May 3, 2006

Moussaoui must live.

After thinking about it for 7 days, the jury rejects the death penalty.
[I]n their effort to secure Moussaoui's execution, prosecutors were fighting the current of recent history: A federal jury in Alexandria has never voted for a sentence of death. ...

Federal juries nationwide have also strongly preferred life over death. Since 1991, juries have voted for death sentences 51 times, compared with 93 sentences of life in prison, according to the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel. Since 2000, amid publicity about the exoneration of some death row inmates by DNA and other evidence, federal juries have returned 69 life sentences, compared with 29 for death.

In the case most comparable to Moussaoui's, the 2001 trial of four al-Qaeda members accused of blowing up U.S. embassies in East Africa, a federal jury in New York chose life in prison instead of death for the two defendants eligible for death. Ten jurors wrote on the verdict form that executing one of the men would make him a martyr, and five said life in prison would be a greater punishment.
Let's hope it is.

68 comments:

Thorley Winston said...

Ten jurors wrote on the verdict form that executing one of the men would make him a martyr, and five said life in prison would be a greater punishment.

I sincerely hope that this is merely an after-the-fact rationalization for not voting to execute him and that they really aren't so foolish as to believe it.

Wickedpinto said...

He should have been killed.

Reporters couldn't stop begging to interview gacey, still beg to interview manson (spelling) and have a sick sort of obsession with spreading the opinions of dirty F's.

Mousaui on this day has the largest visiters list the free world has ever known. Killing him might, though not really, make him a martyr, but keeping him alive will turn him into a prophet.

Good job week willed lilly livered tardoliscious jury, good job.

Bissage said...

I'm willing to do the arithmetic. Is there any chance the jury will reimburse me the taxes I pay to provide that evil kook with three hots and a cot? I'd rather that money go to a disadvantaged child working for a better life.

David53 said...

I wish they could put him in the cage next to Charles Manson. They could have some wonderful conversations.

Joan said...

Well, I for one am happy they are not going to execute him, simply because he wanted to die. He expected to die, he wanted a glorious martyr's death with the attendant 72 virgins or whatever, and now he's not going to get it. To Moussaoui, death wasn't a punishment, it was a reward -- and now that has been denied.

I know it's expensive to keep him, but I do honestly hope he lives a long, natural, miserable life and finally dies peacefully in his sleep, still in his cell, at the age of 92.

Writing that, I realized how horribly uncharitable that thought is, and reflected that it would be wonderful if he could have a conversion of heart and actually be sorry for what he did.

Wonderful, sure, but highly unlikely, I think. Sparing Moussaoui isn't about giving him a chance for redemption, it's about inflicting appropriate punishment. Death would've been too quick and too easy.

Robert said...

He's going to die in prison. And it won't be a long time, either.

Even criminals have standards.

Thorley Winston said...

Well, I for one am happy they are not going to execute him, simply because he wanted to die. He expected to die, he wanted a glorious martyr's death with the attendant 72 virgins or whatever, and now he's not going to get it.

If that were true, he would have gone down fighting trying to take as many of us with him as he could in the process. Instead he let himself be captured alive much like Saddam Hussein who promised to go down fighting.

It does without saying that we should give a rat’s feingold what the Islamacists or anyone facing a capital sentence says that they want. Otherwise they would all say that they want to die in the hopes that some bleeding heart moron on the jury would say “I know, let’s let them live, that’ll show them.”

chsw10605 said...

"Robert" may be correct. However, I hope that he is put in with the general prison population and beaten by them daily for the rest of his life.

When he dies, all his virgins should look like Yasser Arafat.

chsw10605

Budd said...

Can you spell shank boys and girls.

Joan said...

Thorley, let me assure you that I'm no bleeding heart. The fact that Moussaoui is a coward on top of being a lunatic is incidental. From the descriptions of the legal proceedings, it seemed to me that Moussaoui was doing everything he could to make sure he would get the death penalty. If being happy that he is being denied his celestial reward makes me a moron in your eyes, I can live with that.

LaurieRS said...

Robert's right. He's going to die in prison, because prisoners do have standards. How long did it take the inmates to do away with Jeffrey Dahmer? Not too long, if I recall. Moussaoui will die more quickly now than if they had sentenced him to death, with subsequent years worth of appeals. We'll all be money ahead, tax-wise.

Balfegor said...

Death would've been too quick and too easy.

and five said life in prison would be a greater punishment.

I dislike the mentality behind comments like these. "Death" seems to me a natural stopping point for human cruelty. If one thinks death is commensurable with live imprisonment -- which these comments, at least, indicate -- choosing an alternative punishment because you think it is worse than death is just excessive. And cruel.

A lot of politicians, particularly anti-death penalty politicians, use this "life imprisonment is worse than death" trope all the time, and I find it repellent. I am a whole-hearted supporter of the death penalty, but death is where it ought to end. If Moussaoui deserved death (as I think he did), then kill him. Or perhaps refrain on the grounds that he may be made a martyr of. But to refrain in the hope that long years of imprisonment will somehow be a greater torment to him strikes me as mere barbarity.

Dave said...

Moral cowardice.

Hopefully a patriot in prison will Dahmer him.

Balfegor said...

And re:

Robert's right. He's going to die in prison, because prisoners do have standards. How long did it take the inmates to do away with Jeffrey Dahmer? Not too long, if I recall. Moussaoui will die more quickly now than if they had sentenced him to death, with subsequent years worth of appeals. We'll all be money ahead, tax-wise.

How is this any different from the recently much-excoriated practice of "rendition"? We don't want the blood on our hands, so we turn the matter over to other people, somewhere somewhat out of the public eye, so they can do it for us.

For my part, I suspect I'm considerably less disturbed/disgusted at the prospect of American torture and brutality than the other posters here, but I don't see how this cavalier attitude towards letting the prisoners do our dirty work can possibly be proper.

I know I'm being a moralistic scold here, but honestly, this kind of commentary strikes me as a touch egregious.

Dave said...

"I don't see how this cavalier attitude towards letting the prisoners do our dirty work can possibly be proper."

Well, the jury refused to do the "dirty work" as you say, and I sure as shit am not going to do it, so why not rely on some guy rotting away in prison to do it?

What's your point?

Marghlar said...

Balfegor: the problem with your position, I think, is that it puts a cap on the amount of deterrence/punishment we can deal out. Ergo, someone who has already killed and raped three people has no reason to stop, because if he is now likely to get the death penalty, there can be no more serious consequences for his behavior.

I personally think that we should rethink our confinement=OK, death=OK, corporal punishment is not OK ordering. Rather than randomly subject Moussaoui to an uncertain amount of violence by his prison population, I'd do everything I can to make prison safe, but incorporate physical punishments for the worst offenders. I think that is still less severe than killing them. The amount of corporal punishment could be judicially determined -- and thus our punishment decisions get made in a consistent and intelligent way, rather than being left to the morality of a gang of felons.

Since I don't think that crimes short of heinous murder should be capital, (even really gruesome conspiracies like Moussaoui's), I'd give him a lifelong confinement with regular lashings or canings.

Jacques Cuze said...

Wow, yet another colossal loss for the President.

Balfegor said...

I personally think that we should rethink our confinement=OK, death=OK, corporal punishment is not OK ordering.

Oh, I am 100% behind corporal punishment too. I'm not sure whether it was a thread you were participating in before, but I've gone on and on about how barbaric I think American prisons (and prisons in general) are, and how we ought to replace prison in most cases with corporal punishment. On the other hand, I don't think torture is worse than death either, because I don't think the two can be compared -- my support for the death penalty doesn't really rest on a theory of deterrence, but on a theory of desert, since I don't think we administer it with sufficient regularity and frequency for it to have a coherent deterrent effect.

More generally, I don't think the pursuit of ultimate deterrence should be the great end of our scheme of punishment. I mean, sure, we could always increase deterrence by promising to use thumbscrews, blinding irons, and the rack for especially heinous crimes, but even I, black-hearted though I am, would balk at that.

For the most part, actually, I agree with you. I just find gloating about how something is going to be "worse than death" repugnant (if you think it's worse than death don't do it, I say), and find approval of tossing a prisoner to his fellow inmates to be torn to pieces scarcely less savage.

Harkonnendog said...

Everything I've heard about radical Islam indicates that the the death penalty would have been a glorious martyrdom, whereas prison is a humiliating defeat. So it is okay by me. I just hope they make him tend pigs.

Balfegor said...

Marghlar: Ergo, someone who has already killed and raped three people has no reason to stop, because if he is now likely to get the death penalty, there can be no more serious consequences for his behavior.

Now that I think about it, if we assume for the moment that the death penalty does, in fact, have meaningful deterrent effect, it's not necessarily the case that "if he is now likely to get the death penalty" leads to "no more serious consequences." Or more precisely, deterrence shouldn't operate according to a simple up-down likely/not-likely variable. Rather, because of the vagaries of our legal system, every incremental murder you commit makes it incrementally more likely that you are going to get sent down for execution. Every incremental murder introduces new ascertainable evidence on which to convict you, and the more evidence you confront, the harder it is to get it all disregarded. So there is still deterrence at work.

reader_iam said...

Flame away at me if you like, but I'm finding this comment thread to be exceptionally repugnant and even barbaric.

Ugh.

Jacques Cuze said...

reader_iam lie down with dogs...

Marghlar said...

Balfegor: I grant you the higher probability of conviction issue; however, I still think my point has validity. If you commit horrible acts in front of a crowd of witnesses (or on camera), than you can pretty well guess that you will not be getting off at trial. I'd say that if we say that the murder and torture of five people is worth death, surely to do the same thing to thousands deserves worse (think genocides as the real world example here). Ergo, maybe we need more severe punishments than just death, in some circumstances.

As far as being worried about deterrence as the only end -- keep in mind that a utilitarian approach to deterrence is very worried not to overpunish, because that is causing more suffering than it is avoiding. I favor an approach that blends utilitarian and retributive concerns in criminal punishment, primarily because I'm usually a utilitarian, but I can't fully accept the logic when it comes to violent crime.

But I think on most issues here we agree: we have prison sentences that are too long, in institutions that are too out of control. Adding corporal punishment, so that a short sentence can be made very unpleasant in a safe and controlled way, seems the best solution.

Joan said...

Balfegor, I'm trying to figure out why you think life imprisonment is OK if martyrdom were the alternative, but not OK if it's imposed within a framework of being worse than dying. It is, after all, the same punishment.

I think just about anyone could imagine "a fate worse than death." There's a reason that phrase is a cliche. Death, especially by execution, is accomplished quickly, so whatever pain or anguish suffered is short-term. Then it's done, and the deceased no longer has to bear any responsibility for his actions. It's an easy out for anyone, and for people like Moussaoui, it's a ticket to paradise.

I much prefer to reserve the death penalty for the most egregious cases. In most cases the perp should be forced to work for the rest of his life to 1) cover his living expenses and 2) pay off his debt to his victims and/or his victims' families.

I'm not going anywhere near the "prisoners will kill him for us" or the corporal punishment ideas!

Don S said...

Some of the comments I've heard on the cable news stations say that the verdict "says something" about our country. True. Sadly, what it says to the Islamists is that this country is not serious about confronting the threat facing it. I shudder to think of the magnitude of the wake-up call apparently needed, and dread the day when it arrives- and it will.

alexmitchell said...

chsw
"Robert" may be correct. However, I hope that he is put in with the general prison population and beaten by them daily for the rest of his life.

budd
Can you spell shank boys and girls.

lauriers
Robert's right. He's going to die in prison, because prisoners do have standards. How long did it take the inmates to do away with Jeffrey Dahmer? Not too long, if I recall. Moussaoui will die more quickly now than if they had sentenced him to death, with subsequent years worth of appeals. We'll all be money ahead, tax-wise.

etc etc

The problem I have with this kind of attitude is not the pleasure taken in the thought of Moussaoui getting bashed/raped/killed by other prisoners. I don't have much, if any sympathy for him myself, and I'm not going to lose sleep if he is killed in prison.

But at the same time, the fact that this sort of thing could happen to him in prison, and the fact that when a child rapist is sent to prison people make jokes about how the pedophile's gonna get raped, has wider consequences for prison in general.

sure, it could be someone evil like mossaoui, or dahmer, or any pedophile etc who gets his 'just deserts', but in an environment in which that sort of rough justice can be meted out, the majority of the victims aren't going to be complete scum, because the majority of the victims are going to be drug users, or thieves.

And those crimes are serious and in (many) cases warrant jail time as a punishment. but that doesn't mean they deserve to get shanked or raped or bashed by other prisoners/guards.

I mean, bashing people, and stabbing people and raping people and killing people are crimes we take pretty seriously on the outside world and yet, when they happen in jail, the response seems to be- they're a criminal, they deserved it.

Violent rape is a crime in which we have no problems about sending someone to prison for 30 years for. even if the victim had a criminal record. If some thug drags a girl off the street and rapes her, at the trial, no ones going to say- but she spent six months in jail for insurance fraud- she deserved to be raped. And yet, when it happens in prison, people just don't give a shit. Why? because the prisoner is more likely to be male? do males not get damaged by rape? are drug addicts and car thieves and welfare cheats able to get on with their post-prison rape lives better than people raped on the outside, because, hey, they did the crime, and doing the time involves getting 'sold' to some jail gang as their bitch?

Because as much as I don't give a shit that someone like Moussaoui is going to get his, the fact that he likely will is the result of a system in which other people, less deserving of that kind of revenge, are going to get hurt as well- not because they're a terrorist or a murderer or a child abuser, but because they're scrawny, and don't belong to a gang, and easy to push around.

you may disagree with the punishment given to someone for a crime, and certainly grave injustices are done in sentencing sometimes, but we have a justice system, and we have to accept its rulings. we don't tolerate people taking the law into their own hands on the outside- why should we do so on the inside?

Harkonnendog said...

Joan,
Not to answer for him, but AN answer to this:
"I'm trying to figure out why you think life imprisonment is OK if martyrdom were the alternative, but not OK if it's imposed within a framework of being worse than dying. It is, after all, the same punishment."
is that the way this punishment is viewed by others, especially the world's pool of potential terrorists, matters a lot.

One of the reasons people say this is bad is because it sends a message to potential terrorists that the US is soft on terror. But they've not shown the pool of potential terrorists would rather go to jail for life than die. And really, considering all the suicide bombers, I think the onus is on them to prove just that.

A suicide bomber, which is what Mousaui aspired to become, is a particular type of coward- one that would rather die fighting than live fighting- and a certain type of loser- one that would rather lose gloriously, and claim eternal victimhood, then win and no longer have an excuse for being garbage.

To someone who has the peculiar characteristics of a would-be suicide bomber, spending a lifetime in an American prisoner is MUCH worse than dying in a blaze of glory.

reader_iam said...

alexmitchell:

Bingo!

Except that I do have a problem with people taking pleasure in anyone getting bashed/raped/killed, because it's precisely that attitude that accounts for why everything else you talk about it is the reality in U.S. prisons.

MadisonMan said...

I'm finding this comment thread to be exceptionally repugnant and even barbaric.

You said a mouthful.

I'd like to thank the jurors for doing a job I wouldn't have wanted foisted on me. Would I have come to the same conclusion? No way to know -- I didn't see all the testimony.

reader_iam said...

Among other reasons.

Balfegor said...

why you think life imprisonment is OK if martyrdom were the alternative, but not OK if it's imposed within a framework of being worse than dying. It is, after all, the same punishment.

Harkonnendog's is a good answer. My own is rather simpler -- if you're doing something for pragmatic reasons, that doesn't carry the same moral taint as doing that same thing just for the sake of being cruel.

I think that in any hierarchy where death is considered commensurable with physical suffering, death itself should provide the upper bound on morally permissible excruciations. "Worse than death," for me, carries the clear subtext "they will cry out for death, but it will not come!" Insert diabolic chuckles as needed. Now, as I have said, I myself do not think such an hierarchy is appropriate or accurate. But many people clearly do. And when these people call for punishments "worse than death," I disapprove.

As for its being a cliche, I don't think that's of any particular weight one way or the other, when we're actually talking about someone who will either be executed or face the fate "worse than death." After all, "the third degree" is a light joke, a cliche, when a teenager complains that his guardians are questioning him about where he was and what he was doing. But it's not such a joke when you're actually talking about a man in a cell being beaten with a rubber hose.

Marghlar said...

alexmitchell & readeriam: I agree with you -- we should make prisoners as safe as possible in prison. Prison violence should not be tolerated -- it is barbaric, and has nothing to do with punishment. It targets the weakest prisoners most, rather than the most guilty. And rape should never, ever be imposed as punishment. That's horrific.

Marghlar said...

balfegor: I'd like to clarify my position on punishments more severe than death. I meant that to mean: "death without other punishments." Not a punishment that in and of itself is more horrible than death, like some sorts of gruesome tortures.

That is to say, I think it is worth to get both caned and killed, than just to get killed. I think that in the very worst cases it might be appropriate to impose some stretch of corporal punishment preceding death, or to use a method of execution that hurts.

I never meant to endorse what you seem to be describing -- the "wish for death" class of stuff. That's hideous, and below the dignity of a civilized society.

Ann Althouse said...

I want to distance myself from the expressions of hope that any prisoner would be beaten, raped, or killed by other prisoners. It is the government's responsibility to keep order in prisons and to protect the persons it has incapacitated from protecting themselves. The punishment should come in the form of disciplined restrictions. Living conditions should be austere, without pleasures and with substantial work requirements. There should be nothing that provokes outrage, just grimly ordinary limitation. Don't stain your own soul by involving yourself in willing crimes. He is incapacitated forever, removed from society just as much as if he were dead. Think of him as nothing, and go on with your life.

reader_iam said...

Don't stain your own soul by involving yourself in willing crimes.

That would be the "among other reasons" part.

MadisonMan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MadisonMan said...

Is it cathartic to ponder how one would incarcerate his man? I envision a small island, about 15 miles east of Isle Royale, in the middle of Lake Superior. There is plenty of fresh water, lots of wood, a small cabin with ill-fitting windows and doors, a fireplace, tools to make logs and to split wood. A Koran will be provided. The only source of food, other than vegetable seeds and a small plot of land, is a generous population of wild boar.

Periodically, heat-sensing pictures will see what's up. Otherwise, Zaccarias will be quite alone.

Harkonnendog said...

"And rape should never, ever be imposed as punishment. That's horrific."

Agreed... Plus- the guy doing the raping is having a great time. What kind of punishment is that?

PatCA said...

Either way, the jihadis will spin the verdict to their propagandistic ends.

I personally hope that Mr. M lives to be revealed publicly and constantly as the cowardly, cheap slimeball that he is, thus revealing the slimeball-ness of his movement and of the media that will soon begin fawning all over him. Our government seems incapable of rhetoric to denounce jihadism; let Mr. M do it for them.

Moanique said...

I don't think it's that complicated and readers here should be sympathetic to the notion that there was a Legal Process. It was concluded with a verdict by a jury. The result is someone put away for the rest of his life. That's how it works here. If you can't abide by that, there are plenty of other legal systems around the world where a thirst for pure vengeance can be fed.

The thought that some rapist or murderer should take him out after he's in prison as a favor to the rest of us, and then we stand around and shout 'Hooray', is beneath contempt.

tjl said...

If you expect Moussaoui will suffer one or more of the unpleasant fates predicted above, check out a description of the federal supermax ultra-high-security prison to which he will certainly be consigned. Supermax inmates spend 23 of 24 hours in solitary lockdown in all-concrete windowless cells. Opportunities for interaction with other inmates are nonexistent, which would seem to rule out rape, murder, etc.
Life without parole in such tomb-like surroundings might well be a fate worse than death (not that I care -- if Moussaoui had undergone a Timothy McVeigh type execution, it would have been satisfying indeed).

Harkonnendog said...

"If you can't abide by that, there are plenty of other legal systems around the world where a thirst for pure vengeance can be fed."

Not fair. The people calling for him to be murdered and/or raped aren't thirsting for vengeance- they are thirsting for justice.

Life in prison is not a JUST punishment for conspiring to murder thousands of people. Not even you would argue such, I think.

MadisonMan said...

Life in prison is not a JUST punishment for conspiring to murder thousands of people.

That's not what the jury said. And I have to believe they have the best tools to decide. They heard all the evidence.

Jacques Cuze said...

President Bush said Wednesday the verdict rejecting the death penalty for al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui "represents the end of this case but not an end to the fight against terror."

Without commenting directly on the jury's decision, Bush declared, "Evil will not have the final say. This great nation will prevail."


Tristero asks, and I echo that request, would someone please explain what President Bush is saying?

I thought this was a due process and a constitutionally guaranteed jury trial. They gave him life without parole.

How did evil have the final say?

Seems to me as though our great nation had the final say, and that the jury's verdict represents everything that is great and powerful about our nation.

(Everyone notice blogger's bug? Jebus, what quality software.)

Harkonnendog said...

"That's not what the jury said."

I don't think they said anything involving this. They set out to make a just decision, not to get justice. Given the contraints put on them by the system I don't think their decision to let him live has much relationship with their ideas about what would have been just.

"And I have to believe they have the best tools to decide. They heard all the evidence."
The tools necessary to decide this aren't limited to evidence, though.

Harkonnendog said...

"Tristero asks, and I echo that request, would someone please explain what President Bush is saying?"

I guess he's saying this is just one battle in the war on terror.

reader_iam said...

Not fair. The people calling for him to be murdered and/or raped aren't thirsting for vengeance- they are thirsting for justice.

Is fair.

For the reason you're not getting (I think): The calls are conflating vengeance with justice--in fact, making the two concepts synonyms. They are not. They are not.

Those calling you and others out--oh, to hell with that.

I'm calling you out for exactly that reason. Because when the two are mushed together, the definition of "vengeance" takes over. Justice becomes a distinction without ethical meaning.

I'm no wimp on the concept of justice: In fact, I'm a defender of it on a different front, against the conflation of "justice" with "fairness." (No, I don't eschew fairness--I just don't automatically conflate the two things, damn it.)

But the sort of wishing exhibited here is a perversion of the concept of justice--precisely because it, well, justifies all sorts of things that subvert the very reason that justice is a noble goal to begin with.

And the rule of secular law.

And--meh, enough.

PatCA said...

Beneath contempt? I don't think so. I think it's quite a human feeling if you choose to remember this: http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101020909/aintro.html

What's curious is that all your moral indignation is reserved for people that M would have gladly killed, along with their babies, only because they were living or working in America, or on the wrong plane on the wrong day.

I hope I'm wrong, but this is weakness, and deadly. As someone else posted, how long before hostages are grabbed to barter for M? The fact that he was tried in a criminal instead of a military court is our fault, and we will have to live with the whirlwind caused by this mistaken guilt-ridden fashionable pseudo-pacifism.

reader_iam said...

What's curious is that all your moral indignation is reserved for people that M would have gladly killed, along with their babies, only because they were living or working in America, or on the wrong plane on the wrong day.

Wrong!--at least for me.

Human feeling is an important thing, but it's one thing.

Terrorists have human feelings--which justify whatever. Feelings are not justifications.

I realize I have not said this: I am not opposed to the death penalty categorically. In fact, I think it's appropriate--to my way of thinking, even obviously appropriate--in a number of circumstances.

Just for the record.

Jacques Cuze said...

Hmm, perhaps not a bug after all, perhaps just a time delayed cachey thingy.

David Blue said...

"America, you lost. I won!" Moussaoui yelled as he was escorted from the U.S. District courtroom in Alexandria after the verdict was read. He clapped his hands as he left.

Yes he did win. And yes we who believe that the 11 September 2001 attacks were intolerably evil and all those who connived at them must die lost. At least one man who conspired to bring about this horror will live, protected by our so-civilised laws.

If you had told me on 12 September, 2001 that this would happen, I would have said that's insane, intolerable, an affront to decency that mustn't be allowed.

But now, as far as I'm concerned, he can watch television comfortably for the rest of his long, evil, happy life, if that is what the legal system decrees. Give him cable, why not? It doesn't matter.

This is war to the knife, not law. It was always foolish to see this as a matter of law. The passengers of Flight 93 pointed our way through this insanity: we have to fight and win, that's all.

From a military point of view, what matters is that Zacarias Moussaoui is an ex-combatant. As long as that continues to be the case, military necessity is satisfied.

Balfegor said...

It was always foolish to see this as a matter of law.

I quite agree. But we made our bed, now let us lie in it.

PatCA said...

True, balfegor, that's a better way of saying it.

RichC said...

With respect to the martyr issue, none of the jurors found his desire to be a martyr a reason to choose life imprisonment over death (read the verdict form, which is available at Bashman and elsewhere).

LizrdGizrd said...

I had the chance to speak with an inmate whose death sentence was commuted to life in prison. According to her, she would have rather been put to death than spend her life in prison.

I hope Moussaoui enjoys his life and his new husband.

Moanique said...

PatCA:

You said: "Beneath contempt? I don't think so. I think it's quite a human feeling if you choose to remember this" and then there was a link.

Please read what I actually said again. Personally, if the jury had come back with the death penalty, I would have had no problems with that...none. However, they didn't. After considering the facts of the case, a jury of reasonable Americans decided that the test to put him to death had not been met.

The comments that I considered beneath contempt were the ones encouraging and snickering about murder behind prison walls as if that would be a good thing. To paraphrase, "Jury's wrong...legal system is messed up...he should be killed anyway." That's specifically what my remarks were confined to.

Standing outside the sheriff's office with torches and pickforks and mumbling "Let's string 'em up..." (even virtually) became passe a few years ago.

Best wishes

Moan

Ann Althouse said...

Rape is torture. Everyone who is happy to think of prisoners who are being raped is expressing approval of torture. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Al Maviva said...

I'm not terribly upset that he didn't get the death penalty. Yeah, I knew a fair handful of the people murdered on 9/11. Yeah, I'd like to see some AQ big shots publicly drawn and quartered, televised live on Fox and Al Jizz. But we stick with the rule of law and frankly the U.S.' case that he was a 9/11 conspirator, in the common sense of the word, wasn't particularly strong. He may have known about the attacks, but he seems far too much of a wingnut to have been relied on to carry out anything important. Maybe he knew, but knowledge alone is generally weak grounds on which to base a conspiracy conviction, an overt act in support of the conspiracy is generally required. From a merits standpoint, you need crazy people to carry out suicide attacks, but they can be stark raving nuts, and Moussaoui is starkers. And he claims that the deranged Richard Reid was to be his accomplice? Please.

I think the rule of law won yesterday. The war on Islamacist terror is going to be a long march. The goal for the U.S. and the west, insofar as the rest of the west cares to resist the Islamacist tide, must be to preserve those parts of our society that make us unique, including an almost fetishistic respect for the rule of law, because the law is the thing that pulled us out of the Western dark ages on a couple occasions. We can't chuck the law overboard just to inflict some(well deserved and just) retaliation on a member of the enemy camp. Just as the local magistrate and jail replaced the blood feud, so must our way of settling disputes replace suicide bombings and beheadings and chopping off hands. We don't get to that point, and bring the more radical portion of the Muslim world into our camp, if we don't adhere to the standards that we assert are superior.

Bob Mitze said...

As we learned in the latest Palestinian election it is possible for the democratic process to yield a result most Americans disagree with. Our government's response was to cut off funds. In effect, our government said we respect their right to vote for the government they want, but if they choose badly then we will not support the result. We did not say that since the result was democratically achieved then we must support it. Similarly many people here are saying that although the jury voted, we still feel they got the wrong result. Juries can mean well but still be wrong. (How many readers feel that, at times, jury nullification of a bad law is appropriate?) The desires that Moussaoui die in prison is a kind of nullification of the jury.

Taking pleasure in the thought of Moussaoui being raped and murdered is a descent into the pit of hatred and not good for the soul, but that doesn't mean honest people can't feel that the jury made a serious mistake and wish for some way to nullify its wrong result.

PatCA said...

I'm not saying the wish for revenge is defensible or desirable, but it is human. Which is why I said I was too harsh. I do not hope for such treatment for Moussaui; it would only illustrate what I fear the most, that we are a deluded nation, flattering ourselves that a lack of will to fight is really a virtue, while at the same time winking at those we disdain to do our dirty work for us. How cowardly!

amba said...

A lot of you guys need more of a Zen warrior spirit -- kill the enemy or forget him, but do it coldly, without passion. All this foaming at the mouth sounds impotent, frankly. You've let the little shit get to you, drag you down to the level of a chimpanzee screaming and dung-flinging contest. That, far more than physical survival, is Moussaoui's triumph. Once he can do no harm, dead or alive, the way to destroy him is to ignore him.

Mike said...

MadisonMan: Is the island in Lake Superior meant to be punishment? I work 51 weeks a year to earn a vacation along the lines of what you describe. Yeah, full time would be different, but compared to prison? Are you kidding?

He deserved death, but I have no problem with life in the SuperMax prison described (23 hours in a cell). I suspect he really did want a "martytr's" death, though we'll never know for sure, so prison is actually better, IMO. I am troubled, though, by Wickedpinto's claim that he'll have access to a steady stream of reporters. I hope that's not the case.

Jacques Cuze said...

All this foaming at the mouth sounds impotent, frankly.

You and I watch different movies.

Ann Althouse said...

Amba: Yeah, exactly. My local paper has the right headline: "Moussaoui denied martyrdom."

Madisonman: That was my impression too. Some folks like solitude! Imagine if they'd offered that punishment to the Unibomber!

Ann Althouse said...

Wait... I meant to agree with Mark, not Madisonman!

Elizabeth said...

Al Maviva wrote: "The goal for the U.S. and the west, insofar as the rest of the west cares to resist the Islamacist tide, must be to preserve those parts of our society that make us unique, including an almost fetishistic respect for the rule of law, because the law is the thing that pulled us out of the Western dark ages on a couple occasions."

Thank you, Al. We do not win this fight by becoming what we despise.

Harkonnendog said...

"Is fair.

For the reason you're not getting (I think): The calls are conflating vengeance with justice--in fact, making the two concepts synonyms. They are not. They are not."

I don't think they are synonyms either. I don't think people are calling for him to be raped and/or murdered because they want to GET EVEN- which I think is an intrinsic part of revenge.

I think they are calling for him to raped/murdered because they think he DESERVES that, which I think is a call for justice.

That said, let me say again, and just for the record, that I don't think he should be raped, and I'm okay with life imprisonment.

Also, again, if you are okay with him being raped than you are okay with a rapist enjoying raping people. And that's no kind of punishment, much less a way to encourage someone to become a better person.

And really- I mean Saddam had rape rooms and such- just that association is enough for me to find the idea demeaning to the US.

Danny said...

Ann, did you read Dahlia Lithwick's take on the decision? Clear and well-written as (almost) always: Complex martyr