the law!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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