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By Geoff Metcalf

July 17, 2002

America’s short attention span and penchant for apathy has been personified in the John Walker Lindh plea bargain.

The same government administration that didn’t want to pursue gross abuse of power under the color of authority and downright treasonous acts by the previous administration has now cut a deal with a terrorist traitor.

Linda Chavez asked “Are Americans losing their resolve, perhaps even losing interest, less than a year after the worst attack on U.S. soil in our nation’s history?”  Not the Americans I talk to but certainly the political elite confronted with the ubiquitous carcinogens of political correctness.

Many of us don’t care about the dysfunctional family little Johnny had.  We don’t care that his daddy is homosexual or his mommy confused.  John-boy admitted he provided services to a terrorist organization… instant felony. Chavez observed, “In addition, he pleaded guilty to an additional charge not in the actual indictment, carrying explosives when he committed that felony.” Less than 20 years in stony lonesome ain’t enough.

The CIA officer Johnny Michael Spann, who was killed in the prison uprising in which Lindh participated doesn’t get 20 years of anything.

The conventional wisdom was notwithstanding potential slick lawyering, Lindh would have been convicted in any U.S. court, even with a Johnny Corcoran.

As a Taliban grunt he knowingly, willingly and anxiously became an enemy of the country that spoiled him.

Debra J. Saunders says, “Break out the champagne. Monday's plea bargain announcement means that America has been spared the trial of Marin Taliban John Walker Lindh, 21 -- and more important, the circus that inevitably would have surrounded it.

D.J. is jazzed that there will be “no daily post-trial Lindh family press conferences.

That families of those serving in the military no longer will have to hear the defense team's whining about Lindh's living conditions in Afghanistan.”

Yeah but……

What about all that tough talk from government and civilians alike in the wake of 9/11?  What about that Old Testament eye for an eye stuff?  What about the overwhelming epic unbridled bubbling bile for vengeance? All transitory and fleeting as a network executive’s attention span.

If our government doesn’t have the steel (or stones) to deal with a maggot like Lindh there were other options other than a smarmy 20-year vacation on our dime.

  • We could have just left him with the Afghans in THEIR prison.

  • We could have released him to a halfway house….in Manhattan.

  • We could have held a short military tribunal and sentenced him to 240grains of lead and buried him in pig hide.

  • We could have sentenced him to five minutes with every family of 9/11 victims.

There are many options (from a C4 enema to public stoning) that could have been considered. Instead our government chose to be merciful and politic.

However as I have too often observed, there ARE consequences to the things we do and don’t do in life. 

In ‘Julius Caesar’ Mark Anthony says, "Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war."

Several columnists chose to use that line in the wake of 9/11.  It was universally felt that the time to kick ass and take names was at hand.  I noted, there have been times during the kumbaya-feminazi dark ages (1992-2000) when I really felt like a dinosaur … a cultural anachronism … who still believed in duty, honor and country. John Wayne was a role model and guys like Ted Williams, Audie Murphy and Rocky Versace were proof that ideals, courage and principle could and would be personified.

When I read Peggy Noonan's "Welcome Back, Duke" in the Wall Street Journal my involuntary response to the stimuli was a tear. It was a tear of pride.  The tear sparked by the Lindh plea bargain was a tear of shame.

In May1998, Osama bin Laden told an ABC television reporter, "We have seen, in the last decade, the decline of the American government. This was proven in Beirut, when the Marines fled after two explosions. This was also repeated in Somalia. After a few blows, the soldiers ran in defeat and America forgot all the media propaganda about being the leader of the world. ... The U.S. is a paper tiger."

Bin Dirtbag was frankly kinda-sorta right – however, in a classic case of his reach exceeding his grasp, he had almost single handedly done what decades of political correctness cancer prevented. He awakened a sleeping atrophied giant and breathed fire into his soul.  So what happened?

When and how was “Let’s roll” allowed to atrophy into “Let’s roll over.”?

© 2002 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved

Geoff is a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers.  A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Metcalf has hosted his radio talk show on the ABC/Disney owned and operated KSFO and in worldwide syndication.