Release of terrorist tests limits of our nation’s compassion
One wonders why anyone in the U.S. justice system thought it was a good time to release John Walker Lindh from prison just days before Memorial Day, a time set aside for Americans to honor those who died defending our freedom.
Lindh, the “American Taliban,” spent more than 17 years in prison after being captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan during 2001. He was fighting with Islamic terrorists in a cause repugnant to any civilized human being. Directly or indirectly, Lindh may have killed some of those we mourn on Memorial Day.
Now 38 years old, Lindh had nearly three years chopped off his 20-year sentence, for “good behavior.” He was set free from a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. Where he planned to go from there was not clear, but it is difficult to imagine many communities in our nation welcoming him.
Time heals many wounds, it has been said. Americans have become accustomed to warring fiercely against some nations, then, in just a few years, reconciling with them.
That is inconceivable regarding Islamic terrorists — who, let us remember, have perverted the faith they claim to embrace. History will record they have slaughtered as many or more fellow Muslims as they have those of other religions.
It is to be doubted that Lindh has ever reflected upon the difference between his fellow terrorists and the people they sought and seek to murder. In 2017, the National Counterterrorism Center reported he “continued to advocate for global jihad and to write and translate violent extremist texts.” Obviously, how he was able to do that in prison is something that should be investigated.
But for some reason, Lindh never was able to grasp the fundamental difference between his philosophy and that guiding our culture, as a whole. It can be summed up in two words: tolerance and mercy.
Islamic terrorists consider both qualities to be weaknesses. That attitude is one way of defining pure evil.
Lindh should be monitored closely. If he continues to “advocate for violent jihad,” he should be re-arrested and sent back to prison. He should be made to understand that even the most compassionate, fair-minded people on the planet have our limits.