Clemency for Lindh?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Frank Lindh, father of 'American Taliban' John Walker Lindh, argues that his son should be released from prison and that the original 20-year sentence for fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan was excessive. 


Frank Lindh

Comments [24]

I concur with what has been said by a number of commentators here. Floyd has been unconsciounably easy on John Lindh's dad. For example, given the Taliban's record of attrocities, she might have asked if he was certain that his son had no taken part in war crimes. If he didn't think he did, how does he know, given the Taliban's record, and if so, how did that make him feel?

Aug. 19 2011 02:55 PM
Evan from Brooklyn

I find this really odd. Daddy Lindh is homosexual. If he fell into the hands of his son's comrades, he would have been butchered.

Yvonne from Park Slope is being a bit generous to the Taliban. Yes, the Afghan countryside was and remains and will long remain starkly patriarchal. But the Taliban were an army organized and backed by Pakistan's ISI and imposed a dogmatic Islam which was way beyond even rural Afghanistan's traditions.

It is true, also, that the US was backing the Taliban because of oil politics (what else?), but if you remember, this was strongly protested by Americans appalled by the Taliban's ruthless and bleak reactionary terror.

See, for example, Ahmad Rashid's wonderful writing on the subject, especially

The Taliban were not just purveyors of the blackest reaction for women. Their dogmatism, largely foreign to Afghan culture, led to genocidal assaults against the Hazaras, Afghanistan's chief Shia minority, who had hitherto been tolerated by the Sunni majority.

Lindh was a moral idiot who ran off to join a band of reactionary butchers. I guess, since the US government was doing the same, he does not deserve to be punished. That's the absolute best I can say for him.

Aug. 19 2011 02:44 PM
Charles from Carmel, NY

Leaving aside for a moment the question of this particular case, the father also spoke about the retreat from constitutional norms that many cases after 9/11 exemplified. What concerns me a lot is that Obama has actively pursued and broadened the Bush/Cheney violations of the Constitution, but liberals are giving him a pass because he is a Democrat, not a Republican. If a McCain or a Palin were doing this, they would be pilloried by the left. Just as only Nixon could go to China, only a Democrat can truly gut the Constitution. This is the worst aspect of Obama's "centrist" instincts. We risk losing the Bill of Rights forever. Will it go, not with a bang, but with a whimper? Progressives, where are your voices??

Aug. 18 2011 08:59 PM
rose-ellen from jackson hts.

If he went there prior to 9-11, he did nothing wrong. I was there in the seventies-women wore burquas because it is part of their culture. This country was very backwards and empoverished. Their penal codes and misogynyny existed long before the taliban.I went there before before the soviet invasion. The taliban as the U.S. knows was bringing stability to the post soviet invasion war torn peeople. The taliban happenned to be in power and we were not oppossed to them.. The Taliban were fighting the war lord thugs and criminals. Lindh went there to help the war ravaged civilians who the taliban were protecting from these war lords[northern alliance].Their backward culture is not a taliban imposed one but more or less the norm.For americans to suddenly denounce the taliban for imposing their cultural laws on the people when prior to 9-11 we accepted their cultural norms or at least had no interest in "liberating" them[by dropping bombs on them for their own good?] from the taliban which adhered to these norms till 9-11 is hypocritical and gives a false narrative about our interests there. We went there because we claimed the taliban were hiding bin laden not because of the taliban governments' penal codes.Lindh is innocent of wrong doing and america has shown how it is not a nation of laws when he can be tortured and charged for being in afghanistan and siding with the government[taliban] in its' war against criminal thugs when the taliban had not been declared a terrorist organization prior to 9-11 but was indeed an ally. And that though no war has been declared against any country, people can be charged with a crime whenever the US congress labels a group as "terrorist", makes us a tyranical nation ourselves-surpressing freedom of association ,movement,etc. Only when in a declared war should we be doing this.That the sensibilities of the victtims of 9-11 is brought up as a reasonable rationalization for having someone's rights taken away as Lindh and others have- exposes our thin skinned hypocrasy. No other nation would be let off the hook if they reasoned that mistreatment and unjust violations of peoples rights should be understood because other peoples sensibilities demanded it. That the minute we are attacked all our values go out the window exposes our thin skinned hypocrasy and the pomposity of out inflated view of ourselves [as defenders of the rule of law, individual human rights, innocent till proven guilty, due process, toture as a violation of human rights etc.,etc.,]That we still use peoples "sensibilities"[euphymism for we hate these people and want revenge and don't care about any facts that impune us or humanize them and the heck with our laws] as a rationale to abandon what we claim made us better and different then all other people and nations that ever existed on earth, just makes us blinded by our own hubris! .

Aug. 18 2011 01:09 PM
Yvonne from Park Slope, Brooklyn

In response to "RBC from NYC" who stated:

"You guys aren't listening to the guest. Basically his son did the same thing the US gov't had been doing - providing financial assistance to the Taliban before 9/11. But since the US government's hypocrisy is unending, he is now in prison for it."

There is a key issue central to whether this man's son deserves clemency and that is whether his son understood that, increasingly, the Taliban were supporting Al Qaeda or was he being naive, gullible and misled. To many the Taliban were/are only invested in protecting against invasion and have no interest in going to another country to attack ... before they were protecting against the Russians and, then, against the U.S.

Did his son believe this??

If so, that does not make what he did right but there are degrees of wrong.

Aug. 18 2011 11:53 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Huson Heights

Mr. Lindh, Your sons actions reflect poorly on your parenting skills.

Aug. 18 2011 11:51 AM
Yvonne from Park Slope, Brooklyn

In response to "office from office" who stated:

"The Rosenbergs were found to actually have been spies, once the Soviets fell. Host does not know history."

I have read very contradictory things including that the husband may have been guilty and the wife innocent and do not feel convinced that, even now, we really know.

Aug. 18 2011 11:38 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

"Very true... So why did the US government send the Taliban approx $300M in aid???"

I couldn't agree more...but it's nothing new..we aid all kinds of unsavory governments all the time.

Still doesn't make me have sympathy for a guy who went overseas to fight for a government that horribly oppressed it's own people.

Aug. 18 2011 11:27 AM
gary from queens

Very true... So why did the US government send the Taliban approx $300M in aid???

ANSWER: Governments are sovereign. People are not. Governments can do what they want, including giving aid to bribe a friend or enemy. But people must follow the law, and as I wrote, John knowingly violated those laws.

Aug. 18 2011 11:27 AM
Joel Hubbard from Smithtown

Osama bin Laden, messianic misanthrope, and disowned trust fund baby from the sixty fifth richest family on planet earth. Your overvalued misinterpretation of God’s will, killed thousands of my neighbors for the crime of going to work; robbed our children of the freedom and knowledge to live in an open society, a working democracy. How could you possibly understand? A week before 9/11/01 I had privilege to speak with an Imam in the seat of the old Caliph in Istanbul. We were sharing the wonders of Islam with our children, in order that they could better world citizens in the 21th century. As we spoke and shared a glass of water, I was asked what it is like to live in Manhattan. My reply was we live on a small island where people come from all over the world to work and live together. You can bring your beliefs’ and faith practices and live by them or not, No one can harm you for this. He said that he hoped to visit New York City to see this for himself, we wish each other well. A week later two jet-fighters screamed roaring down the east river to the cheers and fears of New Yorkers. War, War’s face is becoming clear. War is being born out of oily black plumes, clouds of airliner impacts New York, the Pentagon, Pennsylvania. All we New Yorkers can do is give 16,000 pints of blood for the injured survivors which never came and pray for love ones that may not come home. Osama you understand this you lived on the blood of innocence’s Hindu, Jew, Christian, Muslim, peoples of all faiths your hate didn’t discriminate children women and men dead. Please forgive me while I praise the American’s that put a bullet through your head!

Thank You! God Bless You and America!
P.S. Mr. Lindh, sorry for your loss, but John will come home to you one day sadly thousands of America's will not be as blessed as you.

Aug. 18 2011 11:10 AM
Cathy from brooklyn

"You know, the Taliban weren't a bunch of angels either. For years Afghanistan was a horribly oppressive place, especially towards women, while they were in control"

^^Very true... So why did the US government send the Taliban approx $300M in aid???

Aug. 18 2011 11:03 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Wait...he thinks Bin Laden was evil but yet he signed up to fight on the side of a theologically fascist, murderous, evil government? Yeah...that makes sense...

Aug. 18 2011 11:01 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

You know, the Taliban weren't a bunch of angels either. For years Afghanistan was a horribly oppressive place, especially towards women, while they were in control. So the father's distinction that he was with the Taliban, not Al Qaeda and that he went before 9/11 to defend the Taliban government from an insurgency not to fight the U.S.A. does not convince me that he should be let out. He was fighting for the wrong side...the Taliban were horrible. No sympathy, sorry.

He shouldn't be tortured, but his fighting for the Taliban, a horrible, disgusting, evil government does not make me think he should be let out. He signed up to fight for an evil force, subsequently we went to war with them and he was captured. He's S.O.L.

Why is host being so wimpy?

Aug. 18 2011 10:57 AM
Robert from NYC

Yes history will correct this but once again we will not learn anything from it and will repeat these same unconstitutional situations in both government and go-along-with-them-media.

Aug. 18 2011 10:57 AM
aaron from NYC

There is a terrorist in every corner and election booth.

Thats what the Great W Bush and DIcky Chainy told the enlightened American Hill billies.

Aug. 18 2011 10:57 AM
RBC from NYC

office from office - Its been proven that Julius Rosenberg was indeed a spy, but his wife wasn't. It also didn't help that they were Jewish in the 1950s.

Aug. 18 2011 10:57 AM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

I wish Jamie would make her questions less long-winded.

And to the guest: wrong place at the wrong time, happens all the time, often it doesn't end well.

Aug. 18 2011 10:54 AM
gary from queens

Your son decided to work for an army that was allied with, and hosted, Al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda declared war on the US in the 1990s, before John went there to fight for them.

He was given a plea agreement which the gov. is keeping to. This is unlike Jonathan Pollak, who loved the US and Israel, and was double-crossed by the judge.

Your son was anti-American interests. He was politically aligned against the US, and unlike principled people on the left, he fought for our existential and operational enemy----an enemy that was killing Americans a dozen years before 911

Aug. 18 2011 10:54 AM
RBC from NYC

You guys aren't listening to the guest. Basically his son did the same thing the US gov't had been doing - providing financial assistance to the Taliban before 9/11. But since the US government's hypocrisy is unending, he is now in prison for it.

Aug. 18 2011 10:53 AM
office from office

The Rosenbergs were found to actually have been spies, once the Soviets fell. Host does not know history.

Aug. 18 2011 10:51 AM
Elaine from Baltimore

Ya... your son is a unique person, he's a terrorist.
Let Jonathan Pollard out first.

Aug. 18 2011 10:50 AM
john from office

Soo he should be freed because his daddy loves him. He got soft treatment because his dad is a rich guy. Maybe dad should have been a better father.

Host is being soooo easy on daddy.

Aug. 18 2011 10:50 AM

Was this guy fighting for the US army? If not, I can't see where he deserves a break any different from the others he was fighting with.

If it's not treason, why isn't he a pow like any other?

Aug. 18 2011 10:48 AM
john from office

This american taliban should have been executed for treason. Because he is a rich white kid does not excuse him.

Aug. 18 2011 10:43 AM

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