Wednesday, May 03, 2006

What To Say?

Moussaoui gets life.

As to whether Moussaoui 'deserves' to die, absent such legalistic shennanigans, who knows? From the testimony I've seen, he seems more of a nutball loser who wants to be a martyr then he does a stone killer, but I'm not a juror. I'm ambivalent to a degree. Or at least I was before the prosecution cocked the case up - my opposition to the death penalty is on grounds of implementation rather than moral grounds. And while we have it, the process has to be pristine. Else the rule of law is as much of a joke as the President believes it is. Such blatant witness tampering should have taken the death penalty off the table, period.

Not to mention the ridiculousity of the appeals to emotion over reason involved in then sentancing phase. What the hell does Rudy Giulliani or the United 93 tape have to do with anything? There's a reason that courts don't allow the prosecution to give closing statements against a backdrop of photos of dead puppies - its inflammatory, and designed to short-circuit rather than aid the jurors in executing their proper function as arbiters of fact. Let me repeat that - arbiters of fact. Not morality, not revenge, not geo-political messaging. Fact.

Much like RIA, I find the blood-urge this verdict has aroused disturing. And it's only going to get worse once the usual suspects get involved the bring lather to mouths so-disposed. That said, a moral certitutde that overcomes facts and established legalities to mete out death to those 'deserving' sounds more like the other side than ours.

As to the argument that not killing him makes us look 'weak,' well, bullshit. First that's an infinitely expandable rationale. I mean, we might as well do our literal worst, as anything else could be perceived as weak. Second, it is not what makes us weak, it is what makes us better. (and not some half-baked exceptionalist codswallop about how it is more pure when we do it because our motives are good) to quote Bill Maher from a few years back:
Rule of law is better than autocracy and theocracy. Equality of the sexes - better. Protection of minorities - better. Free speech - better. Free elections - better.
The downside to rules is you have you follow them, even when you don't want to. Of course, that's the only thing that guarantees you're protection under those laws. Perhaps if people took a moment to reflect, they wouldn't be so quick to call for disregarding founding principles for a moment of revengance on what amounts to a single, insignificant and soon to be forgotten loon.

update: Scott Lemieux
A death penalty case requires a level of professionalism that the state manifestly failed to meet here
and the Talking Dog
And we needn't agonize for years more while a death sentence would have kicked around appellate courts. This chapter is over. And Mr. Moussaoui can spend the rest of his life in prison, alone with his hate, and his madness.
Sum it up well.


Ó Seasnáin said...

I agree that there is no real point in pushing the matter of killing this guy. He probably wants to be a martyr for the cause - so why would we give that to him? that could only escalate things. I'd much prefer to think that he's in a cell with some "bubba" bunk mate who will really teach him the ropes. AND, if he goes in front of an appeal board he has to admit he is WRONG to get out. That would be sweet for that movement of his.

Mr Furious said...

Great post, Pooh. I also object to the DP on the basis of implementation, and once I knew the gov't was greasing things I really thought it was bullshit that he was still eligible.

I also thought the flight tapes were BS as well. In fact, I'd say the fact that he didn't even participate in the actual mission, and was really merely an accessory should have taken the DP off the table.

Whatever. I must hate America.

Ahistoricality said...

Yeah. Of course, the very theory of the death penalty charges in the case hinges on a violation of the right against self-incrimination (I don't know why that argument hasn't been discussed more openly), and the prosecution's presentation was dramatic rather than convincing.... in a just world, the prosecutors would face sanction for misconduct and tastelessness.