The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #49789   Message #754434
Posted By: Lonesome EJ
25-Jul-02 - 12:14 PM
Thread Name: Steve Earle takin' heat for new song
Subject: RE: BS: Steve Earle takin' heat for new song
It's a thorny question, for sure. The service of a US Citizen in a foreign army is a great tradition, from the Lincoln Brigade that fought Franco's fascists to the American pilots who flew in World War 1 before US entry. Both of these groups had the advantage of choosing the side tacitly endorsed by the US. An argument could be made that America straddled the fence on the Spanish Civil War, but Franco's alliance w/ Hitler made popular heroes of the Lincoln Brigaders.

The Taliban represents another situation. Afghanistan was long known in this country as a safehaven for Al Quaeda and other Islamic Terrorist groups. Our governments were in a state of mutual, though undeclared, hostility when Lindh joined up. When that hostility became an open one, Lindh continued to fight for the Taliban and against the United States Army. Whatever his motivations, that made him the enemy at that point. There is really no correlation to my other examples. The question of what punishment should have been levelled is an open one, however. If Lindh was in effect "held prisoner" by the Taliban, then no punishment should have been given.

My views on Lindh's guilt or innocence are not the real question in this thread though. The question involves Steve Earle's portrayal of the event and whether Earle is within his rights to speak for Lindh, and whether he has a right to say things (as Lindh) that may anger the public. I think he does have all of those rights.