Will a fright fix this Hicks up?

This post is the result of two recent observations. 1 – Hiccups (or hiccoughs or hic ups) are incredibly hard to dislodge, remove, cure etc. 2 – David Hicks is fast becoming the novelty crusade of choice for the uneducated latte left who run the “intelligent” media in this country. The Sydney Morning Herald put his continued detention at Guacamole* Bay at number 1 in their list of Australia’s crimes against civil liberties. I was watching ABC news last night and they showed a nice friendly pick of Hicks outside his family home. I’m sick of the media rewriting painting Hicks as a confused good guy in this situation.

Let’s face it, Hicks is no angel. He was busted fighting with our enemies (admittedly in the “War on an abstract noun”). Where I come from terrorists aren’t considered to be friends of the Australian cause. I come from Australia. Anyone fighting against Australian soldiers probably deserves to be punished. Despite what the bleeding hearts out there would suggest, I don’t think Hicks would have thought twice before firing one of those rocket launchers at an Australian soldier in the name of Jihad. Hicks, as a result of ideological brainwashing, or by his own choice, was in the Middle East waging a religious Jihad. He’d left Australia following a marriage break up and discovered solace in extremist Islam.

I’m fairly sure most intelligent people see it that way as well – the argument for his release, or at the very least his trial comes from a desire to see the western system of law upheld. In this instance it may be a case of upholding the law at the expense of justice. At this point Hicks hasn’t really broken any laws. He can’t be tried under the Geneva Convention because he wasn’t fighting for an official military organisation. He can’t be tried under Australian or American law because no relevant law exists (or exists covering the time of his capture). Why would the Australian or American governments want to release him back into the general public?
He’s a man who’s letters home say he’s fighting to ensure “the Western-Jewish domination is finished, so we live under Muslim law again”.

There’s a compelling case for him to be tried and properly jailed (rather than tortured in no man’s land) on the base of basic human rights and international standards – but the argument that he’s being hard done by and putting him up as a cause for Australian’s to be fighting for is kind of missing the point. He’s a bad guy. Not a good guy who made mistakes. There hasn’t really been any suggestion of remorse from Hicks for his actions and it doesn’t seem likely that that will occur – if he’s not backing down in the face of the terrible treatment he’s receiving at Guantanamo then he’s not going to back down. If he’s not going to back down it puts the Australian government between a rock and a hard place. This is a guy who’s physically fighting against “our” “western” ideology. Why should the governments in question seek to release him?

There’s a long standing debate between proponents of the left and right wings over whether the penal system is designed to punish or rehabilitate. At this point Hicks shows no apparent signs of rehabilitation (granted access to Hicks and his mental state is not something we have readily available) and the question of whether he’s been appropriately punished depends on his exact actions in his “jihad.”

There are too many issues simmering in the Guantanamo Bay crock pot for this to be a cut and dried case. The legality of Guantanamo Bay is balanced against the necessity of having somewhere to store these unlawful combatants (in the old days they would have just been shot). The holding of someone obviously needing holding against their rights to a trial process… It’s a situation that’s too hard for anyone to get completely right. The one thing I’m sure of is that those calling for the canonisation of a man fighting for Osama Bin Laden have it wrong.

* (sic) – the Herald didn’t get it wrong, I just thought it was slightly funny** at the time.
** I’ve changed my mind now but can’t be bothered changing the joke.

January 5, 2007

In Uncategorized

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Mark says:

I’m not holding my breath…

Mark says:

I agree that Hicks made his bed and should now be snoring quietly on it, and being painted as the poster child of Guantanamo Bay is absurd.

However, I still lean toward him being entitled to a trial. I would like there to be a law that will stop him declaring war on me, but if there isn’t, that’s not his fault.

Ignoring your own laws for expediency doesn’t sit well with me – try parenting a child that way and see how effective it is – even though in this case, there is a legitimate concern for the “greater good”.

Guantanamo Bay itself reeks of realpolitik, ie the end justifies the means – which basically allows anything for a “just/good” cause – look at some of the major political or religious conflicts of the last millenium eg WWII, inquisition, crusades.

It doesn’t mean you can’t deal shrewdly (whatever that means) and with wisdom, but the how is still important.

I’m glad I don’t have to make the call. even so, 4+ years incarcerated in a maximum security military prison without a charge seems a bit harsh to me.

Leah says:

Yes, he’s a bad guy. However, being jailed in a maximum security prison like Guantanamo Bay without charge is wrong. There is no arguing that. For crying out loud, charge him, put him on trial, imprison him legally. If there are laws that foreign terrorists can be tried under, I’m sure there are laws that Australian terrorists can be tried under.

Nathan says:

That’s the problem though Leah – there aren’t really any laws he can legally be tried under – what he was doing, when he was doing it, was not “illegal.” Making retroactive laws is a very murky issue (perhaps as “theoretically” murky as holding someone in a maximum security prison without charge). Hicks falls into a very interesting legal loophole. He can’t really be charged with anything so they don’t want to try – because he’ll eventually walk free.

Nathan says:

Mark – without the “perjorative” interpretation sounds fine to me…

“Realpolitik (German: real (“realistic”, “practical” or “actual”) and Politik (“politics”)) is a term used to describe politics based on strictly practical rather than idealistic notions, and practiced without any “sentimental illusions”.

I’m sick of politics based on sentimental idealism. I want optimistic realists in power – not confused idealists who think humankind is inherently good.

Nathan says:

“I’m not holding my breath… “

Gold Mark. Pure Gold.

Nathan says:

are generally considered to be a bad thing in Australia – does this mean that people who do things that are clearly wrong – but not illegal – should escape punishment?

Mark says:

an optimistic realist would be better than a idealist, I agree.

I believe that people are inherently bad and expect the perjorative interpretation would become increasingly apt. Yet I hope that it will all work perfectly.

Is that cynical idealism or idealistic cynicism, or merely cynical realism?


PS. Glad you liked it… one of those epiphany moments, and first post too.

Leah says:

“Retroactive laws are generally considered to be a bad thing in Australia – does this mean that people who do things that are clearly wrong – but not illegal – should escape punishment?”

People are put in prison for breaking laws, not doing bad things. Yes, all “bad things” should be against the law, but obviously some aren’t. The US is also doing something illegal (I think- at any rate, it’s still “bad”) in holding Hicks without charge- should they be punished?

It is up to our authorities to try people under the law. If he walks free, so be it. They can make a new law and if he re-offends he can be tried. Either way, he won’t escape judgment. No-one escapes God’s judgment except his children.

It’s not up to our authorities to incarcerate all the ‘bad’ people in the world (however, that is what they should be trying to do legally, through laws). It’s up to them to uphold the laws. God will take care of the rest.

Nathan says:

David Hicks doesn’t currently fall under our government’s authority, he’s an Australian citizen, and we have extradition treaties with the US – but he’s currently their responsibility – why would our government want to take responsibility for a terrorist they’d then have to release. That sounds stupid to me. Mamdouh Habib came home from Guantanamo to freedom – so the government aren’t unwilling to step in if its merited – in Hick’s case he went into Afganistan post 11/9 (dates on this blog will be written in Australian format… as will cricket scores) and made direct contact with Osama. He made his bed, and now he’s lying in it. His incarceration is probably doing more good for the Islamic cause he’s so proud of than anything he could have done in conflict.

Nathan says:

Leah, while I agree with you that God will eventually bring justice – a secular government has a responsibility to do its best at upholding justice and protecting its people – as they don’t believe in God (collectively – rather than individually) they can’t justify their actions with that reasoning.

martin says:

two words: habeas corpus

Just another defining western principle that US has trashed in the pursuit of a phony war. Add to that the invasion of a sovereign country – a breach of the key finding of the Nuremberg trials. And the legalised use of torture to extract “confessions”. If we back the White House there ain’t much left we can hold up as a superior principle to the terrorists.