• "God invented war so Americans could learn geography" -- Mark Twain.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Life to Mull Over False Oaths

In the news, Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani born American citizen who pled guilty to attempted car-bombing in Times Square, was sentenced today to life in prison without parole. In imposing sentence U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum said "I do hope you will spend some of the time in prison thinking carefully about whether the Quran wants you to kill lots of people." Shazad replied, the "Quran gives us the right to defend. And that's all I'm doing, " adding "We do not accept your democracy or your freedom because we already have Sharia law and freedom." Judge Cederbaum cut him to ask if he had sworn allegiance to the United States when he became a citizen last year.

"I did swear but I did not mean it," said Shahzad.

"So you took a false oath," the judge told him.

Torquemada, wherever he is, must certainly have managed a smile.

But it is not likely Shazad will mull over anything very concrete for long. As a "terrorist" he will no doubt be subject to a Super Max regimen. For those who have no idea what the United States does to convicted "terrorists" suffice to say that it boils down to being locked in a white box 24/7/365. As one defense attorney has put it, "Within a year they become living mushrooms"

There is no reason under Heaven for such sadism. The official justification is that as "potential terorrists" these convicts need to be guarded extra heavily. The problem lies in the "potential". What potential does a person behind several layers of barbed wire, concrete walls and steel bars have of committing further social harm? None. Zero. Zip. An ordinary lock and key will suffice quite well.

No. The Super Max regimen is simply institutionalized sadism of the vilest sort. It is extremely painful to be isolated from human contact, to feel yourself loosing grip as you fall into repeating loops of your own fantasy until, tired of hearing yourself, you become deaf to yourself and turn into a mushroom.

The Government can certainly be expected to punish criminals of various sorts and to take steps to protect the nation and the public from further harm. We have no quarrel with that principle. But no government has the right to engage in cruelty and governments that do are at the end of their historical cycle.