No Time in Jail for a U.S. War Criminal: A Mercenary Gets Away with Murdering a Detainee in Afghanistan

REVISED & UPDATED (Sat. 09 May 2009)

Is there any surprise to how American “justice” works when it comes to American war criminals? Have there not been enough minor sentences, and enough kangaroo courts of foreign detainees, to establish this fact?

Following John Stanton, who was present for the sentencing of Ayala at the Eastern District Court division in Alexandria, Virginia (I am grateful for the notices he sent by email), the Associated Press and Wired reported that Don Michael Ayala, is to go free. The mercenary employed by the Human Terrain System, who executed a handcuffed and subdued detainee who had attacked Paula Loyd (an anthropologist and army reservist serving the Pentagon) will not serve time in jail. Instead, as Wired explained, “U.S. District Court Judge Claude Hilton sentenced Ayala, a member of the Army’s Human Terrain social science project, to five years probation and a $12,500 fine.”

While Loyd’s attacker, Abdul Salam, was handed an immediate death sentence by his unlawful executioner, that executioner, Don Ayala, walks away free.

Abdul Salam was indeed “guilty” of having the courage to rebel, to fight for his land, and to say his piece. His actions demonstrate that “liberty or death” was a philosophy that he valued and understood intimately. He attacked both the foreign military presence, and he attacked the role of mercenary anthropologists who volunteer to facilitate that domination. The attack had the intended shock value, coming back from the direction of those who have been “shocked and awed” during eight years of U.S. bombings.

Meanwhile, Don Ayala, the mercenary whose adventurism and quest for cash propelled him into someone else’s home, into the lives of strangers, in an effort to faciliate their control by an alien power, is essentially thanked and even praised at home for his services in murdering an Afghan detainee — another to be added to the dozens already murdered while in U.S. detention. What few care to note is that the man once assigned to protect Hamid Karzai, failed to protect Paula Loyd. He conducted a revenge killing, asking an interpreter to tell Salam, “I think he’s the devil,” in a desperate effort to remedy his own failure.

This sentence sends the clearest possible message: the rules of war do not apply to the United States; international law has been replaced by the law of the jungle; and, mercenaries have the freedom to execute foreigners in detention. Afghans, unable to look to U.S. investigations and courts for justice, will have to exercise their own form of justice against invaders, and all is now legitimate.

Innocent civilians who have been detained, and tortured, as prisoners in Guantanamo, ended up serving more time, for having done absolutely nothing, than a confessed killer like Ayala. The “rule of law”? NATO soldiers allegedly dying for freedom and democracy in Afghanistan? The behaviour of a “civilized” nation? There was no surprise here, this is exactly the outcome that one should have expected from this farce of a trial, as I stated in the last post.

My condolences go to the family and friends of Abdul Salam.

39 thoughts on “No Time in Jail for a U.S. War Criminal: A Mercenary Gets Away with Murdering a Detainee in Afghanistan

  1. Steph

    No jail time in the world will punish him the way he seems to be punishing himself. And it will do you A LOT of good to go back and look up HOW sentences are decided in the US, before you start passing judgement.

    Besides, would any punishment have been anything but a whitewash in your mind? I think not!!!

    Read what the judge said, and REALLY think about it.

  2. Maximilian Forte

    I really have thought about it. Now you give it a try, it will be a novel experience.

    Let’s hope for your peace of mind that when the bullshit comes back at you from the other side, that you will handle it with as much forgiveness.

    The message to all your current and future enemies is that the laws of war have changed: they should now feel free to execute any Americans they detain, in any way they see fit, and not face serious punishment.

    Good luck with that, but thanks in the meantime for making the world everyone is forced to live in, a far worse place. I won’t tell you what I can do with your ideas of “democracy.”

  3. Mr.Sparkle

    There is always going to be a disjuncture between the domesticated paper laws of a bookish man and the differently distorted reality for a someone living on the edge in a war zone.

    Often enough combatants sit in a kind of symmetrical relationship. In the Western European front during WW2 generally prisoners were taken and treated satisfactorily, this was kind of commensurable. In the Pacific or Eastern Front, neither side saw the environment for, or even the point in taking prisoners, and more often than not no quarter was given at all (Russian and German prisoners were also en masse murdered or starved to death).

    This sort of incident kind of resembles that lack of symmetry. This is why they call COIN wars (more) dirty. Everyone is cheating!

    That you baulk at this disjuncture is perfectly understandable. But what I’m not sure of is what you think should have happened to Don? As an individual, not as a representation of Imperialism or some government’s foreign policy.

    Should he have had a special political trial to ensure that he received the death penalty for committing a ‘war crime’? (the content of which is untouchable holy ground?)

    1. Maximilian Forte

      “Should he have had a special political trial to ensure that he received the death penalty for committing a ‘war crime’?”

      I’m sorry, am I being asked to respond as if I had made that statement?

      What do your laws say about war crimes and the penalties for them? Do you need to consult them before realizing that Ayala received what is tantamount to a slap on the wrist?

      1. EricB

        You know, I’m willing to donate to pay his fine. Those people (and now you can call me racist) hide in civilian houses, dress like women (all the while beating and humiliating them as part of normal life), and then carry out attacks on our men and women over there in uniform, military or not. This Afgan in particular, stood fast and waited for an opportune moment to strike a woman and kill her, by fire. Who are you to say we should abide by any war rules, as the Taliban definitely do not? Guerilla warfare at best. I personally think anyone identified as Taliban should be shot on the spot- period. They only feign docility to lure in more for a higher body count. However, few even identify themselves (isn’t it against the Geneva Code to fight in civilian clothing) and carry out their atrocities against US, and any of their own countrymen (including women and children) just to martyr themselves?

      2. Arwen

        Charming double-standard, Eric B.

        You do realize that U.S. troops have also dressed in a way to conceal their own identity in order to carry out attacks on men and women? For instance, remember the case of Steven Green, James Barker, Jesse Spielman, Bryan Howard and Paul Cortez, U.S. soldiers who raped a 14- year-old Iraqi girl and murdered her parents and her 5-year-old sister (they later burned the girl’s body to further conceal their crime). This was a premeditated attack – the soldiers deliberately dressed in Iraqi clothing in order to conceal their identities. These soldiers claimed in their defence that they acted out of grief for killed comrades, “in the context of war.” Would you petition to to have their sentences reduced? Would you offer to serve time in their place, in recognition of their “service?”

        Of course, if you aren’t swayed by stories of violence against non-Americans, then perhaps your should turn your racist head to look up the numerous cases of rape and murder committed against female U.S. soldiers by their male counterparts. Take the case of Jessica, for instance, who was sexually harassed and assaulted by her squad leader and later raped by a fellow soldier, or the case of Kamisha Block, a soldier who was murdered by a higher-ranking soldier, after weeks of intimidation and harassment reported but ignored by her unit’s commanding officers.

        These are not isolated incidents. According to a recent Veteran Affairs study, 1 in 7 female soldiers experience sexual assault or harassment during their service and a recent Pentagon report, attests to a 26 % rise in reported (an important emphasis) rapes of female soldiers specifically in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of the nearly 3o00 sexual assaults documented in 2006, less than 300 received prosecution, (and these numbers were reported as even lower in 2007).

        By your own logic, U.S. soldiers should shot on sight for their record of rape and murder.
        You should be ashamed for speaking as though military violence is somehow justified in order to protect women, when this very violence puts all men and women at risk. Not only will I call you a racist, but I say you are a malignant hypocrite and misogynist, to boot.

      3. Maximilian Forte

        Hello Eric,

        assuming for the sake of argument that everything you say about the Taliban is true, then they will be very happy to know that they get to dictate to you the appropriate norms for struggle, and that you follow.

        One important difference will remain regardless: you attacked them, they did not attack you.

  4. Steph

    Oh Max, I can’t tell you how much I adore you and your disallusions. I wasn’t going to say anything else, but this was too good to pass up.

    Who is misinterpreting now? I’m glad you think I’m personally responsible for the horrible world we are all forced to live in, and that “they should now feel free to execute any Americans they detain, in any way they see fit, and not face serious punishment” isn’t already happening.

    I’m also glad to see that I’m not the only person whose questions you don’t answer, while you turn it around and just go on some sort of rampage of what “we” do that’s so wrong.

    Honestly, what did you want for Mr Ayala to get as punishment? This is a serious question, and my attempt to get a straight forward answer from you, just as Mr Sparkle was asking.

    1. Jules Arbor

      What do “we” do that’s so wrong?

      I’d like you to read and listen to the following story of a military psychologist justifying “harsh tactics”…

      Now I’d like you to read through the following document of secret email exchanges that occurred between members of a Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security… regarding the DOD, interrogations, the American Psychological Association, and the roll of psychologists. Pay particular attention to the discussion regarding MKULTRA…

      Click to access original.pdf

      You can learn more about MKULTRA by watching the following video…

      (Max, I would imagine that you are already aware of the work of Dr. Ewen Cameron.)

      Think again about the first article I linked and recall the following quote:

      “America is my client; Americans are who I care about,” says Lefever. “I have no fondness for the enemy, and I don’t feel like I need to take care of their mental health needs.”

      What do you have to say about Americans being tortured on their own soil?

      Should you choose to reply to me… keep in mind that I am a U.S. citizen who is also a psychologist and has extensive knowledge of MKULTRA as well as a long list of human experimentation projects that have taken place on my fellow Americans.

      Those who speak of judgement, the U.S. judicial system, distorted reality, and distinctions between what happens domestically vs. what happens in a war zone have NO CLUE regarding what has been going on in OUR country.

      Simply put… when these sorts of things are not dealt with appropriately and exposed… they will only continue and become even worse!

      1. Maximilian Forte

        Thanks very much Jules, because in the midst of insults and a series of extremely inane and futile accusations, there are gems such as yours.

        Much appreciated.

    2. Maximilian Forte

      Steph, you are faithfully playing the role demanded of the patriotic dupe. You are here to make yourself feel better and to try to reassure yourself that the world according to Uncle Sam is A-OK. It’s amusing, but in a very sad kind of way. Next time, try actually paying attention to what people say, and stop projecting so much.

      As a matter of principle, I do not answer “questions” from people who first put words in my mouth. Try debating with some honesty, and you will get an answer.

      In the meantime, the very title of the post should tell anyone with their wits intact where I stand. Can I make it any more obvious?

      1. Steph

        Oh, Max, Max, Max. Once again I find myself laughing at your hypocricy. Not only are you distorting my words AND thoughts, which is what you accuse almost everyone who disagrees w/you of doing, but then you say, “I am not stupid enough to go and involve myself in someone else’s business,” when asked about serving to Afghanistan. Yet, you have no problem involving yourself in other people’s business any other time as long as it fits your agenda w/o telling the entire story. And don’t deny not telling the entire story, bc you already admitted you don’t care about Loyd’s story.

        Had Salam not done what he did, Ayala never would have reacted the way he did. Remember Newton & his laws? And for the record, I have NEVER said what he did was right, nor have I defended the US govt. That is YOU reading between the lines. There’s a difference in supporting our troops who were lied to, but still have to do their job & in supporting a war that never should have been.

        And to compare a PREMEDITATED rape & murder committed by several soldiers to what Ayala did is comparing apples & oranges. They are hardly the same. One was done in the heat of the moment & the other was planned. TOTALLY DIFFERENT!!!

        Oh, and in NO WAY does the title say what you wanted to happen to Ayala. To get a fair trial? Many would say he did. What is fair anyway?

      2. Maximilian Forte

        Steph, a serious question here: Can you even read? Or is it thinking that is the problem?

        I really have no interest in continuing any discussion with you, you are simply flaming and flailing.

  5. J.T. Thomas

    What a silly, ideological, uninformed fool you are. Perhaps if you were to serve in Afghanistan for many years, you would acknowledge the outrage of throwing boiling oil, fuel, acid, onto beautiful young women’s faces. Alas, you are a coward. Go there for four or five years and then write about it.

    1. Maximilian Forte

      No thanks. I am not stupid enough to go and involve myself in someone else’s business. Perhaps if you were not so busy emoting, you might learn that there is a valuable lesson there…but I certainly doubt you will.

  6. Angstboy


    I’m not going to attack you ad hominem. I think that a number of responses to your blog post here are . . . vociferous (?).

    Nonetheless, I find it interesting that the US court system you revile here is the same one for which you heaped praise in your discussion of Ward Churchill’s suit against CU Boulder.

    I also would like to point out that the PTSD defense of Ayala is here presented as a ploy for sympathy, whereas “soldiers” as a generic class are beset by PTSD due to their victimization by a command structure which sends them into war zones three or four times in the last eight years.

    Isn’t it possible that Ayala was affected by his prior experiences to a point that he was not in complete control of his actions after a vicious attack on his friend? (And whatever sympathy you might have for the Afghan people, and understanding of their insurgent tactics against a superior military force, do you really want to deny that setting someone aflame is vicious?) In such a case, the court system, as is its responsibility, took the particular factors into account when handing down a sentence.

    No, the United States legal system is not perfect (nor is Canada’s, or Afghanistan’s, or wherever), but ascribing a conspiracy-laden influence on the actions of our justice system is as ungrounded as calling President Obama an illegal Kenyan immigrant advancing a secret Muslim agenda to take over the country.

    1. Maximilian Forte

      Two different cases Angstboy, with different implications and different actors. I am not sure that I “praised” an entire court system at any point, but I certainly did commend the fairness and independence of the jury.

      There is no implied “conspiracy” in what I write: there is a familiar pattern of excessively harsh treatment of all foreign detainees, innocent or not, and leniency for nationals. Given that there are twice as many mercenaries operating on behalf of the U.S. as there are U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, this is certainly going to cheer them considerably.

      As for mitigating factors — all war crimes have them. It does not lessen the crime.

      1. Angstboy

        Max, when you use phrases like “farce of a trial” and “kangaroo court” it does, indeed, imply some amount of conspiracy.

        No, mitigating factors do not lessen the crime. However, the United States justice system is based on an amount of separation between the crime and any specific punishment. Hence, we have very few (and personally, I wish we had none) mandatory sentencing guidelines. Each crime is specific to the individual actors and events surrounding that crime, to its “context” if you’ll pardon the post-modern phrase. And just as an academic needs to have as much context as possible for his analysis, a judge uses as much context as possible in deciding a sentence.

        I agree: two different situations and two different actors. And in each case the judge looked at those different situations and different actors and came up with a response.

        I just wonder where your bias comes from, as it is almost Structural in its approach to the military: nothing this institution does can ever be good, and it will infect any “good” thing which touches it.

      2. Maximilian Forte

        Let’s clarify one point: this sentence came from a judge. Churchill’s verdict came from a jury, and here we are dealing with two very different sets of positioned actors, and only one of them actually sits within the court system as a matter of practice.

        If you will recall, I held open the possibility, to the very end, that Churchill would not be successful. He certainly did take a gamble that the system he opposed would be willing to live up to its own promises and principles. In this case, thanks to a jury, it did. In many others, it does not.

        What I do not understand is why being happy with the provisional results of one case, means that I must support all decisions. Judges themselves don’t do that, hence the ‘dissenting opinions.’

        The judge has yet to decide what is to happen to Churchill’s job — and yes, I will condemn a negative decision…because, after all, I am still allowed to question and criticize.

        So the very premise for your argument is not valid, that if I praise one verdict I must at least accept all others.

      3. Angstboy

        I am not saying you need to accept every verdict delivered by every court. I don’t, and as you say this is why we have dissenting opinions and a system of appeals, the dissent and disagreement is built into the system.

        I am simply pointing out the discrepancy between your two responses, and the overall theme of anti-HTS/anti-military rhetoric you use on your blog. When someone associated with the military receives a positive verdict, it is a travesty and a result of a “farce.” Ayala admitted his crime, admitted his guilt, and seeks rehabilitation. If that (as most liberals agree) is the purpose of our penal system, and not retribution, then what is a travesty about a probationary sentence and a fine? The purpose of the system was accomplished. But somehow, because Ayala was associated with a “war of oppression” that makes his regret less valid?

        Now, speaking as a cultural relativist, perhaps the money for that fine should go to the family of Salam, rather than into the US system (I don’t know where the money goes, that’s just an assumption, maybe it will go to a blood price). But that is outside the topic of how “just” the sentence was.

  7. Maximilian Forte

    “Ayala admitted his crime, admitted his guilt, and seeks rehabilitation.”

    That is one way of construing it. Another is to note the fact that he pleaded to a lesser charge, and the plea was accepted. Another is to note that he was not tried under a law pertaining to war crimes. Another is to note that no Afghan witnesses ever got to speak. Another is to note the court’s one-sided portrayal of “victimhood.” And another is to note that the punishment is minor.

    Tell me again that it wasn’t a farce.

    The so-called “discrepancy” between my responses, is not a discrepancy, and I think I have already explained this sufficiently.

  8. Angstboy

    “That is one way of construing it.” Well, I guess that’s as close to an admission that your opinion might not be the right one I will get.

    I will tell you again it wasn’t a farce. Pleading to a lesser crime is a long honored tradition in American justice. What would Afghan witnesses contribute to a sentencing proceeding? The guilt of Ayala has already been established, what remains are the mitigating factors to that guilt, not something which Afghan witnesses would not significantly add to our understanding.

  9. Maximilian Forte

    Well, of course, you don’t actually know what Afghan witnesses could have contributed, do you? Do you know why? Because the process barred the very opportunity — there was to be no debate of any evidence since it was all obviated by Ayala pleading to a lesser charge, and the state agreeing to it. Virtually every single detail about this case has morphed with time, and even now, at his late stage, some new evidence presented that Ayala may have had more of his wits about him than first suspected.

    In addition, while Ayala’s defense had over 50 people in the courtroom to stand up for him when called, during the sentencing hearing, to show their support for Ayala, no such privilege was allowed for the friends and family of Salam, of course. While a video documentary of pleas from friends and family of Ayala was produced, there is not a single word from the friends and family of Salam. Not a single Afghan got to speak about a crime that was committed on Afghan soil. Ayala was airlifted out of Afghanistan, to be “tried” by Americans, in an American court, for a crime committed on behalf of an American. Talk about an “intra-mural” event!

    If that doesn’t interest you, then yes the way you construe matters might seem legitimate — to you.

    Unlike the Churchill trial, where masses of evidence and testimonials for all sides was presented, examined, cross-examined, debated, etc., over a period of weeks…nothing was presented in this trial, because it was made to work this way. I never understood how you could compare the two trials, since they were fundamentally different, and, only one of them involved a crime committed by an American against a foreigner.

    If it’s not a farce, then at least it’s a damn good comedy.

  10. Steph

    Yes, it’s my blog & I’m not afraid to admit it OR back away from ANY question or comment that ANYONE poses to me. If you have a problem w/ anything that I do, or any television shows I watch, well, that’s on you. Not me. Sometimes I watch tv to escape reality.

    But, the biggest differences between you & I are that I KNOW we’re all the same, no one is better than anyone else, I love everyone, I look at the POSITIVE side of things & I’m smart enough to know I don’t everything. Take a lesson from Mother Theresa when she says, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them”.

    And, if you don’t answer questions, you’ll never be able to explain your point to people like me who you claim have made the place a much worse place to live. Perhaps if you answered the questions, I’d understand & see what yout point is, but the way it is now, all I see is someone who is against everything, close-minded & unwilling to see any other view but his own. On your page ‘The Blogger’ you have a quote that says “…is only further proof of how little difference is appreciated, and how far we have yet to go”, which seems to imply that you embrace difference, yet you obviously don’t. In fact, you stoop to name calling, inaccurate psychological analysis & insults that have no basis. So, if you won’t discuss it any longer, that fine with me.


    The Idiot w/142 IQ

    1. Maximilian Forte

      Steph, first you invented the facts, then you invented my statements about them, and your latest gig is to invent the notion that I never respond to you, when for the past two days this blog has been littered by your statements and my responses to you.

      Of course I embrace the difference that you seem incapable or unwilling to comprehend, since you are stuck on the familiar: Paula, your tennis matches, and the fundamental goodness of all Americans like you.

      Funny that you should suggest below that I am an extreme leftist…earlier today another commenter was saying I am an extreme right winger. Ritalin is in very short supply it seems.

  11. Steph

    BTW, I like the latest articles. Who knew that the US and Israel were the only “bad guys” in the world who killed people, sold arms to foreign people and did “bad” things??? It’s good thing you have a crystal ball and are enlightening the world. The rest of us idiots thought there were others out there doing the same things, IN ADDITION to the US and Israel.

    And while I’m at it, while you’re sitting there cozy and comfy in Montreal, which you totally ignored before, why is it do you think Canada is always so safe? And no, I’m hardly conservative, or anywhere near it. If the people who know me best read the things that you said about me, they would choke, just like my mother did, because you couldn’t be farther from the left than I am from the right. I’m a realist who likes to be happy.

    1. Maximilian Forte

      Alright, so you really cannot read. As I said before in reply to the same point, I am supposedly comfortable here in Canada, the same way Loyd and Ayala could have been had they stayed home and not shoved their muzzles into the affairs of another society. Remember? You actually responded to that response.

      “why is it do you think Canada is always so safe?”

      Safe? From what? Try being an Aboriginal woman, try being a homeless person, try living next door to the most dangerous and violent country on earth, then get back to me with your comments about safety.

  12. Soulcase

    “Virtually every single detail about this case has morphed with time, and even now, at his late stage, some new evidence presented that Ayala may have had more of his wits about him than first suspected.” Great, your beef is that Ayala might have had his wits about him and been considered guilty of war crimes and now we’ll never know. The nature of the crime is known. The obnoxious nature of this article and all the comments defending it is the moral superiority you give to a man who lit a woman on fire. You give him the benefit of the doubt. He was defending his country? Now you’re a mind-reader, Max? How do you know he wasn’t a mysoginist troglodyte? Oh, yes. He’s not an American. He must be innocent and pure, and oppressed by [insert imperialist memes].

    And the straw man of the Abeer case is ridiculous. You’d find few WITHIN the Army that would demand anything less than a death sentence for Green, let alone defend him. Also, mercenaries fight for FOREIGN POWERS. Ayala is a contractor, hired by a company working for the DOD. You’re just being dramatic.

  13. Maximilian Forte

    Soulcase has a very exotic, not to mention purely convenient, definition of mercenary, which is precisely what Ayala was. “Contractor”? Was his job that of installing dry wall? Please, don’t use this politically correct fascist jargon on my blog and expect to get away with it.

    I certainly did not invent the fact that Salam was an Afghan, in Afghanistan, a country invaded and occupied by the U.S.

    Ayala’s guilt in perpetrating a war crime is beyond doubt. The credibility of those who defend him is well within the bounds of serious doubt.

  14. Steph

    My dear Max. Perhaps YOU should rest your eyes for awhile, calm down and then read what I wrote again, because I did not say you were leftist. The sentence I wrote was, “I’m hardly conservative, or anywhere near it. If the people who know me best read the things that you said about me, they would choke, just like my mother did, because you couldn’t be farther from the left than I am from the right,” in reference to you calling me an Uncle Sam loving conservative.

    And, if you got back through EVERY post I’ve made, there is A LOT ignored, so don’t say that you haven’t ignored anything, because you have. Mainly, you have ignored direct questions and points, and turned to insults or inaccurate analysis’ of me as diversions.

    And when I say Canada is “safe”, I mean, “It is in NO DANGER of being invaded or attacked any time soon, or if ever.

    The other thing I’d like to remind you of is that the US is hardly the ONLY country with troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. There are countries who support “our” plight, if you will, even though there are many Americans who don’t.

    I happen to be one of those Americans who DOES NOT believe war should be ANYONE’S first course of action. I absolutely, 100% was against Iraq when we went, and I still am, but it isn’t as easy as saying, “Let’s pack up and go. Look at the mess we made. You clean it up now. Bye.” The same thing with Afghanistan. And the mere fact that you have openly admitted that you haven’t looked into Loyd shows that you don’t know what she was doing there, or WHY she was there. She wasn’t there as a soldier. She was there to learn about the culture and help Afghan women, yet you fail to see that, and defend the man who killed her without knowing anything about him other than that he was in his homeland. That isn’t open-mided, seeing things for all sides and telling the WHOLE story in any way, shape or form.

    Personally, I don’t have any problem with what your opinion is. I just think it’s ridiculous to form opinions when you don’t know what you’re talking about, and to write things that are opinion or half truths and call them fact.

    But what I know is this…

    If I were in Ayala’s shoes, I can’t honestly say I wouldn’t have done the same thing. I can’t say I would have either. I can only say, “I don’t know.” I don’t believe it’s fair for ANYONE to judge anyone else in this world like people have on this blog, and other places, until you have walked in that person’s shoes. Do people do it all the time? Sure they do, but it doesn’t make it right. Do I pass judgement, yes, but I try not to, and it isn’t right when I do it. I am ashamed when I do it, and the world isn’t a better place when anyone does it.

    Like someone said before, the US justice system isn’t perfect, but I think you’d be hard pressed to show me one that is. That’s what happens when you deal with people. People are imperfect, and all you can do is strive to make things work, but I honestly don’t even know what you want. If you read my blog, you read that I wanted a fair sentence for Ayala. I happen to believe he got a fair sentence based on how sentences are decided. His public defended even said something I said to a friend on Thursday night, “The public does not need to be protected from Mr. Ayala.” And that, in my belief, is WHY he got probation.

    1. Maximilian Forte

      You are making some of the same mistakes again, and I don’t understand why. One mistake is to assume that your understanding is the only legitimate understanding of a situation, so much so that you can’t seem to tolerate that someone else — like me — would present an alternate viewpoint. Let me show you some of the latest mistakes you made:

      1. Saying I could not be farther from the left…does not necessarily imply one is a right winger — it could suggest that one is simply so far left that what is normally considered “left wing” seems to the right. That is actually the more common accusation I get, and it has more legitimacy than what you imply.

      2. For someone who wants to argue that one needs to know all the intimate little details about a person’s life before making any judgments…then why don’t you follow your own advice and quit doing so when you write about me? The turn towards the personal is something that you initiated.

      3. I very well know that the U.S. is not alone in Afghanistan. Why do you even make that point? You have not seen my articles about NATO, and about Canada in Afghanistan. But now this is another of your diversions: this story is not about Canadians or any other NATO forces…so why even bother raising it?

      4. “And the mere fact that you have openly admitted that you haven’t looked into Loyd shows that you don’t know what she was doing there, or WHY she was there.” I do not call reading through a mass of soppy personal sanctimony about Loyd, of which there is an endless amount on the web, and going to some lousy little Facebook group, “looking into Loyd.” Yet, this blog is one of the very few sources, anywhere, that features both video of Loyd and quotes from interviews she gave in Afghanistan. I also know about the program she worked with. Looking into her personal life, is simply irrelevant. I do know what Loyd was doing in Afghanistan, and your likening it to a humanitarian mission, and likening her to a divine figure, invites scorn and ridicule.

      5. You don’t believe it is fair to judge people. So once again I discover that I am not a person — no surprises there. Of course it is fair to judge, in fact, it is absolutely essential, if critical thinking matters to you.

      6. “The public does not need to be defended from Ayala.” Which public? Here you stumble on the fatal flaw that is one of a number that make this case a farce, the same reasons voiced by those who help set up the International Criminal Court, who work for human rights groups, etc., and that is the problem of the U.S. trying people within its ranks for crimes committed while serving in a U.S. mission. Does the concept “in house” mean anything to you? The crime was committed in Afghanistan, and if it really were that sovereign nation that the U.S. lies to everyone that it is, then the crime would have been tried there, where he was a demonstrated danger to the Afghan public. Had he murdered someone in Canada, do you think we would have let him go to be tried somewhere in Virginia?

      Don’t you ask yourself any of these questions? I am certainly not suggesting that you are in any way intellectually deficient, and I apologize for those moments in our sparring when it seemed I was pushing that idea. I also don’t think you are the most close-minded person I have ever corresponded with, and so I am surprised that you would not consider alternate viewpoints more carefully, and see past your personal relationship with a childhood friend.

      One thing that this story is absolutely not about, is whether Loyd was a “good” person.

  15. Steph

    Max, it is Mother’s Day, my father is very ill, and I need to contact my mother-in-law in Israel. I am taking the day off from writing, but I have read what you have written, and have printed it out. I will read it again, and think about it before I post again.

  16. Cynthia

    Don is my cousin and I think that he handled himself as well as can be imaginable! How dare you pass judgement on my cousin! Why dont you stop and think that he has fought for this country and the freedom of all of us and for what ???? For ignorant people like yourself to talk trash! You have no room to talk, no one does until you have walked in his shoes and have seen what he has seen! How dare you!

    1. Maximilian Forte

      I dare.

      I am glad that you equate murdering a detainee with fighting for freedom and his country — not that he was an actual soldier, but rather a mercenary. Anything goes, as long as Muslims get murdered, right?

    2. Jules

      How about walking in a 15 year old young Muslim woman’s shoes?

      Here’s the link so that you can read the comments to that video…

      We’ve ALL got a very serious problem here and this has NOTHING to do with passing “judgement”! You’re cousin is going to have to deal with all the effects of this too… and the only way for any SOLUTIONS to come about is for complete honesty and taking FULL responsibility for one’s actions.

      There is the law… and then there is THE LAW!

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