And speaking of peace, imagine, if you will, that Amnesty International and all those feel-good, pseudo-Buddhist hippies were successful in their efforts to persuade the US government to close its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Imagine a world in which people like this guy were allowed to go free, for lack of evidence.
This guy has, as of Sunday, admitted to planning and organizing terrorist attacks around the world, including 9/11. Even scarier, he planned and organized dozens of other attacks, including the follow-on mission to 9/11, which would have blown up the Empire State Building in New York, the Sears Tower in Chicago, Big Ben in London, and others.
What happened? Well, the War on Terror happened. Why didn't he succeed in his follow-on attacks? Because he's sitting in a cell at Gitmo.
Don't get me wrong. Only a fool would contend that everyone detained at Guantanamo is guilty of terrorist activities. But at the same time, it's clear that at least some of them are. There've simply got to be people there who shouldn't be there. But there are definitely people there who should be.
So I would have to advise, if I were consulted, that some kind of hearings should be conducted to determine whether or not there's enough evidence to continue to hold each detainee.
But wait - that's what they're doing! It was during one such hearing that Shake Mo Ham-Head admitted to being a vile, mass-murdering terrorist. He played a personal role in the murder of thousands of people - and this came from the Ham-Head's mouth during his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.
It's working. It's deeply flawed, yes. But it's working. I know there are a lot of people who don't want it to work, for political reasons. Surprising, though, how quiet they are when someone like Shake Mo Ham-Head admits that it's working.
But that's not the hard part. The hard part is the same questions I've been asking all along, about the karmic consequences of the War on Terror. The questions are the same as they were with the death penalty. Really, with imprisonment in general. But how far do we take that? I mean, it's a pretty aggressive act to take someone by force, against their will, and lock them up. Especially under Guantanamo, Baghram or Khandahar conditions. To do that, and then to accuse them of heinous and virtually unspeakable acts of cruelty, is in itself cruel by my definition. But just as I asked about the death penalty - How many lives did locking Ham-Head up save around the world? How much suffering was avoided, by imposing suffering upon one who'd caused so much suffering for so many others?
Blue Update: It's hard for me to imagine what must be running through the mind of someone who, evidently quite cheerfully, admits to not only planning and organizing the 9/11 attacks, but many others around the world. While I know it's quite possible that this guy is hamming it up in hopes that the US Government will stop searching for his terrorist buddies, I have to remind myself of the conversation I had with a young Iraqi man early in the war. When I asked him what the mutatarifeen (extremists) want, he said simply, "Kill all the Americans."
I was surprised that he'd used the word Americans, as opposed to infidels or some other religous label. So I asked him, what if all the Americans converted to Islam?
He said, "Then they will die Muslim."
It is my belief that the primary objective of this Shake Mo Ham-Head guy's particular brand of Muslim extremism is to kill all Americans and Brits. Period. He doesn't want to convert you. He wants to kill you. And if you convert to Islam, he still wants you dead. If you release him and spare his life out of compassion, he looks forward to cutting your throat with his "blessed right hand".
So what does that do to your compassion? Does it have a connotation for your practice? The reason I ask is that, although I'm wandering in search of answers, I doubt that I've gone far enough in my practice to fully understand all these implications. In a world where people want to kill me for my religion (partly), am I to use that religion as a vessel for compassion? Am I expected to show kindness to someone who wants to saw through my neck with a rusty knife because of that compassion?