American Taliban fighter should face the music

--Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News Dec.10

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2001

John Philip Walker appears to be a troubled young man. He also appears to be a traitor who took up arms with an enemy force with whom the nation of his birth is at war.

So, why the apparent angst among some Americans over what to do about this young man?

Walker, 20, was captured the other day by U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan. Several years ago, he converted to Islam and then joined the Taliban. ...

Walker suffered serious shrapnel wounds during a fierce firefight at a prison holding Taliban fighters. He now is in U.S. custody and is recovering from his wounds.

What should happen to him? He should be returned to the United States and tried in the federal courts on a charge of treason. He deserves only the consideration to which he is entitled as a U.S. citizen, namely a fair and public trial.

If the court convicts him, then he deserves the sentence that the court deems warranted. If that sentence is death, then the government is obligated to carry it out.

However, let us not waste time wondering -- and worrying -- about how this young man could turn on his country. The judicial system must decide whether he did and determine the price he must pay.

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