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What Tarek Mehanna Might Have Told the Judge

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Tarek Mehannaby Jacob G. Hornberger

Both Glenn Greenwald and Chris Hedges have excellent analyses of the federal terrorism conviction of American citizen named Tarek Mehanna.

At his sentencing hearing last week in federal court, Mehanna delivered a scathing condemnation of U.S. foreign policy, a statement that Greenwald incorporates in full in his blog.

U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole stated, “I am frankly concerned by the defendant’s apparent lack of remorse, notwithstanding the jury’s verdict” and then proceeded to sentence the 29-year-old Islamic pharmacist to serve the next 17 years of his life in a federal penitentiary.

If Mehanna had instead delivered the following statement at his sentencing hearing, I wonder if the judge might have gone easier on him:

Oh, dear honorable Judge, who holds the power of incarcerating me for the next several years of my life, please listen carefully to my pre-sentencing statement. I apologize. I apologize to you, to the CIA, to the Pentagon, to the troops who are defending our rights and freedoms, to President Obama and former President Bush, to Congress, to all U.S. officials, to all British officials and to all other officials whose regimes have been parts of U.S. coalitions of the willing, to the American people, and to the people of the world.

I am so very sorry for having questioned the good intentions of the U.S. Empire and U.S. national security state and the wonderful results of their interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the world.

I repent, your honor, completely, fully, and without hesitation. Can you please forgive me, your honor? I am so filled with remorse.

Oh, honorable judge, I now realize that the U.S. government just made an honest mistake in believing that Saddam Hussein still had the weapons of mass destruction that the United States had delivered to him when he was using them to kill Iranians. I now realize, your honor, that our officials are not perfect. They make mistakes too. Sure, they killed a lot of people as they invaded Iraq and searched desperately for those nonexistent WMDs. But I now realize and acknowledge that those Iraqis had no right to resist the invasion of their country. They should have known that their ruler, Saddam Hussein, might not have destroyed those WMDs that the United States had previously delivered to him pursuant to the U.S. government’s partnership with him. The Iraqi people had a moral and legal duty to welcome our invading troops with open arms.

And I now realize, your honor, that when our troops failed to find those nonexistent WMDs, it was necessary for the troops to remain in Iraq for a decade in order to bring freedom, democracy, and stability to Iraq. Why couldn’t I see before now how much U.S. officials love the Iraqi people and have always been so concerned about their welfare? Why, U.S. officials were even willing to sacrifice any number of Iraqis in order to achieve freedom, democracy, and stability in their country! How could I not recognize such love and devotion before now? I now see that our officials really do love the Iraqi people to death.

I now realize that those Iraqis who resisted the U.S. invasion of their country were bad people. They were terrorists. They had no appreciation for the love that the U.S. Empire had for them. Didn’t they realize that the Empire loved them so much that it even sacrificed hundreds of thousands of their children with the deadly sanctions that the U.S. government imposed on Iraq for some 11 years? What better proof of love than that? And I now so much agree with what U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright told the world about the deaths of those half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions. Yes, I now see she was right — the deaths of those half-a-million children really were “worth it.”

Oh, your honor, if I could only have seen the truth before now. I would never have condemned the treatment of those horrible people at Abu Ghraib prison. Why couldn’t I see before now that those people deserved what they got? They were terrorists who were resisting the invasion of their country — an invasion based on nonexistent WMDs and then love for the Iraqi people. Why shouldn’t those prisoners have been abused, humiliated, tortured, and executed? It was all for their own good and the good of their country. And the same for those terrorists in Fallujah. And the same for the countless other Iraqis who were maimed and killed and exiled as a result of their resistance to the U.S. invasion of their country, that that, yes, okay, was based on a honest mistake regarding nonexistent WMDs but one also based on love and concern for the freedom and well-being of the Iraqi people. Why, let’s face it, your honor: If the Iraqi people had never resisted the invasion of their country, everything in Iraqi would have been hunky-dory. A paradise on earth!

I repent, your honor. I am so sorry.

Why couldn’t I also see that the Afghan government should have acceded to President Bush’s unconditional extradition demand for Osama bin Laden? So what if there was no extradition treaty between Afghanistan and the United States? What difference does that make? The Taliban should never have asked for evidence or offered to turn bin Laden over to an independent court for trial. The Taliban should have done what President Bush ordered them to do — turn bin Laden over to the Pentagon or the CIA for swift justice.

Sure, it’s true that the U.S. government continues to harbor accused terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, the man who is charged with planning the bombing of a Cuban airliner, by refusing to accede to the extradition demand of the Venezuelan government. And yes, it’s true that, unlike the case between Afghanistan and the United States, there is an extradition treaty between Venezuela and the United States. But what difference does that make? After all, Venezuela and Cuba are communist/socialist regimes, aren’t they? And, hey, let’s not forget that Posada worked for many years for the CIA to protect our national security. Doesn’t that make him a hero? How can a hero be a terrorist?

And so what if 99 percent of the people killed in Afghanistan, including all those wedding parties that have been bombed, had nothing to do with 9/11? They lived under a government that refused President Bush’s extradition demand, didn’t they? Then what’s wrong with their paying the price for living under that type of independent regime? They could easily have chosen to have a pro-U.S. puppet regime ruling over them, like that of Hamid Karzai, one of the most honest, benevolent, uncorrupted pro-U.S. puppets in history.

I now openly acknowledge, your honor, that I love the U.S. Empire. I love everything about it. The Founding Fathers of America and the Framers of the Constitution were wrong to oppose empire. They were wrong to oppose militarism. They were wrong to oppose foreign interventions. The people who have been right have been their American successors — the interventionists, the neo-cons, and the conservative and liberal statists who brought us the military industrial complex, the U.S. Empire, the national-security state, the CIA, and the Pentagon, along with their army of contractors and lobbyists and, of course, their perpetual climate of war, crisis, fear, and chaos. I now openly acknowledge that the U.S. Empire and the U.S. national-security state have been a grand and glorious transformative power of imperialist, interventionist, and militarist love for the people of the world.

Why, I even now recognize how important it is for the U.S. government to fund and train brutal dictatorships around the world and to enter into torture partnerships with them. How could I not recognize this before now? How could I be so blind? How could I fail to see that anything and everything the U.S. Empire and U.S. national security state do is good, moral, loving, Christian, and beneficial, no matter what?

Indeed, how could I have ever opposed the U.S. government’s support of brutal military dictatorships in Latin America and its training and maintenance of their infamous death squads that were raping, maiming, and executing resisters to their regimes? How could I not see that the victims were nothing but no-good communists and terrorists?

In fact, how could I ever have opposed the 50-year embargo against Cuba or the CIA-Mafia assassination partnership to kill Fidel Castro? Wouldn’t the world have been better off without Fidel Castro in it? Hasn’t God wanted him dead from the day he assumed power in Cuba? After all, Castro is a communist, right? And that makes him a terrorist, right? And why shouldn’t the Cuban people pay the price for keeping a communist terrorist in power?

Oh, your honor, why couldn’t I have seen the light before now?

I want you to know, your honor, that I am hereby converting from Islam to U.S. Christian. I hereby join with my fellow American Christian statists to merge — no, submerge — my conscience to the will of the U.S. national security state. I now agree with everything the national security state does and has done to protect national security. I love it, just as I know it loves me and loves the people of the world.

I now have my head straight. I am no longer an individual. I no longer live for my own sake. I am now one with the collective. Why, I’m even now willing to become an informant for the state.

Now, your honor, given my remorse, would you please give me probation?

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.


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