May 5, 2006

Friday morning roundup

As everyone knows, I am sure, Zacarias Moussaoui received a life sentence instead of the death penalty. I was shocked at this verdict, since I assumed that the jury would jump at the chance to execute someone who wanted to take credit for part of 9-11. America, at times, seems to have a real bloodlust, and seems to enjoy capital punishment. But at least three jurors proved me wrong, and I think this verdict is a victory for our American way of life. As this columnist suggested:

The U.S. won the more important victory. Jurors showed that,
in a civilized nation where law reigns over savagery, the
government must prove to 12 people that, beyond a reasonable
doubt, the accused should die.
They demonstrated that citizens will spend days sifting
through evidence and examining their consciences to reach the
right decision. They showed that the urge for vengeance doesn't
always trump a rational assessment of the evidence.

That is a good thing. I always thought that our response to Bin Laden and his thugs had to be that we valued our system and our laws and our moral values more than we hated them. Let's hope this is the start of a good conversation on what we stand for.


Later in that same piece, Woolner suggests that the government went after Moussaoui, not because they had the best case against him, but because the other suspects had been tortured and that would come out in a public trial.

When you think of the damage this administration has done to America, it boggles the mind. I am sure this isn't the first time that Americans tortured people and couldn't use it at trial. But it does appear to be the first time that an administration has tried to justify and allow torture.


One more thing on the death penalty. I am sure there are some lamenting that Moussaoui will live out his life in prison, and they probably think I am some kind of bleeding heart liberal who cares more for this idiot's life than I do for those who died in 9-11. They couldn't be more wrong. I just know that killing this idiot won't help. Not only that, but I also understand that America has forgotten a pretty ancient punishment, that in its own way, is far more powerful--shunning.

In this case, we had the choice between what Bush wanted which would have made Moussaoui a martyr and well-known throughout the terrorist world in a way that he probably never was or could have been as a terrorist, or we can have him languish in jail and push him out of our minds. We have the option and the choice to forget about him and not talk about him. And he will be aware of that. That is pretty strong punishment, if you ask me.


Evidently, even conservatives are starting to dislike Bush. Well, at least 45 percent of them. But that is certainly not good news for the man.
Just 33 percent of the public approves of Bush's job performance, the lowest of his presidency. That compares with 36 percent approval in early April. Forty-five percent of self-described conservatives now disapprove of the president.

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