“America, You Lost!”

A Federal jury recommended a life sentence for Zacarias Moussaoui today. On the way out of the courtroom – as the spotlight began to move off of him – Moussaoui is reported to have said “America, You Lost!” Which immediately made me think of him as a combination of Nelson Muntz and Dr. Evil. Zacarias can learn about these wonderful products of our culture over the remaining span of his natural life, which he will no doubt spend pretty much alone in a supermax prison.

Commentators at National Review’s the Corner, on the other hand, apparently don’t see things the same way. John Podhoretz contributed the following gem:

“There is only one justifiable reason for a juror to make this choice. That juror has to believe the death penalty is wrong under any and all circumstances. To imagine that there can be any mitigating circumstance regarding Moussaoui’s actual guilt is moral idiocy of the highest order.

Alas, that moral idiocy was clearly at work in the jury deliberations.”

I’ve got to wonder why Podhoretz thinks we should bother going through the motions of a penalty trial at all?

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7 Responses

  1. Bruce says:

    I’ve got to wonder why we should bother going through the motions of reading “The Corner.”

    Podhoretz seems to have missed that the guilt phase is over. This was the penalty phase. The question wasn’t whether there was a “mitigating circumstance regarding Moussaoui’s actual guilt” (a/k/a reasonable doubt?), it was whether he deserved the death penalty for the crime he was found guilty of.

  2. John Armstrong says:

    Three moral idiots out of the jury. Didn’t the prosecutors have some sort of influence on jury selection? What sort of idiot is it who allows a moral idiot onto a jury? </sarcasm>

  3. Simon says:

    Perhaps Podhoretz simply doesn’t think it’s a justifiable reason for a juror to make this choice because they think that instead of getting a quick way out by a nice cosy lethal injection, Moussaoui should instead endure the rough justice that I imagine will be meted out out to him by the prison population daily for the rest of his life, while guards turn an appreciatively blind eye to the prisoners’ activities. I think it is naive for anyone to think that Moussaoui has gotten off easily.

    Or perhaps, more charitably, the jury didn’t feel like making a martyr out of him? Such sentimentality, I think, is misplaced, but it might be understandable.

  4. David S. Cohen says:

    I actually thought the jurors sounded quite intelligent in their parsing of the mitigating factors.

  5. Paul Gowder says:

    I think the real idiocy is taking anything Podhoertz says seriously.

  6. Ken Arromdee says:

    Perhaps Podhoretz simply doesn’t think it’s a justifiable reason for a juror to make this choice because they think that instead of getting a quick way out by a nice cosy lethal injection, Moussaoui should instead endure the rough justice that I imagine will be meted out out to him by the prison population daily for the rest of his life, while guards turn an appreciatively blind eye to the prisoners’ activities. I think it is naive for anyone to think that Moussaoui has gotten off easily.

    He’s going to a Supermax. No other prisoners to meet with.

    And if he does get transfered to a prison where he can interact with other prisoners, he’s probably going to be on the top. There’s lots of Islamic extremism in prisons today, for one thing. The other prisoners might consider him a hero. Likewise, the prisoners who get raped are the weak ones, not the ones who deserve it.

    Since he isn’t being executed, we also have to worry about other groups taking hostages in order to force the US to release him.

  7. yclipse says:

    For a fanatic who wanted martyrdom, denying it to him may be the best punishment.