Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Jose Padilla: We Hardly Knew Ye

As legal affairs writer Dahlia Lithwick noted, Jose Padilla turned out turned out to just be the wrong Muslim at the wrong airport on the wrong day.
That remains the inescapable conclusion after the hapless Padilla was sentenced to 17 years in prison today after having been found guilty of the small handful of remaining charges that the government had not been embarrassed into dropping.
The government had initially boasted that the former Chicago gang member turned Muslim was the "Dirty Bomber" and intended to detonate a crude nuclear device in a major American city. But by the time Padilla went on trial last fall, there wasn’t a peep about the bomb plot because it would have opened the door to the administration's use of torture and other coercive interrogation techniques.

For me, Padilla has been the ultimate wake-up call to the true character of the Bush administration: Imprisoning a one of its own citizens on U.S. soil with no charges of any kind and then keeping him for years incommunicado, a line that I never though I would see crossed in my beloved America.

What is doubly sad is that the entire Padilla saga aroused so little controversy.

More here.

Photograph by The Associated Press

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