January 14, 2002
What has John Walker done?
John Walker is not the first nor will he be the last Amerian citizen who joined a foreign army in order to fight for a cause. Many of the other soldiers of the Al Queda, mostly Arabs, also went to Afganistan from other countries just as he did.
I can still remember when there was a revolution in Spain back in the 30s. Many Americans went to Spain to fight for the revolutionaries. Some even went to fight for the monarchy. Since this didn't involve the U.S. government in any direct way, those people were not considered to be against America or American principles. In fact many thought they were heroes.
So why are we talking about John Walker as though he were a traitor? Back when he first joined the Al Queda they were not at war with the United States. It is highly unlikely that he or any of the other rank and file Al Queda soldiers had any knowledge of the plan to attack the World Trade Center. It appears that he is no different than the many Arab enlistees in the Al Queda. What has he done that he should be treated differently from them?
Of course, the Arabs and others who went to Afghanistan after Sept. 11 knew they were joining an army that was at war with the U.S. But John Walker was already in that army on Sept. 11. It is very likely that he would have been treated as a deserter if he tried to get out. I disagree with his cause, but at the same time I propose that we should treat him no more severely than we do the Arabs who joined in the same way and for the same cause that he did.
Frank Baker, Woodinville