Thursday, May 04, 2006

Moussaoui gets life

The jury deliberated, and the verdict for Moussaoui is life without possibility of parole.

I think that's actually the best possible outcome for this extraordinarily strange case.

Moussaoui himself is a pernicious person, his rantings devoid of even a drop of the milk of human kindness: he has no sympathy for the 9/11 victims or their families, and regards Timothy McVeigh as "the greatest American."

So no, I have no sympathy for Moussaoui himself. Despite his dreadful family background, he is coherent and sane enough to be held fully responsible for what he's done and its consequences.

But what has he done? That's the problem; we don't rightly know. From the lack of hard evidence presented at the trial, it appears he's done less than he would like us to believe--although he intended plenty of harm, as much as possible.

But our system of justice judges the act, not the personality. Intent is an element of some crimes, yes, but it has to be coupled with certain actions, and those actions have to be proven in court. To justify a death penalty it's not enough to have wanted to cause the death of thousands or planned to cause the death of thousands or rejoiced in the death of thousands. One has to actually have caused those deaths--or, in Moussaoui's case, to have withheld pertinent information that, if revealed, might have saved them.

Three jurors agreed that Moussaoui's knowledge of the details of 9/11 was too inadequate to have given authorities the knowledge to prevent it, even if he had divulged those details in time. All twelve jurors agreed that Moussaoui's actions did not result in the 3,000 deaths on 9/11. The fact that Moussaoui is the sort of terrible human being who would have been proud to claim such an accomplishment doesn't change the fact that it probably wasn't his accomplishment; he just didn't have enough insider info.

I have no problem with this verdict. Life imprisonment without possibility of parole is, in my opinion, the very last thing Moussaoui wants, despite his yelling out "I won" at its announcement. Methinks the man doth protest too much. I think Moussaoui has no desire to live out his days in the belly of the hated beast, America, rather than to become a glorious martyr.

And France seems happy that the cowboys held off on the ultimate penalty:

The French Embassy in the U.S. issued a statement that said the trial was ``conducted in an exemplary fashion.''

I think the trial was a circus, actually, as I indicated here. But I think this result is the right one--or at least, a right one.

[ADDENDUM: Varifrank has an interesting take on the death penalty vs. life imprisonment, with a look at the fate of some well-known lifers.]

47 Comments:

At 8:22 AM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Paul L said...

I agree. This was the first positive news that has occurred since 9-11, in my opinion. For once, the true nature of our country, and the rule of law, has been allowed to shine through.

 
At 8:40 AM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Huan said...

Firstly, the death penalty should be reserved for those actually guilty of having commited a grievious crime, not just for having planned to participate in one.

Secondly, why are we even treating terrorism as a law and order problem for this to be in a court of law? We should treat terrorism as an act of war. We should either hold them as PoW, as illegal combatants, or execute them as spies. All such options are in compliance with the Geneva convention.

 
At 8:44 AM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

I too, agree and said so.

Judge Brinkema said she did not Moussaoui's claims of having foreknowledge of 9/11. She like the jurors, heard all the arguments and every bit of evidence - including the evidence that was classified.

We are within our rights to demand vengeance. That however, has nothing to do with justice.

 
At 10:34 AM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

The trial may be over, but I'm wondering how he'll fare in prison.

From what I've heard, there's a growing Muslim populating in America's prison system. Not sure whether it's made up of real Muslims or Louis Farrakhan Muslims. I'm just wondering whether he'll find a comfortable niche for himself with a group of cons who admire his actions on behalf - as he understands it - of Islam.

Personally, I hope he ends up in the same social class as the prison rats and child molesters, and receives the same treatment. Good riddance to bad rubbish...

 
At 10:35 AM, May 04, 2006, Blogger gatorbait said...

Add to this the fact that this clod is only nominally a Moroccan. His brother is sitting in a prison there , and the Moroccans have indicated he'll get a warm welcome should he step back into a country he has only visited.

Watch for his mother to petition for extradition to France.

 
At 10:48 AM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Holmes said...

If anything it does demonstrate the futility of trying to treat terrorists as a legal problem.

 
At 11:15 AM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

To me it was a conundrum, Moussaoui wanted to get his 72 clear raisins and be a shaheed.

If we executed him we would be aiding him in his quest.

If we could have found an appropriate way of thwarting his ambition, like throwing him into a pen of hungry feral pigs, while accomplishing our ends, I would have wanted to see him dead.

Everything considered, the rest of his life in super-max and no press releases sounds like a good compromise.

 
At 11:40 AM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous elmondohummus said...

I'm surprised at some of the reaction around the blogosphere to the decision. I agree with Neo: This is exactly the right decision, no more, no less. This isn't a wimp-out, or a weak-kneed punishment, as so many others are implying. Life imprisonment is truly a severe verdict. Prison may not be the rape-or-be-raped, Hobsian "Nasty, brutish, and short" type of life that some claim it to be, but it's far from being the resort experience others say it is. It's real punishment. He's someone else's object now, and he's truly an "object", a component of the prison system who's entire existence from here on out is completely defined within the context of being incarcerated. There's no chance to really live in the sense of being a human being in control of any aspect of your life, ever. There's no chance to ever be human again at all (although in this and other cases, any claim to humanity on the part of the imprisoned is suspect). There's only this great emptiness of an existence.

On top of all that, the court system is making a pretty profound statement: "We care enough about the severity of what you've been found guilty of that we're not going to merely execute you and get you out of the way so we can wash our hands of you and be done with it. We care enough to spend the money and resources to maintain your state of punishment for the 50, 60, 70 years you have left on earth, and put you in a state of near solitary confinement for the entire time" (according to CNN, the prison he's likely to go to is that harsh: 23 hours of confinement, 1 hour of "recreation").

To me, that's pretty damn harsh. We (the US) didn't take his life and leave him with death as punishment. We took his life and left him with mere existence. He has to live this emptiness now. To me, that's far more of an "ultimate" punishment that the death penalty ever could be.

In spite of the harshness of the sentence, quite a few people are acting as if it's the ultimate betrayal (Note: In Ann Althouse's and Roger L Simon's bloglinks above, I'm referring to commenters, not the blog hosts themselves). I hardly view this as a light punishment, but some of what I perceive to be the attitude behind those thoughts are worrying me. I'm all for Moussaoui getting the punishment he deserves, but aren't folks generating way too much heat in their opinion of what he should've gotten? Moussaoui was a tool, a minor cog in a much larger problem. Some seem to be elevating him to be the recipient of all the anger and pathos that the 9/11 attacks generated, and to be blunt, there are better targets for such. Bin Laden comes to mind. So does the organization he founded. I worry about expending so much emotion over this mere cog in the larger machine of Islamic terrorism that we get fatigued and don't reserve the energy necessary to vigorously act towards bigger goals: Fighting other terrorists, "draining the swamp" by helping to create free, democratic societies in Iraq and Afghanistan, helping other societies (such as the Philippines, to name just one) overcome or where necessary openly fight and defeat the nihilistic, hateful ideologies that spawn terrorists.

Given the bigger picture, is it really constructive for some to spend so much passion on his sentence?

 
At 12:55 PM, May 04, 2006, Blogger snowonpine said...

In my one misguided year in law school my Criminal Law professor taught me that there have been several reasons historically to put criminals in jail--vengeance/ punishment and to take them off the streets, as an example meant to discourage others or reform. Unfortunately, keeping someone in prison costs a lot per year, in the $10 to $25 thousand range per inmate, depending. Looks like the jury bought his lawyer's Officer Krupke song ("...I'm depraved because I'm deprived...") and went for punishement and keeping him off the streets. According to the news, Moussaoui is going to serve his life sentence in the Federal Supermax prison in Colorado where he will be kept isolated in an 12X8 cell 23 hours each day with one hour outside for exercise but no contact with the other prisoners--no frills at all. Still, this will cost taxpayers about $75 thousand per.

I don't see wasting money that could, say, help a child get a life saving operation, or pay for a major piece of medical diagnostic equipment that would benefit many people over many years, or feed a lot of hungry people, on him. His statements condemn him, he'd obviously like to kill as many of us as possible if he could and if he could have been on one of those planes he would have, so, I say, let's return the favor. In addition, Moussaoui alive is a rallying point and a potential source of trouble within this prison. Making an example of him by condemning him to death would have sent a clear message that we will will not put up with this crap and that terrorism has a steep price for the terrorist. Imprisonment, to me, says, "gee, we didn't have the guts to condemn him to death and his mommy loves him and he had a rough childhood so, lets just put him in jail."

Of course, if he had been given the death penalty, the appeals process would have dragged on for decades anyway. As my "Legal Ethics" professor said, "We're not teaching morality here, we're teaching law."

 
At 1:06 PM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moussaoui wanted nothing more than to become a martyr. He was deprived that chance when al Qaeda's leadership apparently decided he was too nutty to be on one of the teams. He sought his chance again by trying to provoke the courts into turning him into a martyr by executing him. Keeping him in prison denies him what he was trying to do to us: be his dupes.

 
At 1:51 PM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

Zacharias Moussaoui, Miss Peggy the Swine and the Neocons’ Pound of Flesh

The jury rejected the government's case to have Moussaoui executed, deciding instead he should spend life in prison.

And rightwing bloggers and pundits are greatly offended by the court’s alleged leniency: the Neocons and their “conservative” friends feel cheated of the proverbial “pound of flesh” President Bush had promised to give them.

“The death penalty has a meaning, and it isn’t vengeance” writes Peggy Noonan in the columns of the pro-Israeli Wall Street Journal:

“Excuse me, I’m sorry, and I beg your pardon, but the jury’s decision on Moussaoui gives me a very bad feeling. What we witnessed here was not the higher compassion but a dizzy failure of nerve. […]

How removed from our base passions we’ve become. Or hope to seem.

It is as if we’ve become sophisticated beyond our intelligence, savvy beyond wisdom. Some might say we are showing a great and careful generosity, as befits a great nation. But maybe we’re just, or also, rolling in our high-mindedness like a puppy in the grass. Maybe we are losing some crude old grit. Maybe it’s not good we lose it”


Hmm… Peggy the swine and her Neocon Kermit friends will always like a little bestiality…

And their “deer” enemy Zach Moose was the perfect scapegoat: I mean the animal is both French AND Mohammedan- too bad he isn’t also black, gay and communist!

How an inoffensive (except maybe for himself) unstable fool eager to get his proverbial 5 minutes of glory through the grandiloquent use of outlandish statements and other “jihadist verbiage” can attract the attention of so many “conservative” minds shows the extent to which conservatism, once the ideological home of our nation’s virile and rational minds, has become of sub-ideology of sensationalist pussies and other Neocon carpetbaggers…

I’ve always wondered how so many sane citizen were easily fooled into believing that a half-demented Moroccan prole from the eastern suburbs of Paris was indeed a “global terrorist mastermind” ready to play kamikaze with the WTC.

But then again, millions of our fellow Americans were brainwashed into believing that Saddam Hussein, by far the Arab world’s most secular and Westernized politician, was kind of a later days bloodthirsty Saracen on the verge of conquering the infidel pastures of Wyoming!

 
At 3:35 PM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous Dave said...

It is a pity no one reads the old Br'er Rabbit tales anymore. If that wasn't a masterful use of the Brier Rabbit defense (but whatever you do Mr. Fox, please, please don't throw me in that brier patch,} I have never seen one.

One the one side are those who say "Death is too easy; we need to make him suffer." On the other side are those who declare "We are too civilized to ever exact the ultimate penalty." What both sides forget is that where there is life, there is hope, and where there is life, there is also risk; risk to guards, risk to fellow prisoners, risk to the innocent civilians who will be captured by terrorists as ransom for his release.

 
At 3:35 PM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

Vic!?!?! You back again? Long time no see, vato! And just when I thought the world was beginning look sane again...

Listen, I know ZM was just a pathetic little nut case, but he got himself mixed up in some pretty serious shit and he's really lucky we didn't take him out back and shoot him through his pointy little head. Or hack it off for him, maybe make a video to send to his folks - you know, just to make him feel at home.

Anyway, Vic, it's good to know you're still on the job somewhere out there. Keep fighting the good fight, buddy. We're all rooting for you.

 
At 4:24 PM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

the Neocons and their “conservative” friends feel cheated of the proverbial “pound of flesh” President Bush had promised to give them.

Did anyone else get the joke?

The Neo-Cons, hehe.

These people are ridiculous, in more ways than one.

The jury has already said that no one on their team believed that killing Moussie would give him a martyr's death, and make him an inspiration to Al Qaeda. people who argue that the sentencing was based upon Moussie's strategy, are in their own reality, not the current one.

But then again, millions of our fellow Americans were brainwashed into believing that Saddam Hussein, by far the Arab world’s most secular and Westernized politician, was kind of a later days bloodthirsty Saracen on the verge of conquering the infidel pastures of Wyoming!

Taken independently, the above looks like satire. But, Vic's been doing this for awhile... so he has to be serious. As amazing as that is, of course, he is serious.

risk to the innocent civilians who will be captured by terrorists as ransom for his release.

That's the first thought that came to my head when they were talking about death or life for Moussie. And It's the argument I made to Bookworm as well.

There's a lot of logical inconsistencies going on here. For example. If the jury did not believe Moussie knew enough about 9/11 to have prevented it, therefore Moussie was not guilty of causing the deaths on 9/11, then what was he sentenced to life in prison for exactly? Just being part of a conspiracy and not doing anything? "Attempted murder"? But it isn't even attempted murder, is it. So it's not apparent why Moussie is guilty enough for life but not guilty enough for death, as the Jury argued. I'm not talking about pundit heads. The jury did not give him death, because not everyone agreed Moussie was actually responsible for the deaths on 9/11. So how exactly are they going to feel good about putting a man in prison for not doing anything that caused anyone's death? I don't tend to think just a "conspiracy" charge would lead you to life in prison, unless the mob laws are even tougher than I believe.

I can never root for Vic, because I harbor the suspicion that the moment I do, he is going to say "Aha, I fooled you, I never really believed anything of what I said".

Back to Moussie logic. Some say life is worse than death, therefore this is just. But, given that terroists tend to kill a lot of people (israel latest bomb, Iraq prison break killed guards, etc) because they want their "prisoners released" (Jill Caroll, although women prisoners wasn't important enough for death, so it doesn't apply), how exactly is it "just" to put more people in harm's way just so you can fullfill your bloodlust?

Some say death is not humane, and that life is better (France, Human Rights Watch), but as Vari frankly said, life imprisonment of the variety Moussie will be part of, is not very humane at all. It is cowardly, and on that basis, I suppose that is "humane" as it is part of the human condition. But that is it. I channel Neo's older point about having clean hands. It's the fear of getting your hands dirty that make people think life imprisonment is good and DP is "bad" "horrible" "I don't want to sanction state killing, but I like abortion cause I get to choose".

There's a weird dichotomy. People don't want to sanction state killing, but the reason they have for it, is because they "don't get to decide". Regardless of the fact that it is the juries, common citizens that sentence people to death and not the "state", this does not seem to faze the people who dislike the DP because it is the state choosing and not "them". I suppose common lynchings were okay cause the citizens got to do the executions, and it was not state sponsored...

A honorable person will do his duty and kill his dog himself, when he realizes that the dog can't be cured of his painful existence. Why? Cause he loves the dog, and has enough love to tough it out. Human Rights Watch and what not, they don't care about Moussie. They got far more important and pristine things like "rights" to care about than a lowly human being.

People who favor life but dislike death, do not give a damn about the guilty or what he shall suffer. The only thing they care about is their own life, and what would happen if they were in the same situation. Selfish, yes, but human given the strong self-survival matrix in our genes.

This is true whether a person favors life cause it is more cruel than death for Moussie, or if a person favors life cause it is to them more "just" than death. The motivations don't really matter, because the behavior is exactly the same, down to the consequences and state of emotions.

Based upon justice, which I define as people getting what they deserve, neither less nor more than what they deserve, Moussie is far worse than Scott Peterson. Yet Peterson got death, and Moussie got life. I personally would not put to death (meaning 6 weeks after sentencing, when I mean death I mean instant execution more or less, not Californian death which is 25 years in life plus death) someone who murdered his wife and children, cause socio-paths are unlike terroists. Terroists have buddies, they have resources, they got power, extra-national power. You keep them alive and it's just going to be like a Hollywood movie. Someday, sometime, they're going to get free, and they're going to pay you back a thousand fold for what you did to them.

And this time, the Tom Cruise hero is not going to get an instantaneous draw of the gun with his back turned to the foe, and get a fatality shot. Hollywood fantasy is always a good lesson I tend to think, on what not to do.

 
At 5:01 PM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

Dave,

You may be right about the guards, other prisoners, etc., but I'm not sure anybody takes Zach seriously enough anymore to try exchanging him for a hostage.

Well, maybe his mom...

 
At 5:51 PM, May 04, 2006, Blogger camojack said...

Just put him in with the general population. He'd get his death wish soon enough...

 
At 6:06 PM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

The judge said it best (paraphrase): you won't die a glorious martyr, you will die with a wimper.
To Vic the Nut Case (watch out for the squirrels strange one):

"And their “deer” enemy Zach Moose was the perfect scapegoat: I mean the animal is both French AND Mohammedan- too bad he isn’t also black, gay and communist!"

In one sentence you can encapsulate five separate absurd prejudices of the Left; good going boy!!!!!

 
At 6:21 PM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

SB, they don't actually want Moussie in a hostage exchange, because it's just a pretext. It's propaganda, meaning, it is for show. It's not meant to "work".

It demoralizes us because we pay the price for feeding Moussie, we pay the price to hear his name again, and we pay the price in lives.

Demoralization campaigns is what the terroists specialize in after all. They would have to be stupid not to make use of Moussie when Moussie's use on 9/11 did not pay dividends.

 
At 7:20 PM, May 04, 2006, Blogger snowonpine said...

One thing you can say about the death penalty, he wouldn't be coming back again. Some would say that would make him a martyr. I say, so what, Muslims have hundreds of martyrs, so I really don't think it would make any difference.

 
At 8:20 PM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous Trimegistus said...

In this case, I think life is the most perfect sadistic punishment possible. And not because of any prison-rape fantasies -- you can be sure ZM's health and safety will get nearly Presidential-level protection.

No, it's sadistic precisely because he will live for sixty -- eighty? -- years surrounded by pale green cinderblock walls, watching TV, and knowing, every moment of that endless life, that he is a wretched failure. He will watch the men he believed in turn corrupt and betray their followers, he will watch the jihad burn itself out in failure, he will watch infidels living happily and in ever-increasing levels of wealth and prosperity.

He will watch infidel women on the television showing off their bodies and he will know he will never touch a woman again.

He will listen to the fluorescent tubes humming. Hour after hour. Decade after decade.

And eventually the infidels will let him go because they feel sorry for him and aren't afraid of him or his cause any more.

No sadist could invent a worse punishment.

 
At 9:00 PM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

Yam: Good point, hadn't thought of that. Guess we'll have to wait and see...

Tri: Very sadistic. Only thing worse would be bacon for breakfast, ham sandwiches for lunch, and pork chops for dinner. And no little arrow pointed toward Mecca.

But actually, the guy is so pathetic I'm not sure the sadism is appropriate. Mustn't dump all our revenge fantasies on one little guy. Save 'em up for Bin Laden - assuming he's still polluting the planet.

 
At 11:17 PM, May 04, 2006, Blogger LHM said...

Sorry, but I disagree with the verdict on several grounds.

Firstly, it was a mistake to even try him in a civilian court.

Did people seem to forget that we are at war?

An American Expat in Southeast Asia

 
At 12:02 AM, May 05, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

I dont know, but that de la Vega guy seems hostile and angry. Some body should check him for a bomb.

 
At 1:11 AM, May 05, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achille_Lauro

The cruise that got hijacked by Palestinians is a pretty good example of why people should not hold terroists in jail for any extended period of time unless it is to extract useful information out of them.

It is also a good example of why letting other nations take care of terroists who killed your citizens, is a losing proposition in the long run. Nobody's your ally, America, and the sooner you recognize that, the less people will have to die.

The ship headed back towards Port Said, and after two days of negotiations the hijackers agreed to abandon the liner for safe conduct and were flown towards Tunisia aboard an Egyptian commercial airliner.

The plane was intercepted by United States Navy fighters on October 10 and directed to land at Naval Air Station Sigonella, a NATO base in Sicily, where the hijackers were arrested by the Italians after a disagreement between U.S. and Italian authorities. The other passengers on the plane (possibly including the hijackers' leader Abu Abbas) were allowed to continue on to their destination, despite protests by the United States. Egypt demanded, but did not receive, an apology from the United States for forcing the airplane off course.


If you killed those guys when you had fighters tagging their air craft, maybe you wouldn't have had to recapture them after 9/11.

It's also another example of how metrosexual the United States really was in a world with one superpower, that didn't know what it was supposed to do with that power. The US took great pains to not step on people's toes, like Italy's, to the extent of letting terroists who killed an American to be taken care of by the Italians.

If they were taken care of by Americans, they would still be jail, just maybe longer and no parole. A difference in scale, not in kind.

 
At 1:14 AM, May 05, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Correction, it is an example of how much pains the US will go to not to be known as the Superpower Bully when the Soviets were still around, and they were bullies. When the Soviets left, America kept acting as if the Soviets were still around, waiting to propagandize about American heavy handed tactics. In a way, the Soviets were still around, because their propaganda apparatus was still working.

 
At 2:40 AM, May 05, 2006, Anonymous Dr. Julio de la Cruz said...

Zacharias Moussaoui, Miss Annie the Owl and the Left’s Ounce of Proscuitto

The jury rejected the Left's case to have Moussaoui completely exonerated, deciding instead he should suffer to be interviewed by Amy Goodman.

And leftwing bloggers and pundits are greatly pleased by the court’s leniency: the Left and their “liberal” friends feel encouraged by the lack of torture as had been threatened by President Bush.

“An Amy Goodman interview has meaning, despite its complete lack of coherence or fact” writes Annie Morning in the columns of the anti-Israeli Wall Street Journal:

“Excuse me, I’m sorry, and I beg your pardon but the Democracy Not! interview of Moussaoui gave me a wonderful feeling. What we witnessed was classic truth to power.”

How removed from our base passions we’ve become. Or hope to seem.

It is as if we’ve become stupid beyond moronic, sappy beyond imagining. Some might say we are showing a isolationist tendency, as befits an apologetic nation. But maybe we’re just, or also, rolling in our smugness like a puppy in doodoo. Just maybe we are gaining the strong stench of arrogance. Maybe it’s not good we lose it”


Hmm… Annie the Owl and her lefty friends will always like a little bestiality…

And our “deer” friend ;-) Zach Moose was the perfect idol: I mean the animal is both French AND Mohammedan- too bad he isn’t also black, gay and communist!

How an inoffensive (except maybe for himself) unstable fool eager to get his proverbial 5 minutes of glory through the grandiloquent use of outlandish statements and other “jihadist verbiage” can attract the attention of so many “liberal” minds shows the extent to which liberalism, once the ideological home of our nation’s virile and rational minds, has become of sub-ideology of sensationalist pussies and other Administration-baggers…

I’ve never wondered how so many insane foreigners were reluctantly convinced that a half-demented Yemeni elite presently hiding in the mountains of Pakistan was indeed a “global terrorist mastermind” ready to play kamikaze with the WTC.

But then again, millions of our fellow Americans were brainwashed into believing that Saddam Hussein, by far the nicest guy that ever gassed a Kurd as kind of a latter-day bloodthirsty Saracen on the verge of conquering the infidel pastures of Wyoming!

 
At 8:17 AM, May 05, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

Why No One Should Trust Yammer, Part 957 in a Continuing Series

Yammer wants to use the Achille Lauro Affair as evidence as to why the US should or should not do certain things. He believes that if we had acted less "metrosexually" (read: fagishly), then we wouldn't be having problems fighting terrorists today.

"If you killed those guys when you had fighters tagging their air craft, maybe you wouldn't have had to recapture them after 9/11."

We didn't shoot down the plane because it was carrying the Egyptian diplomats who negotiated the release of the hostages. It's usually a good idea not to shoot down the diplomats of another country, especially ones who just won the release of your citizens taken hostage.

"The hijackers were arrested by the Italians after a disagreement between U.S. and Italian authorities."

This disagreement wasn't something like "the Italians love terrorists and want to set them free." It was something like this: the Achille Lauro was an Italian ship. Once the terrorists had landed on Italian soil, the local magistrates moved to arrest the terrorists. They did this because a) they had commited crimes on Italian national territory, and b) because of a), the local magistrates were legally bound to arrest them. They have no legal discretion - if they hadn't, they would have been arrested themselves.

The "disagreement" with Italy was a standoff between Italian paramilitary forces and US Delta troops. The "disagreement" almost led to war between Italy and the US. Showing restraint in this situation is not a sign of "metrosexuality," but rather a sign of professionalism and maturity on the part of the officials who were running the show.

Poindexter and Oliver North, the two who picked the air base in Sicily, wanted to make all the decisions for themselves. If they had included someone who, say, knew something about the situation (such as the members of the Terrorism Working Group from State or Justice) and could have told them that as soon as the terrorists landed, the Italians would be obligated to arrest them immediately.

The Achille Lauro affair, if anything, is a lesson on why you should always seek input from people who know what they're talking about, and that there are real dangers from assuming that you know everything. It was groupthink on the part of Poindexter and North that got us into that situation with the Italians, not a lack of "heterosexuality" or "toughness" or "ruthlessness" or "whatever Yammer thinks is the better side of the metrosexuality coin."

"If you killed those guys when you had fighters tagging their air craft, maybe you wouldn't have had to recapture them after 9/11."

We're not trying to recapture them. Palestinian terrorism hasn't been a direct threat to US interests in a while. We have bigger fish to fry these days than the PLF.

This is what happens when you draw conclusions based on information skimmed from the surface: they usually turn out wrong. Lots of mistakes were made during the Achille Lauro affair - none of them involved being weak, ineffectual, effeminate "metrosexuals," as Yammer seems to believe.

Sorry Yammer, try again.

 
At 8:57 AM, May 05, 2006, Anonymous armchair pessimist said...

We apply the death penalty so sheepishly,it loses all its savour. And that's only after going through full decades of lawyer b/s. Either do it fast, grandly and publically, or don't bother. Life's better when the law holds the monopoly on what you might call violent street theatre.

So if I can't see the little turd strung up at Ground Zero, this is the next best thing. Hopefully the guards will help him pray to Mecca with a good golf club. Fore!

 
At 9:04 AM, May 05, 2006, Blogger Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

Dear Dr. Julio de la Cruz y Cucaracha,

This a parody of a parody of (in)justice!
And a subversively witty one for that matter
; )

As for Yammer’s logic, it’s similar in many ways to Dick Cheney’s brand of rationalism: Saudi and Yemeni agents (probably with the tacit support of our Israeli “allies”) destroyed the WTC…therefore we must nuke Baghdad and Paris!

 
At 11:45 AM, May 05, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

Say, Vic...you will let the rest of us know when those missiles start flying, won't you? Unless they already did and I just never heard about it because I only watch Fox News.

 
At 12:11 PM, May 05, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

See, these people can't even spell Y M A R, four simple letters. They see one guy spelling it one way, and they go with the pack. It's all a part of the pack baby.

 
At 12:15 PM, May 05, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

(such as the members of the Terrorism Working Group from State or Justice)

Preach it baby, Power to the State, Glory to the Race! come on come on, say it with me. Power to the State, Glorieee to the Rarce.

I notice that my word count is lower than people who accuse me of yammering and saying things they don't agree because whatever disagrees with them is false.

 
At 12:55 PM, May 05, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

Aww, poor baby. People are making fun of your made-up name! That's terrible. So sad. So sad. Sometimes, people call me "Spanks," instead of "Spanky," and that makes me sad too. Even though I intentionally chose an absurd, rediculous name to highlight the rediculous, absurd conventions behind picking names for these things and, basically, the entire concept of blogs and blog commenting, but that's a story for another day. It's "Spanky," folks. Six letters. Is that so hard to get right?

"State" is shorthand for "The Department of State." "Justice" is shorthand for "The Department of Justice."

Next time, I'll spell them out for you, Yemrastkrar.

 
At 2:25 PM, May 05, 2006, Anonymous TalkinKamel said...

Ymarsakar

I agree. Achille Lauro should have taught us a lesson as to how to deal with these guys.

 
At 2:39 PM, May 05, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I've tried to find a way to make fun of Spank's name, so that SB's Children picture is perfect, but I just can't. I mean, it don't get no better than "Spank". Besides Spank puts a lot of suffixes on his name, so I don't need to.

Talkin, ja the politicians don't care when one person dies, but suddenly it is like armagheddon when 3,000 die, and it's blue ribbon committe, and it's Congressional Investigation, and it is "Intelligence and Alliance failures". What a bunch of BS, it's not like they really cared, they only start doing stuff if they fear being kicked out of office.

I have got to check up on the ministry of justice someday. I hear they got good torture techniques ripped directly from the Cthulu world. So Cooll.

Next time, I'll spell them out for you, Yemrastkrar.

Hey, no kidding! I powered up on a Yemrastkrar one time, and it was a biss of a boss fight.

 
At 6:12 PM, May 05, 2006, Anonymous TalkinKamel said...

Ymarsakar

Oh yes, as one who'se had many encounters with government agencies, I've had all too ample experience of the we're-not-really-doing-anything-but-we-want-it-to-look-as-if-we-are con game, wherein bureaucrats whirl like dancing dervishes, trying to fool you into thinking they're actually accomplishing something.

Leon Klinghoffer, an American citizen, was murdered, and our government let his killers get away with it.

As I recall, on most MSM outlets the big controversy at the time wasn't WHEN ARE WE GOING TO GET THE PLO FOR THIS, or even sympathy for the Klingerhoffers but OH, MERCY, WAS THAT NICE MR. ARAFAT INVOLVED? It was Arafat's reputation that was important, you see, not Klinghoffer's murder. They murdered an American citizen in a wheelchair? Oooh, they most be so upset about Israel!

All the MSM outlets that is, except one---NPR, which, as I recall, chose that day, when the eyes of the world were on the Achille Lauro, to run a story about an American Indian Shaman bawling out his extra-special nature chants.

They weren't about to report anything negative about their beloved PLO. It was the one note of (admittedly black) humor in an otherwise sorry day.

 
At 7:22 PM, May 05, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

Headline from October 8, 1985 New York Times:

"SHIP CARRYING 400 SEIZED; HIJACKERS DEMAND RELEASE OF 50 PALESTINIANS IN ISRAEL"

October 9:

"HIJACKERS OF SHIP VOW AGAIN TO KILL 400 HELD HOSTAGE"

October 10:

"HIJACKERS YIELD SHIP IN EGYPT; PASSENGER SLAIN, 400 ARE SAFE; U.S. ASSAILS DEAL WITH CAPTORS"

October 11:

"HOSTAGE'S DEATH: 'A SHOT TO FOREHEAD'"

October 12:

"4 HIJACKERS CHARGED BY ITALY WITH MURDER AND KIDNAPPING; 2 P.L.O. OFFICERS TAKEN TO ROME"

Damn that liberal media for reporting that hijackers murdered hostages!

Damn that internet for allowing us to casually check Kamel's vauge assertions!

 
At 9:17 PM, May 05, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Spank had to check google? Why didn't Spank remember anything from that time? Could it be Spank was paying attention?

You tell me.

One of the things I notice is that the "mental magic" or "psychological state" of a people in any specific space-time coordinate is totally independent of what you can find in records. The only thing of use is memories, and those can be wrong and distorted, but it's better than hindsight concerning the accuracy of psychological conditions.

I can imagine what went on in Korea and WWI and WWII, and some people describe it for me what it felt like, but I will never know because I will never have experienced the Full Total Immersion of that time and space.

Talkin is not vague at all, vagueness comes from hindsight, not memory. Memory is as sharp as the katana that sliced open your belly Spank. I'm upgrading my Diamond Edged katana just for you Spank ;)

 
At 9:34 PM, May 05, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

This is how it works:

Kamel makes a vague, general statement about facts that can easily be checked.

Spanky offers proof that Kame's vague generalization is wrong.

Yammer criticizes Spanky for...using facts.

And then talks about killing Spanky.

You have issues, tiny little man.

 
At 1:34 PM, May 06, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I think you can live a long time with your belly sliced open. I think it's one of the advantages to disemboweling as an execution technique, personally.

Besides, I'm sure I'll give Spank one of those healing potions he keeps telling me that I owe him.

Spank's facts are not what they seem. All such facts are independent of conclusions, I just stated that there more than one conclusion from a set of facts. Any analyst would do the same, if they were honest.

 
At 1:35 PM, May 06, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Given how Spank ridicules me for playing games and what not, it does not seem logical for him to take a threat to his life seriously, given that he takes nothing else I say seriously. I suppose when it benefits Spank's arguments, everything is serious, but when it disagrees with Spank's arguments, then his opponent is a fantasy gamer who should be derided for drawing conclusions that SPank doesn't like.

Not very surprising, but it is very drool.

 
At 2:35 PM, May 07, 2006, Blogger blert said...

By using hairball logic the jury did get to the better sentence.

A death sentence would have kept 'it' in the news and generated plenty of Supreme Court appeals -- if only for the politics.

'it' is set to fade to nill.

The cost of the cell is trivial compared to the cost of the inevitable appeals to the Supreme Court and all of the other court procedures. We're saving money.

There is no proper death penalty in this country, anyway. The objectors have succeeded in imposing so much delay that it's easier to fire a federal employee.

'it' will never be exchanged -- a franchise player 'it' is.

There will always be someone in prison for terrorists to gain hostages against. 'it' neither adds or subtracts from this reality.

The cell is as close to a tomb as the courts will permit. It's a sterile concrete and steel man-crib with zero ammenties. It's not at all like any prison cell you've ever seen.

It's not living -- you're vegetation.

 
At 3:01 PM, May 07, 2006, Blogger blert said...

By using hairball logic the jury did get to the better sentence.

A death sentence would have kept 'it' in the news and generated plenty of Supreme Court appeals -- if only for the politics.

'it' is set to fade to nil.

The cost of the cell is trivial compared to the cost of the inevitable appeals to the Supreme Court and all of the other court procedures. We're saving money.

There is no proper death penalty in this country, anyway. The objectors have succeeded in imposing so much delay that it's easier to fire a federal employee.

'it' will never be exchanged -- a franchise player 'it' is.

There will always be someone in prison for terrorists to gain hostages against. 'it' neither adds or subtracts from this reality.

The cell is as close to a tomb as the courts will permit. It's a sterile concrete and steel man-crib with zero amenities. It's not at all like any prison cell you've ever seen.

BTW, it’s about as quiet as a monastery: no talking, no tapping – even the plumbing is disjointed and dampened.

It's not living -- you're vegetation.

 
At 4:53 PM, May 07, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I like Oklahoma's system. McVeigh was executed about one year after his sentencing. Nice.

 
At 4:54 PM, May 07, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

There is no proper death penalty in this country, anyway. The objectors have succeeded in imposing so much delay that it's easier to fire a federal employee.

One of their goals for doing that, is to make it too difficult and disadvantages for you to impose the death penalty. So they basically get you to do what they want, by making you do what you think you want. Manipulation is like that.

 
At 12:53 AM, May 10, 2006, Blogger douglas said...

Kamel specified "that day" meaning tv news. You showed us news headlines- apples/oranges.

I liked the idea of him being sentenced to death, then having to wait 25 years for it. Never felt like that before...

 
At 10:49 AM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

California's death penalty really is LIFE for 25 years, then death. That's about it.

Cruel and unusual indeed.

 

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