It seems that although David Hicks is somewhat old news, people are still harping on about the injustice of it all, ad nauseum, including on a recent unrelated post of mine (see comments.) I had been meaning to write something about Mr. Hicks (aka Abu Muslim al-Austraili and Muhammed Dawoodin) in response to his meagre 9 month sentence, but never got around to it. But, in light of some contentious remarks, here goes:
David Matthew Hicks, poster child for trouble and Australian Muslim convert, embarked on a life of militancy in 1999 (at age 24) when he joined the Kosovo Liberation Army, fighting alongside ethnic Albanians in their battle against the Serbs during the Kosovo War. 2 months later he was back in Australia where he converted to Islam. After being rejected by the Australian Army, for lack of a formal education (he was kicked out of school at 14), he went to Pakistan to study Islam, and shortly thereafter plunged into a life of Islamic extremism. His initial indoctrination into this culture of violence began with Lashkar-e-Toiba, where he learned all the various methods of guerrilla warfare, and ended with training at al-Qaeda's al-Farouq camp near Kandahar. He spoke to his parents in November 2001 telling them he was ".... going off to Kabul to defend it against the Northern Alliance." He was captured, a month later by a Northern Alliance warlord and eventually handed over to US special forces.
In a documentary entitled Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land, David's father, Terry Hicks, read from some of David's letters where he explains that his training, in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, was a means to guarantee that "the Western-Jewish domination is finished, so we live under Muslim law again". He has even acknowledged that he met with Bin Laden many times.
Though people like to make him out as an innocent, David Matthew Hicks was not a tourist on a vacation that turned into a nightmare, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was in Afghanistan post 9/11, of his own volition, fighting with al-Qaeda and the Taliban against the Northern Alliance and coalition forces. That is called aiding and abetting a terrorist organization, which makes you a terrorist, and therefore an enemy combatant. No ifs ands or buts. There are a whole different set of rules with this kind of war. And as for claims of torture, of course they are going to say whatever they have to, to try and save their proverbial butts, and get themselves out of Guantanamo, which I'm sure has far better conditions than the caves they lived in prior to being captured. They know how soft the world is on claims of torture.
But the bottom line is: David Hicks made choices in life. He chose to convert to Islam, he chose to align himself with terrorist groups and launch into a life of militant extremism and violence. He chose to be in Afghanistan post 9/11. No-one forced him to do any of those things, and yet choose he did. So, where's the accountability? If you choose to do something criminal and you are caught, then you suffer the consequences. People need to take responsibility for their actions. Hicks is unwilling to take any responsibility for all the wrong choices he has made in life. And there are far too many people who feel he has been wronged. The irony of it all, is that Hicks probably loathes all those western, liberal bleeding hearts who support him because they are not Muslim.
I hope he turns his life around, but it's unlikely, particularly if he remains a Muslim. His life has been fraught with wrong turns since childhood, and it will probably continue down that road. I wouldn't be surprised if, once released, he sets off for Iraq to join his Muslim brethren there, to continue the fight to kill the roots of democracy. There have been other Guantanamo detainees who, upon being released, have returned to fight another day: Abdullah Mehsud and these Afghans and these, so why not David Mitchell Hicks aka Abu Muslim al-Austraili aka Muhammed Dawoodin?