David Hicks: Australian Taliban

You know what's sad? When you find out your son is a terrorist. First comes denial. After that, more denial. Then, you blame the US. After that, you look for meaning in your sons admission to being a terrorist by seeking out his Islamofascist friends. Then, you enter into some more denial. After that, you blame the US again. Finally, you get it right. Your son was just a misunderstood idealist fighting for his vision of the ideal world.

Unfortunately for you, your son's vision of the ideal world is one where women are not allowed to go to school, Jews and Christians are second-class citizens, blasphemers are stoned or beheaded, and American civillians are the intentional targets of murder.

I heard about this on NPR today. NPR Online:

Among the four suspects is 29-year-old David Hicks, an Australian who was captured by the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in 2001. A convert to Islam, Hicks had gone to Pakistan to study the religion and ended up in Afghanistan, where he joined the Taliban. At the tribunal, Hicks pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, conspiring to commit war crimes and aiding the enemy. His trial is set to start in January.

Terry Hicks, David's father, traveled to Cuba for the tribunal and had an emotional reunion with his son, whom he had not seen in five years. When Hicks was first transferred from Afghanistan to Guantanamo, his father decided to retrace David's steps through Pakistan and Afghanistan to try to find out what had happened along the way. A camera crew accompanied him and produced The President Versus David Hicks, a documentary that examines Hicks' tangled journey.

Terry Hicks speaks with NPR's Jennifer Ludden about the trip and what it taught him about his son. "He always tried to help out where he could," says Hicks, "in his own way, that was probably what he was doing."

Posted by: Rusty at 06:44 PM


1 What got me was when Terry Hicks told his son that he never had to apologize for "following his beliefs." Pardon me? If he believes his parents deserve to be chattel slaves he doesn't need to apologize? Sorry, but he'd damnwell better apologize to me, because a suckass philososphy is a suckass philosophy. I'd give the bastard life, just on general principles.

Posted by: Demosophist at August 28, 2004 08:22 PM

2 Somehow I just can't work up much empathy for this family. Poor ol' daddy hasn't seen his son in 5 years .. kids haven't seen their daddy in no telling how long. I guess those Afghani mercenary wages paid good child support. Nope, no empathy but lots of disgust.

Posted by: bj at August 28, 2004 08:30 PM

3 Check out Tim Blair for snippets of Hicks' loathesome anti-Semitic letters. Now he's whining like the Marin Al Qaeda. He's lucky he's alive. Did no one tell the creep that if you run off to join a war, bad things might happen? Let him take his medicine.

Posted by: jeff at August 28, 2004 10:22 PM

4 There is a lesson here for the soldier. Prisoners eat, shit and take up more time than they are worth.

Posted by: Walter E. Wallis at August 29, 2004 02:17 PM

5 At least we can see where the nuttiness comes from in that family.

Posted by: Simon at August 30, 2004 04:42 AM

6 First, have some compassion for a father whose nearly-worst nightmare comes true. Parents rationalize things like this; it's what they're meant to do. The rest of the world isn't thrilled with (or perhaps hates) the kid. He probably deserves at least one or two advocates.

Second, as long as we're criticizing the kid, we might as well at least understand what he did. He joined up with the Taliban, who contrary to media reports are not fundamentally terrorists. There is a distinction between the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Technically the Taliban are a group of fundamentalist religious scholars. They took over in Afghanistan during a power vacuum there, and bin Laden, who grew up in a fundamentalist household himself, decided they were pretty cool. Of course, it probably didn't hurt that bin Laden was forbidden to re-enter just about every other country where he'd once been welcome.

The Taliban themselves weren't too well-liked. The vast majority of the world wouldn't even talk to them. Being fundamentalist, they were terrible businessmen, so they had to rely on support from, shall we say, unconventional means. In this case:

1. Pakistan, who really didn't like them all that much but didn't feel like having a chaotic nation next door.

2. Opium. Nothing says "pure and moral" like making money off of the opium trade.

3. Bin Laden. He didn't actually give them all that much, but keep in mind they were REALLY, REALLY poor. He basically bought them Toyota pickup trucks and crude weapons.

Even after meeting bin Laden, the Taliban didn't really have it out for America. 95% of them probably couldn't have pinpointed America on a map. They were religious scholars. If it wasn't in the Koran, it wasn't important. So this kid, who obviously was drifting in life -- his wishy-washy dad probably didn't give him a rudder -- finally stumbled upon some certainty. Made a few friends. Found some meaning and purpose in his life.

I'm not a moral relativist, i.e. I don't excuse people for doing dumb things based on their history. However, I do think that before condemning them you might as well least know what their offense is.

Posted by: jlr at August 30, 2004 07:48 AM

7 You lot are all a bunch of laffs honestly!!! U dont hav a clue wot ur on about?? ...i think u anti muslim lot hav a thing for story makin eh??? ....so creative...i admire u all!!!

Posted by: Aneesa at January 28, 2005 02:06 PM

8 Check this site out.

Posted by: heretodaygonetomorrow at March 04, 2005 07:52 AM

9 Regardless of his location when detained, it remains a fact that this guy had been imprisoned and kept without trial for *years*. Can you imagine the outcry of he'd been an American citizen?

Surely if there is enough evidence that he is guilty of some crime then he should have been before a court by now? If there isn't enough evidence then what the hell is he doing still sitting in a jail in Cuba?

Either he's done something that deserves indefinite imprisonment or her hasn't. It's time his 'crimes' were examined in a valid court.

This is *not* justice.

Posted by: Welsh Dog at May 19, 2005 07:16 PM

10 This skinhead wants to enslave women and stone men and women for adultry, keep sex slaves as sanctioned by the Koran the toilet book, absolutely rule on mankind and deny humanity their human rights, and then kill jews and others who he deems inferior and a threat.

What he is getting is too soft.

Let him go on trial and get life for his fascism and murder.

How many Afghanis has he killed? Would this skinhead fascist like to confess?

Posted by: mitra at July 01, 2005 04:12 PM

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