Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Another Martyr?

Given his "testimony" in court yesterday, it seems clear that Zacarias Moussaoui is intent on spectacular martyrdom--and on making a public mockery of this country's legal system in order to achieve it. My own thoughts probably won't respond to popular sentiment, Bush, but I say mercy is the only practical strategy that would foil his intention.

Martyrdom, as I see it, would work with as deadly efficiency as a suicide bomb. Think of the international publicity, Bush, if this man is condemned to death by an American jury. Think of the outcry, even among otherwise moderately friendly nations who oppose capital punishment. If we actally execute him, imagine the surge of fury in the Muslim world, the accusations of hypocrisy and double standards. Sure, as you so delicately put it the other day, nobody likes beheadings. But nobody out there in the rest of the civilized world much likes lethal injections either. And what about the probable rush amongst younger Islamic men--perhaps not yet radicalized but ripe for the plucking--to join the ranks of Al Quaeda or some similar band of fanatics?

So why not instead send the man to prison for the remainder of his days? To spare his life, it would seem to me, would offer a different view of America. It would disempower those who stand ready to judge us out of their hatred. It would present the image of a country sober and mature enough to sacrifice primitive blood vengeance in favor of a more humane form of punishment. It would show that we are above being manipulated by the ravings of a madman, and that our legal system is truly about justice, not revenge.

I'm hoping, Bush, that the jury will not take advantage of Moussaoui's own crazed words to justify his execution, and will substitute their own calm wisdom for his intemperate hatred. I'm hoping they will deny him what he's so obviously asking for--their pitiless condemnation--and offer him instead the more severe punishment of their mercy.


Fred said...

I agree with you completely, Peter. We could certainly use the PR of showing some "mercy", and denying martyrdom to the man is an excellent idea too.

PM said...

He will do 1 of two things, either go on a hunger strike, or try to hang himself claiming the "infidels" are treating him wrongly. He will become a martyr any way you look at it. But yes, I too agree with you, there is no sense in killing him, there is enough of that already.