No Martyrdom For Moussaoui

The jury in the Zacarias Moussaoui case has sentenced the al-Qaeda terrorist to life without parole.

As much as the bastard deserves to fry for his complicity in al-Qaeda attacks against the United States, including the 9/11 plot, that would be exactly what he truly wants. Martyrdom is what someone like him strives for – and what was denied to him after his arrest in the month before the September 11 atrocities. Better that he spend the rest of his life rotting in a small hole, condemned to live out the rest of his life in darkness and silence. No self-aggrandizement, no chance at martyrdom, no chance of escape.

Let the bastard rot – he’ll be frying soon enough as it is, and I suspect anything we might do to him would pale in comparison to what awaits him.

UPDATE: Over at Michelle Malkin’s Hot Air blog, they’re rather skeptical of the whole “martyrdom” argument. They have a point, but ultimately I don’t see a death verdict as being any better than life in prison. For one, a death sentence would have gone through years of appeals, made Moussaoui an even bigger public figure than he was – think another Mumia – and generally given him more of a forum for his insane rantings.

Locking him away denies him all that. I suspect the guards will not be very kind to him, nor should they be. My instincts would be to make sure he spends the rest of his days in solitary, alone and forgotten.

Will al-Qaeda make an issue of him? Will they demand his release? Have they yet? Moussaoui always struck me as a small fry, a useful tool for al-Qaeda in the 9/11 plot, and little else. Al-Qaeda has plenty of justifications for barbarity other than him.

This is a case where there are no good options. Killing Moussaoui makes him a martyr – and only then after years of legal appeals and publicity. Putting him in jail means that he’s denied the ultimate punishment he richly deserves.

What Moussaoui wants is publicity and remembrance – and he’d get that by a death sentence. Despite his crude attempts at a head-fake by saying he’s “won”, he may have his life, but he should have nothing else. Let him rot and be forgotten.

UPDATE: Will Collier argues that trying Moussaoui in the first place was a bad idea:

The one and only good thing to come out of this fiasco is that it reveals once again the pointlessness of treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue. It’s not about crime. It’s about war. This waste of oxygen never should have set foot in a civilian court. He is an agent of a hostile foreign power, (albeit not a nation-state, but that’s hardly exculpatory) caught red-handed in the act of planning violent attacks on American civilian, military, and government targets. There is no doubt of his guilt; he himself proclaims it with a pathetic sneer.

Like the Nazi sabateours captured during World War II, Moussaoui should have been turned over to the military, tried by a tribunal, and executed. Look at it this way: if we had captured Japanese forward observers just before Pearl Harbor, would they have deserved full constitutional protections and access to the civilian courts?

Giving Moussaoui a traditional trial never seemed like a very smart move to me – he should have been given a military tribunal and never been alllowed to turn our justice system into a circus. One would hope this will highlight the essential foolishness of treating terrorism like a criminal matter – but then again, some people still haven’t seemed to grasp that concept yet.



There’s a bit of class for you. I’d expect that of Democratic Underground, not of a site that at least has some pretense of avoiding the kind of silly ad hominems associated with the left of the blogosphere.

I’ll be blunt: Moussaoui wants attention. The man is a meglomaniac. A sentence of death will ensure that Moussaoui gets plenty of attention. A sentence of life in prison denies him that – the prison he’s going to is one of America’s most secure SuperMax prisons. He’s not going to profit from his complicity in the atrocity of September 11, he’s not going to be leading any Islamic prayer groups, he’s going to be thrown into a deep, dark hole, and that’s where he belongs.

I understand the anger that Moussaoui isn’t going to die for what he did. But we can’t let emotionism cloud our judgement. There’s a war on, and it’s being waged in the media. I don’t want a damn bit of sympathy going to that monster, and I sure as hell don’t want to make a martyr or a symbol out of him. A sentence of death would make him a symbol both with the Islamists and the anti-American left. He’d be another damn Mumia.

Putting him in prison for the rest of his (hopefully short and painful) life is the last thing a narcissistic psychopath like Moussaoui wants. He wants attention, and he wants a forum to spread his hateful filth around. Our priorities should be strategic, not emotional. There are plenty of bigger fish to fry (literally). The mistake of a public trial was already made, and while it should have never happened, it did. We have to do what is in the best interests of winning this war, and that doesn’t involve letting this freak show continue any longer than it must.

If that makes me “dopey” then so be it.

UPDATE: Rusty at the Jawa Report makes the following argument:

Ayman al-Zawahiri shouldn’t be killed because that would make him a martyr. Osama bin Laden’s cave shouldn’t be bombed because getting 72 virgins is what he wants anyway. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi wants to be a martyr, making him live in the empty quarter is a far harsher punishment.

In order to be a martyr, people have to know you’re dead. I don’t believe a public execution would be good in either of those cases. My preference if any major al-Qaeda figure is captured is to extract any information that can be extracted, or simply shoot them and let their bodies be consumed by the desert. That’s what should have happened to Moussaoui. However, once he was given a trial, the interests of this country are best served by making sure that he doesn’t get what he wants – and he already made a choice to trade death for notariety. Sentence him to death and in 10 years he’d probably be alive and have activists cheering his name. Throw him in a hole, and 10 years from now he’s a historical footnote whose name most people can’t even remember. Honestly, which alternative would truly be worse for someone like Moussaoui?

UPDATE: Captain Ed expresses it far more eloquently than I:

After being caught, Moussaoui did his best Richard Ramirez impersonation to get his martyr’s death. He openly proclaimed his hatred of the US, tried to fire the lawyers who worked tirelessly to save his life, and practically dared the jury to give him a death sentence. Had he received it, he would have been transformed into a global cause celebre, the new poster boy for American cruelty for our use of capital punishment. His appeals would have garnered headlines for years, and human rights groups would have lit candles and held vigils for him. In a few years, the US would have put him to death, accompanied by worldwide protests and endless publicity — all focused on this one sociopathic misfit who would have achieved his greatest victory through this mastery of manipulation.

Now, however, he faces a very long time in prison and the gradual oblivion he deserves. Forty years from now, Moussaoui will die in this supermax facility of old age, and newspapers will have to explain to half of their readership exactly who this man was. Human rights groups will have no interest in him, and while a few lunatic terrorists will salute him in the near term, they will quickly move their focus to other martyrs and more intelligent and dangerous leaders. Hollywood celebrities will not hold benefits for his defense. Publishers of childrens’ books will not offer him book deals. Candles will not be lit for his benefit. He gets to live in a cage for decades, and die almost anonymously and unremarkably.

It’s hard to argue with that sentence, in the long run.

15 thoughts on “No Martyrdom For Moussaoui

  1. Seventy two virgins in paradise vs. several decades of prison rape.

    Yeah, I think the jury chose right.

  2. Well, we can all be happy for two reasons:

    1) There is a strong likelihood he will be able to get media headlines in the future for his outbursts and prison behavior. A wonderful comfort to the families of his victims.

    2) Al-Qaeda could now be in a position to take hostages to demand his release. Much to our embarrassment for not having done him justice. Wonderful.

    “America you lost” he said today. He said it best, I suppose.

    As much as some of you think he may get justice in prison, there are two other possibilities: he could become a hero to other inmates, or he could be isolated from them altogether. John Walker Lindh has managed to find himself as cozy position in prison as “role-model” to other inmates, especially those with an interest in Islam. I would hate to see if he winds up in a similar position.

  3. Well it sounds like he is heading to ADX Florence in Colorado. That means he won’t meet a violent end at the hands of fellow inmates. Damn. Just like McVeigh, who also went to Florence, we are going to hear about this guy for decades to come; he will probably write a few books. Unlike McVeigh, I wouldn’t be surprised if he initiates all sorts of frivolous lawsuits. Let the fun begin.

  4. He’d be another damn Mumia.

    That is EXACTLY right. You know the idiotarians all over the world would be pulling that nonsense.

    MCL: A couple of inmates beat another one to death a year ago at Florence. There’s some pretty f’d up characters in there, some of whom I can imagine won’t be big fans. (Not that they’re all that much better, but still.)

    I really do think the death penalty lets him off too easily. And he’d claim victory no matter what the outcome.

  5. For the record, I don’t find the Islamotard martyrdom argument convincing. But the Mumia crap, yes. The last thing I want to see is SYMPATHY for this animal.

  6. The guys in these prisons may be crooks, murderers, mother rapers and father rapers that deserve to be there, but most of them are Americans first.

    If you are ever briefed for a security clearance they love telling you that those who fair the worst in prisons are those who are seen as traitors by the prison population.

    I suspect this turd may not survive his prison sentence long enough to finish his first book.

    Just MHO of course

  7. I find it pathetic we are having to discuss whether or not it will take hardcore felons to due this guy justice.

    I suppose somebody was killed at Florence, but I just wouldn’t be banking on it. Everybody thought John Walker Lindh was a dead man once they put him in. No he is the cock of the walk in his prison:

    Can you imagine if he even remotely winds up like Lindh?

  8. Ah, so he gets to live….and prison fantasies of gang rapes, attacks–possibly murder at the hands of other inmates, and an imagined lifetime of hell are the lies we’ll tell ourselves so that this seems better than a death sentence.

    Of course, if we’d kiiled him he’d get what he wanted–he’d be a martyr. Ah. And he’s not now? He’s a symbol right now to the jihadis–‘this is what the West does to you when you serve Allah and His prophet’. He’s already got this. And he doesn’t have to do that ‘martyr’ thing to get it, you know, die. He’s actually got a chance of getting out, of getting free–and then he’ll be a hero.

    He can easily become another Mumia–and HE won’t have the ‘threat’ of death hanging over him. No bother with appeals to keep the noose from around his neck. He just gets an endless supply of leftists and wannabe jihadis spreading his rantings.

    I’ve often wondered why Mumia isn’t dead. They caught him with a literal smoking gun in his hand, with the body of the cop lying there, with bullets from that very gun in him…and yet there’s years of appeals keeping him alive–McVeigh didn’t get that–and the evidence against him wasn’t anywhere near as good.

    Back to our happy undead martyr…

    There won’t be prison rapes–Supermax prisons don’t work that way. Prisoners don’t get to socialise. Attacks are also out.

    And there’s a very good thing to say about martyrs. They’re dead.

  9. He’s going to be locked up in a small cell, unable to communicate with anyone, and is almost certain to be forgotten.

    The jihadi ideology praises death, not the ignominy of being captured and held prisoner. I can’t recall bin Laden or anyone else senior in al-Qaeda ever making a big deal of him – and somehow, I don’t think they’ll start now.

  10. He will still be able to get media attention for frivolous lawsuits and the like. McVeigh went to Florence also. We had to put up with his rants often enough before they executed him. Let the fun begin.

  11. Yeah we denied him being a martyr, funny though how hard he fought not to get those virgins isn’t it. Clearly he was correct and worse is the lesson that his allies in the Middle East will draw from this trial. America is weak and cannot defend itself, no matter how guilty you are.

  12. Any time we do not kill our enemies is rightly judged a sign of weakness.

    Tell me, when was the last time you saw the jihadis spare someone for fear that they might become a martyr?

    Particularly when it is pointed out that, after our retailiation for their mass murder, we went in and killed them. This ‘denying martyrdom’ idiocy is rhetoric designed to cover weakness. Our enemy understands that the only good enemy, is a dead enemy.

    Will it take another attack to make us realise that?

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