THE BLOG
08/17/2007 09:25 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Jose Padilla, nee Winston Smith, Found Guilty

What can be more telling than that Jose Padilla thought a civilian trial shouldn't occur - because it was unfair to George Bush?

That detail, to me, inescapably reminds one of Winston Smith, at the end of 1984 - a broken man... but one who loves Big Brother. One who loves the system that tortured him, broke him.

My friend Sam Smith, over at Scholars and Rogues declares this a victory...

But today, the very rule of law that Bush has worked so hard to destroy has rendered a verdict: guilty. The criminal will almost certainly spend the rest of his life behind bars where he poses no threat at all to our lives, our liberties, or our individual pursuits of happiness.

In other words, Mr. President, the system worked. Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Mason, and all the other substantial intellects who framed the Constitution and helped adapt it as the world evolved, it turns out they were onto something after all. It turns out that over two centuries of thinkers - real patriots, as opposed to the cynical flag-waving scoundrel sort that currently infests our government - well, Mr. Bush, they were smarter than you, after all.

The. System. Worked.

I can't see it that way. As I wrote to Sam, it feels very empty to me. The man wasn't given a timely trial, and he was tortured to the point of Winston Smithism - to the point where he loved "Big Brother, aka George Bush" so much, that he thought a civilian trial was unfair to the President. Then he was found guilty. He was at the very least, incompetent to stand trial. He was systematically tortured. He was denied a timely trial. He was denied a good defense, because he was so delusional he wouldn't cooperate with his defense team.

This was a show trial and I can't view it any other way. A man who has been systematically tortured to the point of delusion; to the point of being unable to cooperate in his own defense, being found guilty, is nothing to celebrate and I really doubt most of the Founders would see it as something to be proud of.

I also doubt that many foreigners who are aware of the trial view it as anything but a show trial. Americans may wish to deceive themselves that this had something to do with justice; but I'll lay long odds those who have less stake in the lies Americans need to tell themselves to continue to pretend that their system is "good", or "just", or even "still Constitutional" see it as anything but a parody of justice.

But hey, if torturing someone till they love the person who threw them in jail; if taking years to bring someone to trial; if making someone so paranoid that they won't cooperate in their own defense counts as "the system working", then the American justice system is sure a model system.

I'm sure next time some American is tortured overseas; is denied a timely trial; is so delusional after years in prison that he can't cooperate properly with his defense attorneys, that those who are declaring victory now will nod and smile and talk about how wonderful the justice system is operating overseas - about how American ideas of justice, civil and human rights are spreading.

Sorry, I'm stepping off the spin machine. It's making me so nauseous that if I stay on one more second I'm going to puke.