Thursday, April 06, 2006

Executing Moussaoui

Today Rudy Giuliani will ask a jury to sentence Zacarias Moussaoui to death. I don't really care what happens to Moussaoui, but I'm not sure executing him is such a good idea.

Until a few days ago I paid almost no attention to Moussaoui's trial. The last few days I've been thinking about his possible execution and it strikes me as a strategic error.

I think it might be a better idea to humiliate Moussaoui - publicly - for the rest of his natural life (or until the war with Islamic extremists is over). If Moussaoui is executed he'll become a martyr and an inspiration to nut-jobs throughout the Middle East. But, if he's kept alive to be humiliated that will deny al Qaeda the hero they'd like to have. His humiliation will deter others from joining al Qaeda in a way that executing him will never do. (I suspect his bizarre behavior at his trial was an attempt to redeem his useless life by making himself a martyr.)

This is a war. Executing Moussaoui may be just, but the search for justice cannot outweigh the need to win the war. Keep him alive and use him to serve our cause.