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.