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03 May 2006


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"It is my only liberal position." - PL

Liberalism is such a maligned word here in the US now. Liberalism in the classical sense is what I understood to stand for principles of individual liberty and what represented the ideals of our constitution and the founding of our country.

Its interesting that in contemporary America, conservatives who carry the mantle of limited government now run a government with rampant growth in government spending relative to GDP, exploding fiscal deficits and parabolic debt, government interference in personal choices of life and death and erosion of protections of individual liberties and privacy from intrusion by the state.


I can't get excited about it one way or the other.

I think the jury probably made the right decision, based upon the accounts I read.

I imagine everyone, including the baddies, will forget about M and the shoe-man over time.


I'm more liberal that conservative but had it been KSM and others in a public trial I think the death penalty could have been proper. Now you have a failed terrorist being turned into a symbol. In this case it seems more like convicting a capone foot soldier for the crimes of capone.

Why if we have the planners of 9/11 in custody can they not be prosecuted? Or how about the financiers of both al quaida and 9/11?


I'm not so worried about his proselytizing - he'll likely be isolated from the general populace or dead within it. Your last reason is a sticky one... I'm against the death penalty myself, though not for religious reasons. However, I'm guessing anyone bent on taking hostages - to which I assume you are referring - has a plethora of causes to justify their crimes. Hell, if we're going to use the death penalty on every person we have imprisoned, right or wrong mind you, as a terrorism prophylactic, we’ve got a lot of killing to do. As yours are personal reasons, it is your prerogative to qualify them as circumstances dictate in a bloggosphere exercise. Aside from all the theory, I agree with Eric – it seemed the jury made the right decision from the accounts I read…

Are religious scruples "liberal"? Don’t tell that to the religious right….


Peter Brownlee

What would Osama BL - or his Saudi brethren - do to this pathetic clown Moussaoui?

Just another head in the sand?

So doing something else may not be a bad place to start.

Surely executing Moussaoui would have made him far more of a rallying point for low-grade jihadists.

The senior grades surely don't need or want people like Moussaoui - except symbolically.

Jerry T

I think it was exactly right. He wanted martyrdom; now he gets to spend his life frustrated. The last thing we need from this event is to create a martyr. Last, I expect this verdict will be read as "justice" and "mercy" in the region, not "weakness" and not "blind rage, anti-Muslim vengeance". we'll have to wait and see on the last. If so, it is a good thing.


My guess is a) His sermons will be heard by few b) His execution date would be more attractive than a breakout attempt, for terrorist actions.


Kill him you make a martyr, jail him he becomes a symbol. Either way they'll be selling T-Shirts with his unrepentant face on them in the souk; I suspect those would move faster if another inmate gets close enough to shiv him.



"Pssst.. Kacynzki, have you thought about what I said"?


And the focus of Jihadist operations?

I assume you mean as a celebrity figurhead for new recruits, and as someone whose incarceration means hostages will sooner or later forfeit their lives.

On that score, it seems to me if not this wretched dingbat, it would just be someone else. Such as (however many) real McCoys may be found in the lock-up at Gitmo, for example.

W. Patrick Lang


You need to know more about prisons AND Muslim zealots. A missionary's zeal will find it way to express itself among the prison population. Islamic zealotry has spread wide among minority prisoners.

As for the second point, WE made him a celebrity. pl

W. Patrick Lang


The "shiving" is the likely outcome. On balance I think he is more dangerous alive. pl


On the other hand, it seems like the jury simply couldn't see the justice in executing someone because he lied, especially someone who strikes me as crazier than Richard Reed.

Sure, it would be more convenient to execute him, but sometimes the right thing isn't convenient.

W. Patrick Lang


In this man's case the moral factors seem so balanced to me that I think practical considerations should govern. pl


My guess is he will fade away as has the "blind sheikh" who was a rallying point for awhile. Not sure how much proselytizing he can do from solitary confirnment and his one hour per day exercise, again solitary, I believe.

W. Patrick Lang


They will never keep him in solitary for life. He has access to the courts.

He may become the subject of an "exchange" some day, a furry faced Rudolf Abel. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Mr. Moussaoui has not committed a capital crime in the United States. He had intended to do so (conspiracy to commit murder.) As such, he does not deserve the Death Penalty, in my opinion.

On the other hand, he is clearly a threat to the United States. Therefore, locking him up for life could be considered an acceptable alternative.


Our government "failed to act" yet no one has been so much as reprimanded. Rather, the President was reelected and others in high places promoted to even higher positions. Moussaoui has mental problems; to what problems do we ascribe our leaders' gross failures in failing to act on all the information they had on the plot and in not recognizing the seriousness of the threat when told of it? Moussaoui's trial and conviction have not been a great day for America or for justice.


The current crop of jihadis don't seem too worried about getting back their captured brethren. If I were one of them, I'd be grabbing hostages for KSM, not for some wannabe loser like Moussaoui. That we haven't seen anything like that suggests that returning POWs is not a priority for this generation of terrorists.


It's an interesting question whether this gentleman is more dangerous alive than dead. I believe Marc Sageman noted that he had had an unusual degree of connectedness into the various jihadi nodes for someone of his level. A crazy potential liability shuttled between various groups, or someone very good at playing a role - I'd give a buck to know.


Dear Col. Lang,
Permission to speak freely, sir. I usually try not to harbor these type of feelings but opposed to a shank shiv, I wouldn't mind for Moussaoui to get in touch with his feminine side, prison style.

W. Patrick Lang


either way he is going to get it in the end. pl


Nice play on words, Pat...


JustPlainDave - I think I read somewhere that KSM thought Moussaoui might be useful due to his French citizenship and passport, but this kept running up against him being an idiot.

Daniel S

I too am against the death penalty (one of many liberal - and religious - positions I hold :) )However - beyond that I have issue with the trial in that it seems the essence of the government's position was that he should be given the death penalty for not incriminating himself...


Richard Reid is an interesting parallel. He actually tried to set off a shoe full of PETN and TATP on a airliner rather than simply being a fringe 9-11 conspirator like Moussaoui. Reid got off rather lightly 3 consecutive 20 year stretches.

Both men had unsettled, alienated, childhoods in urban Europe, both attended Finsbury Park mosque. Reid is an archetypal low watt loser, Moussaoui has a MA, both appear to be lose lipped flakes. I doubt Slab Murphy would have trusted them to watch his pigs let alone with an ounce of Semtex.

But they were good enough for AQ, that's the really scary part with the Kamikaze approach to terrorism, the bar is so low. Reid nearly killed a couple of hundred people on a budget of less than $20,000. A type like Moussaoui nose diving a Jumbo into the White House was very possible.

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