Daniel Henninger, writing at OpinionJournal, has some comments parallel to yesterday’s TOC post on Zacarias Moussaoui.
There is reason to believe that pre-9/11 thinking will in time return and prevail.
Defenders of Moussaoui’s life sentence say he will “rot in prison.” Perhaps in a better world Zacarias Moussaoui would share a cell with Hannibal Lecter. But if our moral betters aren’t going to let Saddam’s torturers rot in Abu Ghraib, if they aren’t going to let the CIA’s most important al Qaeda captives rot in “secret” foreign prisons, they certainly aren’t going to let Moussaoui rot in Florence, Colo. He will be treated more than well.
Not to mention the Moussaoui trial itself. We arrive at the end of these interminable trial circuses of procedural delay and then claim “the system works” and “justice” has been done. No, it has done damage to the normal idea of justice. He saw the game early on and made a mockery of it. Moussaoui achieved a two-year delay in his trial by demanding to interview al Qaeda detainees. But our moral betters insist that the whole lot of Guantanamo detainees be given access to this same system of justice. They would diminish and crush it.
You can read it all at the link above.
Henninger has a point. Moussaoui will be served halal meals, he will get a prayer rug, the direction of Mecca will be made known to him, he will receive better medical care than many Americans, and he will be supplied with a Koran handled in the gloved hands of his infidel jailers lest they defile it. Each of those things he will consider to be a small victory, and since what we think of our system does not matter to him or his fellow jihadists, he will have a propaganda victory with the bin-Laden wannabes.
The difference between Adolf Eichmann and Zacarias Moussaoui is not a moral difference, simply one of degree and opportunity. If Henninger is right, the differences between Moussaoui’s Virginia jury and Eichmann’s three Israeli judges seems to be that Eichmann’s childhood experiences did not outweigh the childhood terminations over which he presided, even though he did not personally commit them, and that the Israeli judges had longer memories.