The Columbia Critic

A place to debate anything we want to. We'll talk Columbia campus issues. We'll talk up the homosexual problem. We'll talk China. And we'll talk without resorting to partisan rhetoric. We may be left. We may be right. But we aren't going to be quoting any party line. We're leading the discussion. But feel free to chime in. Hannity and Colmes this is not.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Why the Moussaoui verdict fits

Zacarias Moussaoui, the 9/11 plotter who was already in jail at the time of the World Trade Center attacks, was today sentenced by a federal jury to life in prison. The verdict they chose, when given the options of life in the clink or death by injection, is appropriate. While the government tried to manipulate the jury to obtain a death sentence, with pictures of men and women falling out of the flaming towers, the objective truth is that Moussaoui was a plotter, and nothing more. He wanted to kill those people, but he didn't. Today he claim he won, but he didn't. He'll rot in jail, as former Congressman Tim Roemer put it. He'll die slowly, under a sentence appropriate for HIS, not his compatriots, actions (or lack thereof).

William Buckley, Jr, the conservative stalwart, questioned the government's strategy a few weeks ago.
Buckley. Predicting a life sentence, he suggested that the government was setting itself up to look like it "lost" in the case the death penalty was not chosen. The avenging bloodlust of the prosecutors, Rudy G, and others who want Moussaoui to be a proxy for all the men on the plans is in fact detrimental to the government's image, the institution of the death penalty (leading to another high profile case where death penalty opponents could publicly question its use), and is also a misuse of the death penalty, which, for whatever reasons invoked, should punish only the most severe actions, not intentions.

Moussaoui lost, but so did the government by pushing hard for the death penalty. Luckily, the legal system got it right by recognizing that the emotions of 9/11 should not color the judgments of a man who was guilty of plotting, not doing.


  • At 4:40 PM, Blogger Wang said…

    I agree with you but look at it from a different angle. Why are those that were the executioners get a lighter sentence from those that sat back and planned it all? Look at it from an extreme example, do you seek the death penalty for Hitler, for Milosevic or do you give them life in prison and sentence their complacent foot soldiers to death.

    Which is the bigger punishment death or life in prison?


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