Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Quality of Mercy is Not Strain'd

Contra what Moussaoui himself seems to think, his having received a life sentence is not a defeat for America, is not evidence of American weakness. On the contrary, it is powerful evidence of American strength. We are powerful enough to be merciful. We will not kill Moussaoui not because we can't, not because we lack the nerve, but because we do not have to, because he has already been rendered harmless to us, because a civilized society does not kill unless it is necessary. Moussaoui's days as a jihadi have ended; his days as a prisoner have begun, and it is as a prisoner that he will live out the rest of his wretched, wicked life. When he dies, it will not be as a martyr but as a feeble old man, the captive of a nation that long before crushed his hateful movement. Whatever power over us he once had over us is gone. We have triumphed not only over Moussaoui, but over our fear of Moussaoui, over our need to kill this delusional, impotent underling to muffle our terror that another attack is lurking in the shadows.