- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 26, 2001

The war on terror is proceeding well for our country, so far. While our government has not officially made a declaration of war, the other side did and has been waging it openly for some time. After demonstrating both our power and our kindness, we are faced with issues that tear deeply into our collective fiber. One of them is the question of whether John Walker is a traitor.

The legalists will parse the issue every way from Sunday. Our court system will give this citizen every chance to prove he's not a traitor. The trial will be raised to the O.J. Simpson level quickly. Are Johnny Cochran and Alan Dershowitz already waiting in the wings? The news media hope so.

Poor, Walker. It's not his fault. After all, he was raised in mushy-headed Marin County. He was looking for a different identity, tried being black at age 14, discovered “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” started wearing white robes and converted to Islam. Maybe this was a logical path from the hot tubs, cultural liberalism, simplistic multiculturalism of the mushiest of California's counties. Walker's family was nominally a Roman Catholic one, but it seems anything but. His mother, we're told, dabbled in Buddhism; his father, an affluent lawyer, paid for Walker's studies in Yemen and Pakistan.

Nor was his father too upset when his son commented about the attack on the USS Cole, that it was deserved because the ship shouldn't have been in an Arab port. Walker's take on the World Trade Center terrorist attacks was that they were justified because of America's past sins against Arabs and Muslims. His parents weren't too upset about that, either.

Now? Walker may be a traitor. Why? Because he consciously and voluntarily took part in a war against his country and our allies. Carrying an AK-47, he deliberately participated in acts of war for the entire period after September 11 against our friends and us. He was taken prisoner and was involved in the prison riot in which one of our CIA agents was killed beaten, bludgeoned and mutilated.

His family says he is a victim, not a traitor, that he was brainwashed. Interesting.

Here's a man as old as the Marines he opposed, who consciously and voluntarily took up arms against his country. And he is a victim?

America has almost always been lenient with traitors from Aaron Burr, who was raising an army against the United States, to Tokyo Rose, of World War II fame. While morally and behaviorally traitors, somehow they weren't traitorous enough to be hanged or shot. Life in solitary confinement, alone forever to recite his prayers, might be sufficient punishment for Walker, but then, maybe not.


ED FRANCE

St. Augustine, Fla.

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