Because David Hicks made a choice.
He could have chosen to stay home. He could have chosen to remain protected by our laws, our society, and our culture. He could have chosen to honour the contract that granted him the freedom to grow and prosper; the social pact that granted him the liberty to make his (poor) choice in the first instance.
But he did not.
He chose to throw his lot in with an alien ideology that represents the very antithesis of everything we hold precious. He chose to honour an alternative contract, with a people who might well have killed him before he had even the chance to make that choice in the first place; with a people who would kill us without hesitation. He chose the opposite of freedom. He chose the counter to peaceful coexistence. He chose despotism. He chose tyranny. He chose fascism. He chose war. He chose the avowed enemies of our way of life, culture and society.
After having made his choice, though, if David Hicks had been brought back to Australia, he would have been freed. We have no laws under which he could be tried (even Treason might be a stretch, though worth a shot, in my book). To be brought back to Australia would have been to grant his frankly evil choice a free pass.
Whether or not he deserves that largesse is another question (I think he does not – he broke our contract). But there is another issue at stake here; a far larger one.
What message would we have sent the would-be choosers of despotism, totalitarianism, murder and terror in our midst, had that occurred?
David Hicks made his choice and he paid the price (a cheap one, given the circumstances – he could be dead). More importantly, though, David Hicks has been made an example of – an example we could not have emulated, had he been returned. And that example is crucial: you are free to make choices; our society grants you that privilege. But when your choices include throwing your lot in with foreign organs that would remove that freedom from the rest of us, if given half the chance. . .
. . .then the deal is off; you’re on your own.
David Hicks is precisely where he should be.
No – David Hicks is precisely where he must be.