Thursday, August 20, 2009
SHOWING MERCY WHERE NO MERCY WAS SHOWN
Mass Murderer Abdelbeset al Megrahi is home free. The friends and relatives of his victims will likely be forever imprisoned in their grief and, now, their outrage.
Megrahi killed 270 people at one time. He placed a bomb on Pan Am Flight 103 and caused it to explode over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, killing all the people on board and some on the ground. You might remember the pictures of the remains of the broken up plane lying in a field in Scotland, debris, bodies and body parts strewn over a wide area. People from 21 countries were murdered that day. The most, 169, were from the United States. These included a group of Syracuse University students trying to return to school. It was Britain's deadliest terror attack.
Megrahi was a Libyan intelligence agent. Libya formally accepted responsibility for the bombing. So, it was not only a mass murder, but an act of international terrorism by a hostile government. He was eventually convicted and given a life sentence. He lost one appeal, but had been allowed to mount another. He dismissed the appeal because British law would not allow his release while an appeal was pending.
Megrahi is said to be dying of prostate cancer. He has been in a British prison since 2001, but is being released on compassionate grounds. The stage was set when Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, met with Brittish Lord Mandelson, obviously working out the terms of a deal to secure the release of the murderer. Others point to Tony Blair, former prime minister of Britain, who met Gaddafi two years ago, right before the announcement that British Petroleum had a new oil contract with Libya.
Megrahi served only 8 years for killing 270 people. That’s about 11 days for each murder.
Some, including David Horovitz at the Jerusalem Post, say the real reason is not compassion, but fear of the second appeal that Megrahi had been allowed to pursue.
Horovitz writes: “By setting Megrahi free now, the British authorities are ensuring that any such miscarriage will not be definitively exposed. Critically, the widely held belief that it was Iran, and not Libya, that orchestrated the Lockerbie bombing, and that it was carried out by the Syrian-hosted Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, will not be put to renewed legal test.”
At the time of the bombing, many felt it was Iran’s revenge for the United States shooting down an Iranian Airbus full of passengers during the Iraq war. Their threat to make the sky rain blood seemed to have been kept since most of the victims were Americans.
Horovitz makes a good point when he says “You do not set free the one man convicted for the gravest single act of terrorism ever to hit Great Britain, the terrorist attack that saw more American civilians killed than any other bar 9/11, simply because he is dying. You keep such a man locked up until he draws his final breath.”
Megrahi landed in Libya about an hour ago. The Libyans did not treat the matter as the end to a tragedy and quietly receive the man back to his family. No, they treated it as the return of a hero. The government sent a jet to retrieve him. Thousands of people showed up and cheered his return. They wore t-shirts with his image and waived Libyan flags.
Clearly, Libyans see this man as a terrorist and applaud his mass murder of Americans. In addition, he was escorted from the plane by Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi embraced him at the door of the plane. A red carpet was thrown down for him to walk on.
Certainly, mercy should be extended where appropriate. But justice is also of great value. They must be balanced.
No society, no world, can operate without justice. This is not justice. This is not even mercy. It is a political deal. In this case, mercy would include medical treatment and visits with family. Justice requires that a man at least serve out his life in prison, if not face execution, for mass murder. I cannot think of a case in the U.S. where any mass murderer has ever been released from prison, and I don’t think we’ve had any here than killed 270 people.
To his credit, President Obama both opposed the release and told Libya not to celebrate the event. He was unsuccessful at preventing either.
To the Islamic world, the West has shown itself to be both stupid and weak in their eyes. They send killers. We send them back to their families in Nike hats and white jogging suits. They execute people for having affairs and wearing the wrong clothes. They put tourists in jail for slights against their culture or walking into the wrong part of the desert. They have to be laughing at us today and shaking their heads in wonder.
This is one of the days Lady Justice is glad she has a scarf over her eyes.