Peace through victory - the American way.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Moussaoui Verdict: It's Up To The Inmates Now.

The federal jury weighing the fate of Zacarias Moussaoui today decided not to execute the Al Qaida terrorist but to send him to prison for life without parole. (Here.) I will not take this occasion to criticize or praise the jury's decision. As a lawyer who does criminal appeals, I know that jury decisions can't reasonably be judged by those who did not hear the evidence or the instructions on the law given in the trial.

Moussaoui and his fellow jihadists consider themselves to be soldiers fighting a war against the United States. The mistake we make is in treating any of them as ordinary criminals subject to criminal prosecution rather than as warriors to be killed or as war criminals to be prosecuted in military court.

It's too late for the United States to backtrack on its decision to try Moussauoi as an ordinary criminal. So Moussaoui will go to federal prison for the rest of his life, however long or short that might be. He'll be serving his time alongside Americans. Perhaps one of them will do what America couldn't bring itself to do and deal with Moussauoi as the enemy soldier he considers himself to be.


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