Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Zacarias Moussaoui Shall Live

As much as I know that this will send the conservative wing of this country into a firebreathing tizzy, it's actually a good thing for several reasons.

First, for my own part, I am staunchly opposed to the death penalty for any reason. The power to murder anyone is not a power any government should have. That we make war with practical impugnity in the United States is abhorrent enough. The death penalty is not justice; it's vengeance. If the United States is truly a Christian nation with Christian values, then surely it must remember to Whom vengeance belongs.

Second, the death of Moussaoui at the hands of the United States would have likely made a third-rate failure of a terrorist thug into a shining martyr for the cause of anti-Western extremism. For those who followed the trial, as I did, it's impossible to escape the conclusion that Moussaoui is more the product of Bush administration terror propaganda than any devious plot by Al-Qaida. He's clearly incompetent and a little deranged, and was completely disavowed by Al-Qaida leadership. As the oft-repeated refrain in the trial has gone so goes the truth: Zacarias Moussaoui was a small fish; a propaganda tool for Bush's "War on Terror".

Finally, there is something fundamentally wrong about the Bush administration's attempts to hang all of the horror of 9/11/01 around the neck of this one incompetent nutjob. I see it as an attempt by Bush to abdicate any responsibility for his incompetent response to the attacks by Al-Qaida, as well as a distraction from the disastrous war in Iraq.

The tragedy of 9/11 cannot and should not be encapsulated in this one man, lest too many Americans be given the false impression that a personal vendetta was waged for no purpose but the deranged musings of a would-be terrorist. The roots of 9/11 are deep and wide, spanning decades of U.S. foreign policy and political intervention in Middle Eastern nations. To assign away the causes of the tragedy to this one man takes the teeth out of the lessons that, hopefully, have been learned by our future leaders. Certainly the Bush administration learned nothing but that national tragedy can be exploited for political gain, a lesson any quick read of history could have taught.

I sincerely hope that Zacarias Moussaoui lives to a ripe, old age, alone and forgotten except as a footnote to the worst terrorist disaster in American history and as a symbol of the ideological nonsense that is the "War on Terror".

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