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This must be a joke! This is serious, for sure!
Debate Score:29
Total Votes:38
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 This must be a joke! (12)
 This is serious, for sure! (3)

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First Gitmo Trial: Salim Hamdan, The Lug Nut Man!

Can Osama's driver be a War Criminal?

This must be a joke!

Side Score: 24
Winning Side!

This is serious, for sure!

Side Score: 5

I cannot help but laugh at the trial of a Yemeni man who was Osama bin Laden's driver from 1996 - 2001 when he was captured without protest and would not fire the gun he had in his possession at his arresting officers. He freely gave all the information he had which amounted to, more or less, the houses or locations he drove bin Laden to. He even gave the authorities the locations of what are known as safe houses for Al Quaeda members.

This man would have driven anyone who would pay him the $200.00 a month he was receiving for his work. There is nothing that would link him to the Taliban or Al Quaeda and he swore no allegiance to bin Laden. America, is this the best you can do after all these years? To prosecute this uneducated man for changing tires, oil changes and generally being certain all the lug nuts were tight? If they wish to make him guilty by association then someone is going to have to explain why they didn't pursue a case against Adolph Hitler's driver after WW II.

Side: This must be a joke
ThePyg(6737) Disputed
1 point

this reminds me of the movie Clerks. all those guys rebuilding the death star exploded with it when the rebels took it out again.

they knew what they were getting themselves into, and if they didn't, tough shit.

but he's getting a trial, better than being blown up.

Side: This is serious, for sure!

From the Yahoo article:

Even if they find him innocent, Hamdan may not be released. The military retains the right to hold "enemy combatants" considered a threat to the United States — even those cleared of charges by the tribunals.

So yes, if the outcome doesn't matter, this trial is a joke.

Side: This must be a joke
2 points

The Pentagon wants to prosecute anybody that can be viewed as having the slightest connection to terrorism. This makes it seem to the American people, and to the rest of the world, like the United States government is doing more than its part in preventing terrorism. Just think about 9/11/091 - within hours, the government came out with a list of 19 probable suspects in the hijackings, and most immediately called Suddam Hussein the mastermind behind it all. However, Hussein was actually on our side in the fight against terrorists, and at least six of the nineteen accused hijackers have been proved to be alive and have no connection to the attacks.

This is a similar situation, albeit on a much smaller scale. The United States has not found Bin Laden, so they are trying to connect Hamdan to the attacks so that they can at least supply a consolation prize. Anybody that has done anything that directly or indirectly aided Bin Laden risks being in the same position as Hamdan.

Supporting Evidence: FBI list of probable hijackers and proof of innocence. (
Side: War on Terrorism

The verdict is in...Hamden guilty of "supporting terrorism"

From Yahoo News: "Army Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham, a former Guantanamo official who has since become critical of the legal process, mocked the decision to prosecute a driver as the tribunal's first defendant."

"We can only trust that the next subjects ... will include cooks, tailors, and cobblers without whose support terrorist leaders would be left unfed, unclothed, and unshod, and therefore rendered incapable of planning or executing their attacks," Abraham said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

*Follow-up: He has now been sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison of which he has already served 5 years and 1 month! Tell me that they couldn't have sentenced him to time already served. This truly is a JOKE!!! Amen.

Side: This must be a joke
1 point

Who will the lame duck Bushies beat the bushes for next to haul before an august military tribunal at Camp Gitmo? Bin Laden's cook, maid or bottle washer? Bin Laden's driver as a terrorist mastermind? I'm afraid he has nothing on New York cabbies. It all amounts to a hill of...well, camel dung.

Side: This must be a joke
1 point

This is "a trial that will be closely watched as the first full test of the Pentagon's system for prosecuting alleged terrorists." The same people that did not want to give trials to Gitmo prisoners are the same people that want to convict Hamdan. They have high political incentive to prove that the Gitmo prisoners deserve to be prisoners, and that they don't deserve the trials.

Supporting Evidence: Associated Press - Gitmo trial begins (
Side: Gitmo Trials
2 points

Look, the way our government sees this is that if you know someone is up to "evildoing", then you have to report them to the authorities.

Osama bin Laden's driver is just as guilty as the governments and villages in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan that allowed him to stay there. Sure the opium farmers aren't a threat to the United States, but by abetting an international war criminal, they become just as guilty. Think Nazi sympathizers in the 1940s.

Side: War on Terrorism
1 point

But "the governments and villages in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan" are not put on a war criminal trial.

Side: Kangaroo Court
1 point

While I'm not sure if Bin Laden's driver was powerful enough to cause any harm to the US, I do think that it's an important step that we are making to actually follow our Constitution and allow these suspects access to due process and a "fair" trial.

Side: Due Process
Loudacris(912) Disputed
1 point

Not so fast, the Supreme Court has already struck down the military tribunals established to try suspected members of al-Qaeda, emphatically rejecting a signature Bush anti-terrorism measure and the broad assertion of executive power upon which the president had based it.

Just because there is a trial underway, it doesn't mean its a "fair" trial. In fact, its already been proven not to be.

Supporting Evidence: High Court Rejects Detainee Tribunals (
Side: Kangaroo Court

The Supreme Court rejected the tribunals on June 29, 2008! I believe GWB has labored under the delusion that this is a War Crimes trial, which it is not. This is clearly a puppet court trying a non-combatant.

It strikes me that in the article you gave as supporting evidence that the Washington Post has given Salim Ahmed Hamdan a loftier title than mere driver. He has now been called Osama bin Laden's former aide! This shift in title brings an entirely different connotation to the mind of the people and it's just wrong to do that. There's nothing fair about any of it.

Side: This must be a joke
1 point

If Bush had followed the Constitution, none of this Iraq mess would have happened.

Side: Kangaroo Court

Oh, so true...but GWB is above all that, the Constitution means nothing to him when he thinks he can prove a point.

Side: Kangaroo Court