December 18th, 2008
05:34 PM ET

Should Pres. Bush Pardon American Taliban Lindh?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The parents of John Walker Lindh, the American-born Taliban fighter, held a press conference pleading with President Bush to pardon their son before he leaves office next month.

The 27-year-old San Francisco man was captured in Afghanistan by Northern Alliance forces in 2001 after he was shot and wounded during a prison uprising. He was turned over to American authorities.

In 2002 Lindh was sentenced to 20 years after pleading guilty to serving in the Taliban Army. He's currently at a federal prison in Indiana.

His parents asked the President to show mercy for their son during the Christmas season. His father repeated what he's said in the past, that his son ended up in Afghanistan during a civil war while studying Islam abroad, saying he joined the Taliban with no intention of fighting against America.

While in office 10,000 petitions have been filed requesting pardons from the President. Fewer than 200 have been granted. Lindh's request is in a pile along with those for former Illinois Governor George Ryan, and junk bonds salesman Michael Milken. There's speculation that Bush may pardon former Cheney Chief of Staff Scooter Libby. He already commuted Libby's prison sentence. Libby was convicted in connection with the Valerie Plame CIA scandal.

Here’s my question to you: Should President Bush commute the sentence of John Walker Lindh, the so-called Taliban American?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Dave writes:
It simply is not in Bush's character to pardon this individual. Remember his Governor's actions in Texas and the executions recorded? This is not a forgiving man!

Al from Iowa writes:
John Walker Lindh is as much a victim of the Bush/Cheney Neo-con pre-emptive war oil grab strategy as the one hundred thousand (minimum) dead innocent Iraqi women and children, the four million displaced Iraqi refugees, and the fabled heroism of Jessica Lynch. They have all been used, abused, and killed for the control of fossil fuels wrapped up in the farcical ideology of spreading democracy. He deserves a full presidential pardon at least as much as Scooter.

Pat from Georgia writes:
NO! If Bush commutes Lindh's sentence, he's saying its okay to be a terrorist if you happen to also be an American. But then, Bush didn't think Scooter Libby deserved what the judicial system meted out, and he didn't object to waterboarding and torture, and he condoned listening in to private phone calls. So who knows what he'll do as he slithers out of office.

Lyn writes:
No, probably not. But I do not adhere to the idea that there is no room for forgiveness either. He is as much a victim of terrorism as other young men and woman who rallied to this particular cause.

Terry from North Carolina writes:
No pardons for anyone.

Filed under: Afghanistan
soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. lynn. vancouver, bc

    Would Iraq pardon a person charged with an offense on American soil? They are a sovereign nation according to what Bush says so justice needs to be done by them through their courts.

    December 18, 2008 at 1:36 pm |
  2. Jenny Rome Ga


    December 18, 2008 at 1:40 pm |
  3. perry jones


    perry jones
    Council Bluffs Iowa

    December 18, 2008 at 1:53 pm |
  4. Joe in DE

    Bush should pardon Ramos & Compean. He has pardoner othrs less deserving and this applies to Lindth.

    December 18, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  5. Frank from Peterborough

    The President shouldn't be able to pardon anyone. In most instances all a pardon amounts to is the act of favouring one criminal over another unless it was done to make up for a miscarriage of justice as in the case of the two border patrolmen.

    December 18, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  6. Don (Ottawa)

    No, why should he. The guy knew what he was doing and got caught. I say, let him rot.

    December 18, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  7. Chris

    No. He is a traitor to our country, plain and simple.

    December 18, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  8. Denis Duffy

    Before he pardons anyone, he should beg the pardon of the American people for what he has done to our country.

    Pittsburgh, Pa.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  9. Conor in Chicago

    Why not. Bush has given every criminal in our country a free ride which include military corporations, theifs on wall street, every appointment he's made to the Justice Dept. that got in any trouble, and his inner circle and direct reports in the white house. Might as well make the cherry on top by pardoning the guy who embraced the Taliban mainly because the Bush administration was simply the best example of everything that is wrong with this country and I am sure JWL knew what was coming.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  10. cy gardner

    That depends. IF Bush ends up giving blanket pardons to torturers, wiretappers and liars like Rove, Gonzalez, Libby, Cheney, et al... then why not? Lindh did less to hurt this nation than any one of the aforementioned dirtbags. Bush deserves prison more than that kid. cy gardner arlington va

    December 18, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  11. Richard - Knoxville TN

    Nope - What he needs to do is request a Trial-Re-trial - Let his guilt or inocence be determined by a a jury of his peers in a FAIR trial - Giving him a pardon sez he's guilty but I'm a nice guy (which bush isn't)

    December 18, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  12. susan from Idaho

    Heavens yes, he's still young enough to join Hamas or some other radical organization. When did treason become a crime no longer pushishble by death? No pardon let him live in prison like the dog he is.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  13. Terry, Chandler AZ

    Walker was a victim. When he joined the Taliban he joined as a freedom fighter. He was not fighting against the U.S. as the U.S. was not at war with the Taliban at the time. I'm sure he was in a position where he could not simply say, "Excuse me, I'd like to go home now" , when the U.S. went into Afghanistan.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  14. don in naples, florida

    Bush, pardon someone else? he needs to worry about himself...

    December 18, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  15. Venia

    No, he's a terrorist and should be treated like all others.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  16. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    He may not truly be guilty of high treason but he is guilty of supreme stupidity and a sort of depraved indifference to his homeland, so I say, no pardon.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  17. Silas, Cameron, NC

    Nobody should be pardoned. If you do the crime, you gotta fess up and do the time. Knowing the lame duck (haha, duck) that Bush is, he'll ignore the issue. Or let him free asking for a bribe...Oh wrong politician-my bad!

    December 18, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  18. dennis north carolina


    December 18, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  19. Daniel Ambrose

    No. He needs to complete his sentence as given to him.

    Daniel Ambrose,
    Atlanta, GA

    December 18, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  20. Razorback Jack, Springdale, Arkansas

    No. Our prisons are better living conditions than where we found him and we still aren't sure what team he is playing for. In my opinion he got off going to Gitmo just because he IS an American, but he needs some more thinking time with himself.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  21. Simpliticus

    It simply is not in Bush's character to pardon this individual. Remember his governor's actions in Texas and the executions recorded. This is NOT a forgiving man!

    December 18, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  22. Joanne Buck

    No, he should pardon the two border patrol agents who were wrongly convicted and simply doing their job. Let Mexico know they do not run the USA Bush.
    J Buck

    December 18, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  23. Mike CA

    Hi Jack
    No, No & No. He made his decision .
    Copean & Ramos didn't get one.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  24. carson


    December 18, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  25. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    He's not a family friend so I doubt he will. Should he? No, let someone with brains decide if his sentence should be commuted.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  26. Rob

    He won't cause he is not rich. He will pardon some one like Madoff since he is mega wealthy and was on wall street.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  27. Don in Fort Gratiot MI

    No. And I'm sure he will not. Bush may be a lot of different things, but his stance on terrorist has not waivered. We are still fighting the Taliban you know.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  28. Andrew - San Diego, CA

    Absolutley not, Jack. In the midst of Guantanamo controversy and military tribunal suspicion, this is the one guy who deserves to stay locked up. This is the guy who left his "home," and went and fought American troops alongside Taliban forces, not long after attending a weekend retreat hosted by "MC" Osama bin Laden. The story is sad, tragic, and unfortunate, but pardoning Lindh is a message that runs contra to President Bush's entire presidency. If he is looking to throw a bone at war critics or foes in the Middle East, he should consider helping out the guy who chucked shoes at his head.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  29. David in Granville, Ohio

    My first reaction was "No way". Then I realized that this is just one misguided individual who has done far less damage than our vice president, Cheney, who admitted recently the war crime of water boarding.

    Maybe instead of a pardon Cheney should be put in a prison cell together with Lindh, and Lindh could practice what he learned in terrorist camp on Cheney, blowing them both up!

    December 18, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  30. Charlie in Belen, New Mexico

    The President and Vice-President seem to feel that they should not be held accountable for their actions and illegal acts. Why should John Walker Lindh be held accountable for his ????

    December 18, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  31. william fitzwater

    NO WAY!
    He betrayed America to our emenies. He crossed lines and fought for our enemies therefore he should recieve punishment for his actions.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  32. Aimee Punessen

    Lindh has served about 6 years of an original 20 year sentence which will likely amount to to only 17 years in actuality according to CNN reports in 2002. He therefore has 9 years left. That doesn't seem too long based on his actions. People serve longer sentences than that for much lesser crimes.

    Brentwood, Tennessee

    December 18, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  33. Judie from St. Augustine, Fl


    A big fat no! It is time that all people become responsible for their actions and this includes John Walker Lindh. He made his choice now he should accept the punishment that that crime demanded. Maybe if he serves his sentence others who may be thinking about following in his foot steps will not be so quick to make the wrong choice. Do we really need this Taliban trained individual roaming free in our country, I think not.

    St. Augustine, Fl

    December 18, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  34. Marrianne, St. Louis, MO.

    No. He is a traitor to his country.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  35. Jamie Riis

    Nope. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  36. Martin in Richmond B.C.

    He was a traitor to his people and his country.
    But then Ford did give Nixon a full pardon.
    So yes, commute the rest of the sentence, he has served more
    time than Scooter Libby did.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  37. Dean in Macungie,PA


    Only if he is deported to Afghanistan or Iraq to be with our American soldiers who I am sure would see he is well taken care of.


    December 18, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  38. Russ in Johnston, IA

    Absolutely not! You pick the wrong side of a confrontation with your own country, and a pardon or commuting of the sentence is the last thing that should be expected.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  39. eddie in NC

    NO, NO, NO, NEVER, NOT, NIEN, He should suffer the same fate as all of the others NO more NO less.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  40. Mike S.,New Orleans

    Bush should save his pardons for Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and Alberto Gonzales. Their domestic terrorism was even worse.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  41. Jackie in Dallas

    Well, President Bush does owe him a big favor, but for the safety of the country in general, and for Lindh's own safety, I don't think so.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  42. Richard Heriot Bay, B.C. Canada

    John Walker Lindh is guilty of being in the wrongplace at the wrong time and should have his sentence reduced to closely supervised probation instead of incarceration. He was already in Afghanistan during 9/11 and had he refused to join the Taliban chances are he would have joined the ranks of decapitated non-players in the early part of the war. Stupidity in this case may be a crime but JW Lindh has a reasonable measure of innocence nevertheless.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  43. jack frost

    Pardon him? Of course not.

    December 18, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  44. mitchell, arkansas

    he's served enough time.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  45. Mickie

    Yes. Bush has not managed to punish any other taliban members, only an American who did not participate in the attack on the U.S.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  46. douglas in minnesota

    Jack - how do you pardon treason? He could claim "rehabilitation," but we will never know where his true allegiance lies. We could not therefore be sure that he will never again engage in overt/covert subversion or sedition aginst the US. If his sentance were to be commuted, he should be stripped of his US citizenship and deported. It would be better to have him plotting against the US outside our borders, rather than giving our opponents a home-field advantage.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  47. David

    Lindh was and is an unpatriotic traitor. He set out on a mission to kill the brave men and women of the armed forces and deserves to serve the rest of his sentence. As a matter of fact, he should be tried for treason!


    December 18, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  48. KarenB, Florida

    no no no. absolutely not. traitor.
    if Bush does pardon him, the two border patrols now in jail should
    be pardoned, get back pay, and jobs back. actually that should happn whether or not the traitor is pardoned.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  49. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    Jack, many of my GOP friends say that the United States is a Christian Nation. If that is the case, forgiveness for John Walker Lindh should come in the form of a full pardon, not a commutation of his sentence. If we are to begin healing as a nation and setting an example on why the United States is the “Shining City on a Hill”, we should forgive this young man as Christ forgave his tormenters.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  50. Joe in WV

    If he takes it easy on him, such as a pardon, then if any other talliban person that would ever get caught, they know they would only get
    somthing like a slap on the hand.

    Joseph –

    December 18, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  51. str84wird

    ABSOLUTELY NOT! Other people who are like-minded need to see what happens when you stand against the country of your origin and it happens to be the United States!
    Anyone convicted of a crime, should do the time...none of this nonsense about pardons!!

    December 18, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  52. Irv Lilley

    Jack, If Pres. Bush commutes the sentence of John Walker and does not exonerate Border Patrol agents Ramos and Compean,
    he should be forced to resign immediately.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  53. Gord

    The beauty of America is your free to do whatever you want. You can join the Taliban or the French Foreign Legion, and how many non-Americans have died in Iraq in our country's uniform? I'll bet everyone else taken prisoner on that day has been released back to their home country Lindh was put on show as a pathetic loser, I'll lose no sleep if he is pardoned.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  54. Jim from Texas


    He made his choice and now must suffer the consequence. Twenty years is not very long.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  55. bigjoerice.minnesota

    Is there a precedent for not only pardoning a terrorist, but a terrorist traitor at that? Thought not....

    December 18, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  56. Stella Pevear, Gouverneur, NY

    Absolutely not Jack. TREASON is TREASON. Back in the days when this was considered the ultimate crime one could commit against one's country,the penalty was death. Why hasn't he been tried for treason?

    December 18, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  57. John

    Jack: No! Lindh should have to go through the Justice System to get a parole. Remember, if you lay down with dogs you come up with fleas. I believe Lindh still has some fleas left to get rid of before release.


    December 18, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  58. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: Sometimes when we are young, we regret some of the things that we do along the road of life....but that is the price we pay for the life we choose.....Old saying, do the crime, pay the time. He shouldn't be pardon.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  59. Sherri (From Mills, Wy.)

    NO. We should show him the same kind of mercy he displayed. He endangered peoples lives, and he needs to pay. You can't jump off a building and then say "Ooops!" and climb back up. Americans especially need to know that there are consequences for their actions!

    December 18, 2008 at 3:31 pm |

    George Bush should not pardon Lindh. It would be mor appropriate to pardon the border patrol agents Compian? and Ramos. They should never have convicted in the first palce. Even Duke Cunningham should receive a pardon. At least he was a war hero in Vietnam. He served enough time for the crime he committed.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  61. Terry from North Carolina

    No pardons for anyone.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  62. Katiec Pekin, IL

    If Bush issues a blanket pardon for the criminal acts he, Cheney,
    Rove etc have committed than he should pardon everyone who
    asks as their crimes would be significantly less.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  63. Bill from Medford, NJ

    In an ideal world, who else is pardoned for greater or lesser crimes should be considered. Also, the requirements of justice should be weighed against the benefits of mercy, in accordance with presidential authority.

    However, given the mood of the country toward terrorism at this time, I believe that this is a non-starter. Ain't no way.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  64. Jay in Texas


    December 18, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  65. Aaron from Denver

    We are all responsible for our actions, no matter what our original intentions may have been. The courts have ruled this way for years, and it would be nonsense to go against that philosophy in this case.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  66. Rose in Az

    No Way, he knew what he was doing and should be treated like any other terrorist. Just because he was born in America does not qualify him for special treatment, in fact, it is worse because he was born an American.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  67. Jay-San Antonio

    He should not be pardoned his sentence should be reduced 20 years is a bit much. The GOP was hard on Obama and his relationships saying he pals around with terrorist so how can the Bush White House pardon this sentence?

    December 18, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  68. Jane (Minnesota)

    As the theme song from Baretta says.........."Don't do the time if can't do the crime" No pardon.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  69. Karen - Nashville

    He's good-looking and has weathy parents. How nice. He's also a traitor who endangered members of our military. President Bush should find more deserving prisoners to pardon.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  70. garrick

    hi jack
    i feel for the parents but this man is grown and will have to remember he turned his back on his country and now his country will have to do the same and make him serve his time.I guess next we will have to pardon Bin Laden. NO

    December 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  71. C from GA

    No, absolutely not. Lindh made his choice to join a terrorist organization that he KNEW was the enemy of Americans. There are consequences to the choices we make. He has a sentence to serve. Let the justice system do its job.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  72. Cliff, Front Royal,VA

    As a Marine veteran of the Korean war, absolutly NOT.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  73. Liz in Towson, MD

    Absolutely NOT! His parents say "all he did" was join the Afghanistan Army–but why would he do that when he knew he would be fighting AGAINST the US? He obviously doesn't care for the US at all, so why should anybody, let alone President Bush, pardon him?

    December 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  74. Gigi in Alabama

    Why not just take a president's right to pardon away from him, and leave all the criminals where they belong.
    I know that has been one of his rights since the beginning, but that still does not make the practice right.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  75. arlene in iowa

    I hope the president doesn't pardon him. I's the parents that want the pardon, not him. He has confessed to being in the taliban army. What do you think he will do when he gets out . what the taliban do best.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  76. Dr. George Rimini, Italy

    Yes, Bush should commute John Walker Lindh's sentence. The young man has learned a serious lesson about life. He deserves a second chance! Past politics between the Taliban and the U.S.A. were very complex, regarding loyalties, and who was loyal to whom. Remember the Taliban had been on different sides of the fence, when Russia had invaded Afghanistan.

    December 18, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  77. Sue Ventura

    no heknew what he was doing.

    December 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  78. Jerry from Jacksonville

    Yes, Bush and Chaney are free and so should this man.

    December 18, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  79. Thomas - Yo.town, OH

    Three words. ........Ramos and Compean

    December 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  80. Nancy, Tennessee

    When you think about what he did, you have to wonder "what was he thinking?" If he really just happened to be united with the Taliban at the wrong time and wrong place, he has to be the unluckiest person in the world. If President Bush pardons him, then he becomes the luckiest person in the world because his act of treason will be erased.

    December 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  81. Jerry Alpharetta, GA

    There are crimes that deserve no mercy. Joining forces with terrorist is one of those. Maybe the parents should consider where they went wrong in raising a son that so willingly joined the Taliban Army. What were his thoughts as he trained with all the weapons and fired at targets that looked like American GIs. Did he think that was part of religious education?

    December 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  82. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    It would be an insult to the families who have lost their loved ones in an illegal war.

    December 18, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  83. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    If what his father claims is indeed true then yes, there is nothing wrong with different beliefs that cause no harm to others.

    The scary part is not having this young man on the streets, but having Bush judge anything.

    December 18, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  84. Bodo, Ann Arbor

    President Bush should leave justice to the courts where it belongs.

    December 18, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  85. Lee

    Yeah, that sounds like a wonderful idea. What next? Perhaps paint the Oval Office in Taliban colors?


    Missoula, Montana

    December 18, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  86. Kelley-Arkansas

    No he shouldn't be pardoned. But is W handles this like everything else, I expect him to do the exact opposite of what is right.

    December 18, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  87. Ken in NC

    President Bush should commute the sentence of John Walker Lindh only if he will do the same for Ted Bundy and John Wilkes Booth. None of them really ment any harm to America. They should all be placed under house arrest in a 7 million dollar apartment in New York and made to suffer like Madoff.

    December 18, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  88. I. B., Rocky Mount, North Carolina

    No. He's lucky he wasn't executed for treason.

    December 18, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  89. Bea from Kenya

    Terrorists or anyone affiliated with terrorism should serve time. The pain of watching my fellow Kenyans die from a terrorist attack was too much to handle and this commutation will contradict America's message of "no negotiations will terrorists". I say No Jack.
    Love from Kenya.

    December 18, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  90. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    Absolutely not! He took up arms against the US. He did the crime,now let him do the time. Mom and Dad can visit him in jail.

    December 18, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  91. Sonny in SC

    I dont think that should even be considered, Lindth made his choices let him rot there

    December 18, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  92. Sandra Crawford

    Sandra Summerville, SC

    December 18, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  93. carol in Oregon

    The lesson here is parents need to teach their kids everyday what you sow you shall reap. My kids got so tired of hearing that, but it saved them a lot of heartache. It would be nice if Bush could pardon all the kids who made bad choices. But it just doesn't always work that way. Some are pardoned in life but not many. My heart goes out to him and also mostly his parents

    December 18, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  94. Curt Murden

    John Walker Lindh chose which side he wanted to fight on. Now let him pay the price for making a stupid decision. I have no sympathy for him, his mother or his father. They raised an idiot.

    December 18, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  95. Jan from NW Iowa

    Absolutely not! I don't care if you young and easily influenced; he chose to go against and align with the Taliban. Let him sit and jail be an example to others. If he had succeed at a terriost attack – would people be asking to pardon him then?

    December 18, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  96. Tripp Mechanicsburg, PA

    Has John Walker Lindh denounced the Taliban's crimes? Has he asked for forgiveness? Has he recanted his decision to join them and changed his ways? I am all for forgiveness, but if Lindh has not recognized the error of his ways, done what he could to mend the harm he may have caused, and demonstrated a commitment to tolerance and peace, then he is not yet ready to be pardoned.

    December 18, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  97. greg of Lancaster, Tx

    No way. Mr. Lindh took up arms against his own and as such should consider himself lucky to have escaped with his life. He is a young man and after serving his 20 years will still have plenty of life left. He should spend the next 20 years remembering all those who have perished or suffered grievous wounds in battle to protect and preserve the nation that has already given him far more mercy than he deserves.

    December 18, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  98. Bob D, Morristown, NJ

    There are people much more deserving of a commutation pardon than Lindh who won't be getting one, and some less deserving, like Liddy, who will. While I can see that his mere presence on a battlefield may not have been by his choice, his participation in the prison uprising certainly was. Therefore I do not think he should be pardoned.

    December 18, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  99. Paula (Indiana)

    That's a tough one Jack. I don't agree with the concept of the outgoing President giving pardons to criminals. I also don't know enough of the specifics to pass judgement on this young man.

    December 18, 2008 at 4:53 pm |
  100. TM

    Good news for US terrorist cells. You are now free to continue your terrorist acts, as long as you are American. The President can pardon you...

    December 18, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  101. John from collinsville, Illinois

    Yes sir but if only goes and lives with them from now on!

    December 18, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  102. Stoney, TN

    No let him stay in jail!

    December 18, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  103. Lyn

    No, probably not. But I do not adhere to the idea that there is no room for forgiveness either. He is as much a victum of terrorism as other young men and woman who rallied to this particular cause.

    December 18, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  104. Marlene Scarlett

    No, at 27 he is still a relatively young man. The parents say he has stayed out of trouble while in prison. What has he done to improve himself? If he is let out, what are the restrictions – he can't travel abroad? To Risky!! America put me in prison for 7 years – I'll show you! Marlene, Michigan

    December 18, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  105. Paul, Charles Town, WV

    I would prefer Bush didn't do much of anything before leaving office. His reign of error is nearly over.

    December 18, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  106. Steve Peach - Indiana

    Absolutely no way should he be pardoned!! When he joined the Taliban Army, he gave up all rights as an American, and he shouldn't be afforded any now. If the Afganistan government wants to pardon him, fine, but the US government needs to stand firm on this one.

    December 18, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  107. Roy - Chicago IL

    This person was a immature 20 year old when all this happened, and technically he did not fight against Americans. Becoming Muslim is his free choice and should be respected. Joining the Taliban was a young idealist decision that ended up being not very smart.
    Many politicians have things they did in their 20s they'd like us to forget. I think this sentence should be commuted but with a LOT of community service. Put this person to work trying to bridge and heal the rifts that exist between Christians and Muslims in this country. However, if this person himself is not repentant and agreeable then he should be left where he is. Pardons are to rectify an injustice, not to placate parents.

    December 18, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  108. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    He deserves no mercy and he deserves no pardon.
    This man turned his back and went to war against his own nation. He could have possibly killed or wounded U.S. military personell before he was wounded and subsequently captured.

    He should receive death–the populace will accept life without parole–but no parole or pardon for his despicable acts against his own country!!!

    December 18, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  109. Thom Richer

    Now wouldn't that be the ultimate hypocricy? Six years of an illegal war to "fight terrorism" and then free a self-admitted terrorist...American to boot. I would bet, however, it will not happen because he is not one of the Bush, Cheney, Rove elitist crooks in need of pardons. Perhaps Bush will save the pardon for himself or Cheney. Nothing about this administration would surprize me in the least.

    Negaunee, MI

    December 18, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  110. D - Atlanta, GA

    Absolutely not. By joining the Taliban after 9/11, he did so knowing the group had attacked us. I'm sure he's sorry now and claims that he had "no intention" of fighting America; however, is he saying that just because he was caught? I think his 20-year sentence will give him ample time to think about the error of his ways.

    December 18, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  111. frannie

    Probably his sentence is too long, it seems to have been extremely misguided thinking as much as a crime. Many Americans are doing overly long sentences for something they unknowingly got mixed up in when they were young.

    December 18, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  112. Tom in New Hope, MN

    Absolutely not. He made a bad decision, now live with it.

    December 18, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  113. Alan, Buxton Maine

    Certainly, pardon him and send him back to Afghanistan where he seems to want to live. He obviously is not loyal to America or American values.

    December 18, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  114. John, Fort Collins, CO

    I don't understand the whole pardon issue. We have courts that sentence convicted criminals, with a process for periodic reviews to see if they are eligible for early release. Why should elected officials be allowed to play God? What possible rationale could President Bush use to grant or deny a pardon to Lindh or anyone else?

    December 18, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  115. j/NJ

    Should President Bush commute the sentence of John Walker Lindh, the so-called Taliban American?

    Yes, but such a commutation will never happen you can be sure of that...to his credit J W Lindh has already served 7 years in prison, he is not a convicted terrorist as the Govt would have us believe, therefore, it (the Govt) has nothing to gain by requiring him to serve the remaining two thirds of his sentence...incidentally Jack you might recall in 1998 then Gov George W Bush refused to intervene in the execution of Texas death row inmate Karla Faye Tucker despite her genuine remorse for past actions and subsequent rehabilitation... in the end Bush was incapable of contemplating mercy hence no reason to expect he will consider it in the Lindh case...

    December 18, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  116. Kathie, Houston, TX

    Jack, a thousand times NO!!! He is a traitor and should be treated as such.

    December 18, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  117. Paul

    HELL NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 18, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  118. Kyle, DuPont WA

    Johnny Taliban is a misinformed traitor. I have been to Afghanistan and seen the carnage that the Taliban wreak. If he ever supported the Taliban he is an idiot and President Bush should throw his shoes at him.

    December 18, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  119. Joe


    President Bush should commute the sentence of John Walker Lindh. He was caught in circumstances that certainly prevented him from standing-up and waving the white flag. Subsequently, he was tortured beyond water-boarding. In the days when we held some form of civility with our Geneva Convention principles we returned many German and Japanese soldiers.

    Lindh was not within US shores and he likely had no idea the US would attack Afghanistan. Then again, Lindh does not represent one of the elitist organizations or families that receive double-standard benefits. Will Bush pardon himself and Cheney, too, as both of them deserve to be indicted for crimes against America and humanity?

    Joe, Binghamton, NY

    December 18, 2008 at 5:52 pm |
  120. Ken-Long Island

    Whatever we may think of the war in Iraq, the war in Afganistan was a just war. A rogue regime had given refuge and comfort to terrorists whose stated aim was the destruction of the United States. John Walker Lindh could not have been insulated from the stated aims of these terrorists nor the prevailing sentiment anti-Americanism shared by the Taliban. While we know that the level of alienation for young people growing up in America is high, as demonstrated by the high level of violence in our schools,, and that young, innocent minds are fertile ground for indoctrination, taking up arms against your own country should carry consequences. Has Mr. Lindh suffered enough? Has he shown contrition for his acts? Has he, in fact, asked for clemency. Shakespeare said "the quality of mercy is not strained," but before I'd consider it I'd have to hear from Mr. Lindh in his own words that he was sorry.

    December 18, 2008 at 5:56 pm |
  121. Candice from Fort Worth, TX

    Of course not! He knew what he was doing and if he didn't, he should have. He was in a foreign country, in a foreign army already using terroristic methods to force its will on innocent people. I don't think he was in Afghanistan to help the Afghani people. He needs to face the fact that he at least aided and abetted terrorists and committed treason against the principles of freedom and equality.

    December 18, 2008 at 5:59 pm |
  122. Aneil from Denver, CO

    No. And let scooter rot too. They're both enemies of the state and should be treated as such.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:03 pm |
  123. Shmoo Cambridge WI

    Yeah sure and while we are at it we can give the lion some courage and find a heart for the tin man...

    December 18, 2008 at 6:04 pm |
  124. William - St. Louis

    Absolutely not! John Walker Lindh knew exactly what he was doing. Mommy & Daddy can't rescue you all the time. Stand up on your own two feet and face your consequences!

    December 18, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  125. DJ RAJ

    PSHHHHHHHHHHHHH No Way! You do the crime you do the time! Especially with extremism. I don't like people being detained and not tried, but this guy was handed his sentence, and he should serve it!

    December 18, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  126. russell


    December 18, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  127. dan kephart

    no......he is a grown boy and knew what he was doing.....

    December 18, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  128. LC, California


    If I understand the law, John Lindh committed treason. In the meantime, we have two border patrol officers serving prison time for using a guns WHILE ON DUTY.

    What am I missing here?


    December 18, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  129. Tom

    Pardoning this knucklehead would be a knee to the groin of every American...especially those who have served in the "War on Terror."

    December 18, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  130. Jon from Bowling Green, Kentucky

    An enemy of the state is an enemy of the state, be they foreign or domestic. Insofar as I'm concerned, Lindh is lucky he escaped with mere jail time.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  131. Al Mitchell

    Not just NO, but HELL NO !!

    December 18, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  132. Ava Marie Heath

    This man is a traitor to this country. He should of been shot for treason. Instead of 3 squares and a cot, he should be in a pine box. No pardon, no way!

    December 18, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  133. Richard Kowalski

    Lindh is a traitor and should have been executed. 20 years was too lenient a sentence. His parents should just shut up and be happy he only got 20 years when he deserves a much harsher penalty.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  134. Jeffrey Scott

    I think John Walker Lindh should be pardoned. He was an innocent young American who went to learn more about Islam, and was sucked into extremism without knowing all the Taliban stood for. He never fought against the United States Military, and regrets having anything to to with the Taliban. I think President Bush should show him mercy and Pardon him.


    Jeffrey Scott

    December 18, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  135. Ruben Salama

    I think he should absolutely not pardon this man. When you are a citizen of the USA to swear to defend this country against all enemies foreign and domestic. You don't go off an join the enemy and expect a pardon by the President of the free-world!! If anything, he should stay in prison and learn what it is to be an American for crying out loud!!

    December 18, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  136. nancy backus


    December 18, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  137. Bill Cates

    Yes, I think Lindh. While many people find it offensive that he was involved with the Taliban. He never actually fought against American soldiers. He was a young man who got caught up in some bad decisions. I think he's been held accountable and 20 years is much too long.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  138. Ron Ouellette

    Hell NO!!!!!!! You do the crime, you DO THE TIME, he should serve
    everyday of his sentence and upon release he should lose his
    citizenship and be DEPORTED. Our dead soldiers, sailors, airmen
    and marines deserve nothing less.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  139. Wrenchwoman

    That man made his bed, now he needs to lie in it! His parents want some compassion during the holiday season? I'll send him a Santa cookie, but that's all the sympathy and compassion I can offer. He's probably better off in prison. Who knows what could happen to him at the hands of the public if released.
    Sorry, but he brought this on himself.
    Wrenchwoman – Rixeyville, VA

    December 18, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  140. Pat Allen

    If this country hopes to hang on to any credibility globally at all it cannot commute the sentence Lindh. Everyone imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay would have no doubt claimed innocence. This spoiled young man joined the Taliban with no intention of engaging in acts against my country? What an incredible joke! This man is a danger to himself and the United States of America. Keep him imprisoned for as long as the law allows.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  141. Margaret Schuler

    Absolutely, Bush should pardon Jon Walker Lindh. His sentence for 20 years was a grave injustice, perpetrated at a moment of mass hysteria. it is time to make amends.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  142. Ralph Bromund

    Leave him in prison. He would have killed our soldiers if given the chance. He is a traitor.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  143. Neesi

    i think he should because as his father said he had no intentions of fighting against the U.S
    I think pres. Bush would be cold-hearted if he didnt let this Family Have their son for christmas beacause no family wants to be apart durring Christmas.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  144. Mark in MD

    If President Bush's words following 9/11, regarding 'we will make no distinction...' have any merit, I feel he has to reject this pardon. John Walker Lindh may well have been a victim of circumstances, this is my Liberal side coming out, but Bush can't do this if his one remaining thread of credibility, that as an anti-terrorism president, is to stand the test of time.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  145. Taylor from Clayton, NC

    His sentence shouldn't be commuted. If the guy really didn't want to fight for the Taliban, why did he join? We're fighting a war against terrorists. We can't allow them to tell us a sob story and just let them go free. Hold him in prison for however long the court deemed necessary when he was found guilty.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  146. Cathy

    Jack- NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    What was his intent? Why join an army if your intent isn't to fight,and
    maybe eventually kill who you perceive to be the enemy?

    Tryon, NC

    December 18, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  147. Michael

    The taliban represented a regime in Afghanistan that encouraged Honor Killings. Call his mother and tell her that her son supported a regime that would kill a man if his beard wasn't longer than his fist, and banned the education or public appearance of women. This MAN has no excuse, he was raised in a society where at the very least he learned that women can think! HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING HE'S SICK!

    December 18, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  148. kerry

    Yes! Unless of course he can be tried along with Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. etc. etc.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  149. Michael

    No, as a retired veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars. I would have left him on the battlefield to die for his cause. How can you be Taliban all the way up until you are caught, then you're an American. If the President shaves even a day off his sentence...He should serve the remainder himself.

    Augusta, Ga

    December 18, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  150. Nick

    He deserves Taliban style justice & he knew what he was doing..... no mercy please Mr. President!

    December 18, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  151. Don

    No. It's a darn shame the fellow shooting the wanna be terrorist didn't aim higher and hit him in the head! He had many opportunities to change his mind and he knew what he was doing. When he gets out of jail how do we know he won't resume his hell raising?

    December 18, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  152. Titus

    Yes he should be pardon and Bush jailed for life. He lied about the war to justify killing Saddam Hussein which I as a veteran of 24 years and of Desert Storm. Bush fahter also should be jailed because he could have taken care of Saddam in 1991.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  153. Yanny

    Hi Mr. Cafferty,

    I think if Bush is willing to forgive white collar politicians when they commit treason, then this boy should have a chance. Aren't the prisoners from Guantanamo, who were there for conspiring against America, being released and they are Muslims? So why be harder to an American citizen when he hasn't actually conspired against America? He just wanted to learn about a culture and hung out with the wrong crowd. Young people do stupid things, but that doesn't make them criminals.


    December 18, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  154. Sandra Meador Wilson

    Absolutely not. There are less guilty people in Gitmo.

    Sandra in Mathews, VA

    December 18, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  155. Mike

    No! The last thing we need in this country is a Taliban sympathizer, freed from jail, after being rightly convicted as a traitor, running around the streets of America. With his training as a terrorist, it wouldn't be long until he is back to plotting how to kill Americans for the cause of Islam.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  156. Andrew

    Of course he should be pardoned. He was 20 years old when he was imprisoned. What 20 year old lacks such naive idealism, or frankly, stupidity? He was a child. Seven years in some of the worst prisons in both Afghanistan and the United States are enough for a stupid kid who made a stupid mistake.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  157. kyle

    Who cares about his Christmas. There are thousands of American and Alliance soldiers that will never see another New Year. We all make choices and have to deal with the concequences. He's a traitor, plain and simple! Maybe take him hunting with Cheney.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  158. BKJ

    Pardon him!?! Well excuse me! This coward has the audacity to go abroad and hop in bed with some of the world's deadliest criminals and actually fight in the war on terror for the other side. They should put him so far under the prison that they'll have to pipe him oxygen.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  159. David Carter

    Justice demands a honest look why parents make a request that places a cloud of doubt on our justice system. In this case the court has spoken. But any parent will feel a sensitive heart for the parents. Forgiveness is important, but restoration is not just.

    David Carter
    Hermitage, TN

    December 18, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  160. Steve Phillips

    His parents are seeking a pardon, but has there been one word of apology or regret from this guy for his decision to join forces with the enemy? Any regret for the injury and death suffered by U.S. personnel in the prison uprising where he was present and later found? None that I have seen or heard. If so, please enlighten us!! Can you, or should you pardon someone where contrition is apparently absent? Maybe the next President can, but I wouldn't expect or want Bush to do it.

    December 18, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  161. Eddie in NYC


    There's many examples of Muslim-Americans currently being held indefinitely simply because of their background and questionable choices, but in general, under the Patriot Act, many are based on flimsy cases and little evidence. Here is the case of an American who held a gun, fired upon American forces, and perhaps killed some along the way. The only discernible difference here that I can see is that Lindh is of White descent. How can we in good conscience give a man like Lindh a free pass, when there are Americans being held today after having done much less?

    December 18, 2008 at 6:19 pm |