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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

04 May 2006

Killing Moussaoui?

The Wall Street Journal opines today: “Then there are the ‘mitigating factors’ that led the jury to reject death. According to news reports, three of the 12 jurors agreed that Moussaoui, of Moroccan ethnicity, ‘was subject to racism as a child’ in his native France. Nine jurors agreed that ‘Moussaoui's father had a violent temper and physically and emotionally abused his family.’ America is at war with a relentless enemy, which observes no rules of war and wantonly murders innocent civilians. Fretting over whether enemy agents had dysfunctional childhoods is no way to win that war.”

I find the Journal to be wrong on this one. Reasonable people may disagree on whether a criminal’s childhood should have any bearing on the decision meted out by a jury. But to think that killing Moussaoui, rather than sentencing him to life imprisonment, is a more appropriate way to fight the war on terror is a different story altogether. The “relentless enemy” that America is fighting will not be deterred by the death penalty; nor, I suspect, will it be emboldened by thinking that America is too “feeble” to kill a terrorist after trial. In the grand scheme of things, whether Moussaoui was executed soon or died in jail later will not make a huge difference in this war.

“Moussaoui loses,” Wall Street Journal, 4 May 06


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