Category Archives: War on Terror

So Be It

“It’s clear that in the Middle East, no one is sick of the fighting. They have centuries of grudges to resolve, and will continue fighting until they can get over them. And considering that they obviously have no interest in “getting over them,” we’re stuck with a war that will not end in any forseable [sic] future. It doesn’t matter what we bloggers say. It doesn’t matter what the President of the United States says. Or the United Nations. Or the usual bloviating gasbag pundits.

When two sides are this dead-set on killing each other, very little can get in the way. ”

— Markos “Kos” Koulitsas

Well, no-one is sick of the fighting, except say… 99% of the jews

He’s entirely correct about the grudges bit, and about the nothing anyone says matters bit, but the fact of the matter is, the Israelis have done everything possible, and more than everything reasonable, to have peace.

The so called Palestinians (THERE ARE NO PALESTINIANS, there is no Palestine. Palestine was an arbitrarily created place that only existed between world war 1 and 1948. Most so called Palestinians are either Syrian, Egyptian, or Lebanese), Syrians, and Lebanese muslims who support them, (as well as most of the rest of the worlds muslims who are “supporting” them) are doing everything possible to kill every Jew.

Not a lot of jews, not some jews, not “the jews that are fighting us” or “the jews that are occupying our homeland”. They want to kill every jew everywhere.

Yes, that is their goal. They make no bones about it. They don’t hide it. They dont obfuscate. They clearly and unequivically state that they will not stop fighting until every jew is dead.

The Israelis just want to eat pizza without being blown up.

The Arabs, and the other muslims around the world that support them, initiated tribal warfare against all Jews world wide during WW2, and intensified this warfare after the world war was over. In fact, WW2 is still being fought, in one small section of the middle east.

I will concede several issues here. The creation of Israel was a blatantly illegal act, in so far as international law exists. The British and Americans basically drew some lines and said “Here jews; we feel guilty because we let 1/3 of you die, so you can have this country. Oh, there are some people here already, but we’ll move them out for you”.

Of course those people then fought a war against the jews, and they lost. They’ve been terrorists ever since. The Jews won, the Arabs lost, that was in 1948.

Its been almost 60 years, you lost, get over it. Move on.

And I’ll also concede that Israel is often stupid, high handed, arrogant, a poor friend to their allies at times; and that a certain small percentage of Israelis (and other jews for that matter) are bigoted against everyone but other jews.

…….Funny, sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it… but I digress.

But for the most part, Israel is just another democracy; and has been since 1948, if a vaguely socialist democracy with some overtly religionist elements.

The rest of the arab (and most of the rest of the muslim) world are essentially tribalist governments. They are almost all dictatorships or hardly different from “monarchies”, really nothing more than typical third world tribal structures given guns and money. They have all pretty much decided that it was easier to focus their peoples anger and hatred over their corrupt axploitative governments and shitty lives against the jews, than it was to actually… oh I dunno.. govern properly maybe?

Tribal warfare is the bloodiest there is. It’s a gang fight on a national, or even semiglobal scale; and it goes on until all of one side is dead; or utterly, humiliatingly, crushingly defeated.

The Arabs, and the muslims who support them, are a failed culture, propping themselves up with oil money, and an evil “religion” turned into a death cult. They hate and resent their failure; and their cultural and social imperatives force them to obscure and refuse to acknowledge it; but people can see with their own eyes how bad it is. They need a scapegoat, and like all throughout history, the jews have been very convenient scapegoats; as is America, and western culture for that mater.

When is the rest of the world going to wake up to the fact that the Arab world has declared war on EVERYONE ELSE; that it’s a war to the death, and that Israel is fighting the front line…

Oh and that front line just happens to be IN THEIR HOMES.

Yes, America is on the front line too, but that front line is 8000 miles away from the majority of us. We’ve got 200,000 of our men and women at risk over there right now, out of 300,000,000. Israel has EVERYONE, all 7,000,000 of them at risk, every day.

7 million people, 8000 square miles (almost exactly the same population and size as New Jersey funnily enough), and in excess of 1 BILLION people trying to kill every single one of you (or supporting those who are). Someone tell me how the Israelis are wrong here?

No wait, don’t, because they ARE RIGHT.

Like I said, Kos got some of it right, the Arabists and Islamists won’t rest until every Jew is dead, and there’s not much that can get in the way. Well, I don’t think we as a nation are going to let that happen. I don’t think that I as an INDIVIDUAL will let it happen before I’m dead.

Israel WILL NOT BE DESTROYED.

The Jews will not be destroyed.

Not while I live.

Not while America is still America.

By their choice, there will be no peace anywhere, never mind just the middle east, until every Arabist, and Islamist is dead.

So be it

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

The 2006 Arab-Israeli War

So, the latest Arab-Israeli War has begun. Israel is under attack on two fronts and Israel is responding with artillery fire and air raids, many of the air raids though are killing civilians. The world is asking itself, what can it do to end this crisis? Before we can decide on a solution, we need to analyze the situation. Furthermore, as classical liberals, we need to look at this through classical liberal principles as well. First, let’s break this down.

Hamas and Hezbollah intiated combat against Israel by abducting Israeli soldiers. The Israelis have every right to respond to these provocations against Hamas and Hizbullah and the governments that harbor and support and encourage them including the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. Israel and the Arabs have an obligation to minimize civilian casualties and refrain from directly targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure. Obviously, neither side is living up to that obligation. So the question is where to go from here?

Israel needs to, instead of turning possible Lebanese allies into enemies by bombing Lebanese civilian infrastructure and start actually conducting a war against Hezbollah and its state sponsors such as Syria and Iran. The Israelis need better intelligence against Hezbollah and start launching strikes against selected Hezbollah targets. The Lebanese government needs to be emboldened to move against Hezbollah, bombing them won’t help the situation. Finally, Israel needs to take the war to Syria and Iran. Syrian policy on Israel is to fight Israel to the last Palestinian and Lebanese and Iranian policy is to fight Israel to the last Palestinian, Lebanese, and Syrian. Maybe if Iranians and Syrians, especially those connected to the leadership, began dying they would rethink their proxy war against Israel.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The Hayride.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

I Always Feel Like, Somebodies Watching Me

Let’s talk about the current NSA surveilance brouhaha. Liberals, conservatives, AND Libertarians are all entirely up in arms about this subject; which for the reasons I’m about to discuss is patently silly.

First things first, I’m an information security consultant and architect, with extensive government, financial, medical, telecommunications, and military security experience. I do some of this stuff for a living. For those of you who are familair with federal contracting, I have several GSA contracts under my belt. In my daily professional life, I deal with the legal and technical issues surrounding this subject quite a lot. I have in fact conducted, and assisted in, trap and trace operations; as well as created solutions for trap and trace access.

Next, this IS NOT WIRETAPPING, nor in fact is it any kind of invasion of privacy (as legally established).

The data the NSA is collecting are called pen-trace records or pen-register records(technically its a “pen register trap and trace device record”, even thugh there is no such thing as a pen register anymore. I usually call it a pen-trace because it’s a more complete abbreviation, and because the operations are generally referred to as “trap and trace” oeprations. In most references it is more often referred to as a Pen Register). These are the records which indicate what calls were initiated from what number, to what number, when, for how long, how the call was routed, and what charge classes apply to each stage of call routing.

These records are legally semi-public information, not private. It is legal to collect these records without a warrant, so long as they are not used to SPECIFICALLY TARGET an individual without a warrant (there is a specific pen register warrant for that purpose), or used beyond basic identifying characteristics. Once a trace of interest is found, a warrant can then be applied for for further surveliance.

It has been legal for the government to do this since the very first telephone telecommunications laws in 1936, and it continues to be reaffirmed as such. The last law regulating this was passed last year, others that I know of in 2001, 1998, 1996, and 1994, ’88, and two HUGE ones in ’84 and ’86. The supreme court has repeatedly reaffirmed the legality and constitutionality of this, because of the third party exemption to private communications if for no other reason (and there have usually been other reasons).

Under the third party exemption, if a third party is allowed to setup or witness what is otherwise a private communication between two parties, the expectation of privacy of the existence of the communication is breached (if it existed at all which in many cases it does not), and the existence and external characteristics of that communication can then be compelled and used as evidence without a warrant.

This is settled legal doctrine, and has been for literally hundreds of years, back to english common law.

For further information, refer to Smith v. Maryland which is controlling in these situations, and which was decided under ’36 ’48 and ’78 statues. A pen register is not a search under these criteria.

There is additional controlling legislation, the electronic communications privacy act of 1984. This established certain privacy protections for electronic surveilance, as well as enforcing access to records and techncial means by the government at the providers cost (as a cost of doing business, any company defined as a pblic telecomunications utility must give the government access to tap and trace).

Under current law and precedent, so long as there is not an individual target, privacy provisions of ECPA ‘84 don’t apply; but the access provisions do. It’s a case of the government having its cake and eating it too.

Further, USAPA ‘01 (the patriot act) CLEARLY defines that global pen registers conducted through electronic means are NOT an unlawful search. Or rather it clearly correlates them to earlier definitions of pen registers which were also held not to be unlawful searches.

If there IS an individual target, then there is a low burden of proof threshold to obtain a pen register, to wit the capture of any information likely to be pertienent to a criminal investigation. Additionally, no warrant is necessary even for specific targeting, if one end of the conversation initiates or terminates outside of the country. Also there are certain standing exemptions (communications from anywhere within the country to certain known individuals or locations – official arms of the chinese government for example).

Also, it has been held that there is no warrant necessary for the disclosure of LUDs (local usage details) by telephone companies to investigative agencies; again because of the third party exemption.

Now there is an additional issue here, as to whether it is legal to capture glocal pen-trace data without a specific target, and then run traffic analysis on it which produces specific targets which were not present before the data collection…

Well so far the courts say yes; and have several times and at several levels; but I’m not sure this is technically correct.

Once the data is collected in a legitimate way, it is generally assumed that any analysis done is legitimate; even if the results of that analysis would be the same as those which would have required a warrant to produce without that analysis.

It may or may not be allowed as evidence depending on the judge, and the court; but the agency doing the analysis wouldn’t be under any sanction for doing so.

This is clearly a case of the law not being properly costructed to handle unforseen technological circumstances. The spirit of the laws (and there are more than just one, in fact more than a few) may be violated here; but in general it has been held that this IS legal.

All of these issues have additional implications in a national security context, and I’m not sure if there is a controlling decision or even controlling legislation; in part because some of the decisions that may be controlling are classified. Also some cases that may have produced controling decisions were instead vacated or dismissed by national security exemption.

Basically there are a lot of things that an NS or NCA initiated investigation can do that a criminal investigation can’t and still be legal; in some cases without the authorization of courts.

That is an executive powers question, and one that the courts have been EXTREMELY reluctant to enter into. The constitutional law (as opposed to a straight reading of the constitution – a distinction that I find distasteful but it is very real today) issues here are somewhat convoluted.

Given all this, it should be clear that in fact, telephone and electronic communications have far less LEGAL privacy protection than do face to face conversations. You may not LIKE it, it may feel creepy, but it is legal, and has been basicaly since the phone companies were first set up.

What the NSA is doing WITH this information is called traffic analysis, and it is legal, even on US. Citizens. Traffic analysis doesn’t tell you what is being said, but who is talking to who is a still a valuable source of intelligence.

More importantly, LEGALLY traffic analysis is not surveilance, it is the gathering of open intelligence; and thus does not require any specific justification or authorization.

Now as to whether it should be or not; that’s a much thornier subject. The fact is, we have allowed but the government, and business, to do this since the inception of communications technologies.

By law the telephone networks are only semi-private (as are the airways BTW). There is no dejure expectation of privacy as to the routing of your calls, because that information is both used by third parties for purposes directly related to the call itself (billing and QOS); and by third parties not realated to the call (marketers).

Just to illustrate one case, the phone companies use the info for marketing purposes, and sell it to others for marketing purposes.

People in high income zip codes will be identified, and marketers will look at their magazine and catalogue subscription info, which they either have already or purchased from some other companies. The comapanies then send those catalogues and subscription offers to the people that the high income folks called. That’s just one example.

The same thing happens with shoppers cards, credit cards, magazine subscriptions… hell some libraries sell your data, and all major bookstores (in fact all major retailers) do.

That data may or may not be personally identifiable, depending on exactly what business is selling it to what business.

Hell, the post office sells your magazine and catalogue subscription records to other magazine and catalogue publishers as well; so those publishers can send you more offers. Additionally the post office will use data on who sends you mail, and who you recieve mail from, to conduct investigations into mail fraud, terrorism, and transportation of contraband, obscenity, and child pronography through the mails, WITHOUT ANY WARRANT.

The post office is a semi-government agency, and for some reason no-one makes the connection between pen trace and this behavior; which is legally IDENTICAL; and which has been going on for decades.

So if a commercial entity can sell it to another commercial entity, can’t the government collect this data on its own?

Or should ALL of that be made illegal?

The fact is, people have a false expectation of privacy in far too many venues. The only real privacy lies in that behavior which is that which is conducted exclusively on your private property; or that which is conducted by ALL parties to a contract during which agreement is made by all parties to maintain all desired aspects as private (which lawfully guarantees your expectation of privacy. This at the core of privilige).

This isn’t a recent developement; it’s legally, and often socially been this way… well pretty much forever. You don’t have the legal expectation of privacy you FEEL you do. Perhaps you do have a moral expectation; but the law, morality, and basic rights unfortunately diverged a long time ago.

Again, I’m a Libertarian, these issues get kind of thorny with me. Do I WANT the government to do this? No I don’t; however we have constructed a government that CAN do this, both legally, and technically. I disagree with it, I’d like the laws changed; I’d even like to see a constitutional guarantee to certain privacy beyond that which I outline here; but it simply doesnt exist now (nor likely ever will).

As to a so called right to privacy; no there is no right to privacy if you mean that all others must repsect YOUR privacy and not use the means they have available to abrogate it. That so called right simply does not exist.

A right is something that can only be abrogated by force, or willful consent. Privacy of your telephone calling records need not be forced, nor does it need your consent to be abrogated; because it is already shared with a third party; the telephone company.

That said, we have the right to HIDE anything we want (presuming we control that thing legitimately), from whomever we want, for whatever reason, using whatever means we choose. It is others responsibiltiy to find it if they want to. This includes criminal evidence; and it includes lying to investigators and law enforcement (though not in court providing one swears the oath).

Additionally and related to that, we have the right to not be COMPELLED to share information we do not wish to share; assuming we hold that information alone, or in concert with other parties who also agree to keep that information private. However if there is a party to the information who does not agree, than if we continue to share information with that party, we no longer have any legitimate expectation of privacy.

Privacy is not an inherent right, it is a social construct. It is a useful, and important construct; but the only privacy we have an absolute right to is the privacy of private property; and whatever occurs entirely therein.

The problem is that peoples understanding and expection of privacy doesn’t keep pace with either their understanding and expectations of technology; or their general acceptance of technologies.

The only reason this is coming to light NOW (in the general sense – in the specific sense its so the press can use it against Bush), is because now the technical means exist for governments, and businesses, to collect and analyze this data on a global scale. That makes EVERYONE feel like they are being watched. People were fine with it when they could only track and analyze a few data streams at a time, but now they can track and analyze everyone, they feel naked, violated.

You may feel in your gut that your rights are being violated, but you never had this LEGAL right you feel you had in the first place. You had a de-facto illusion of privacy, simply because people weren’t able to do this yet.

Now they are, and your illusion of privacy no longer exists.

UPDATE: Some commenters questioned my accuracy on the law, so I included more detail. I also inserted clarification of my personal moral position on the issue. Oh and if you want privacy, here are Six-ish words: Encrypted IP Telephony, Pre-paid Mobile Phone.

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Bias, Moral Relativism, and Hipocrisy

A commentor at The Other Side of Kim Forums calling himself Raucous recently posted this tolerably well written, but I think ultimately blind post, positing the question what do we want out of our reporters with regard to bias, and support of the American (or any other) war effort.

“As an aspiring journalist I note with some dismay the frustration, animosity and anger with which the media is seen by many on this board and others. Which leads me to the question, what do the people want from their press?

Much of the frustration, it seems, stems from reporting of controversial issues. For example, should the enemy in Iraq be referred to as insurgents or terrorists? This, I supposit , is not as easy as people may think. There are, certainly, clear cut examples – car bombings in public markets are easily labeled as terrorist acts. But, how should we refer to the man who takes up arms against what he perceives as an illegitimate invader? If he is shooting at U.S. soldiers engaged in military operation on his homeland is he a terrorist, a militant, an insurgent, a fundamentalist?

Our own empathy with the men and women of our armed forces will steer us to the conclusion that anyone who stands against them must do so for nefarious reasons, but we must look beyond emotion. We can note that words such as terrorist have been used throughout history to illicit ill feelings toward a group. The Czech and Ukrainian partisans of World War II, even the Minutemen of the American Revolution were cast in a similar light. The projection is effective, because we KNOW what a terrorist is – and castigating someone in the light of “terrorist” brings us, for a moment, to the images of September 11th . It is easy to hate someone when we associate them with men and women jumping to their death to avoid flames, it is easy to despise them we recall the grieving widows of the FDNY.

But do we want the media to assume a role that validates our emotions, and if so which ones?

As journalists we are, by necessity, careful as to what we write. Printing a quote incorrectly or forgetting to put “alleged” in front of murderer means that we can have our asses hauled write to court. It could be an honest mistake, that doesn’t mean it won’t cost us lots and lots of money. This care spills over into choosing between such terms as “migrant worker” and “illegal alien.” I shall admit that print journalists worry too much about political correctness and semantics, but as I’ve said one word can make the difference in our increasingly litigative society.

So, from what I gather “insurgent” and “militant” are not a strong enough words because they somehow lend validity to the act and the personcommitting it. “Terrorist,” however, labels both the person and the event in a negative light, and should be the standard.

Imagine then, this imaginary headline. “Terrorists open fire on U.S. military killing four.” This, we would say, is accurate regardless of who the “terrorist” are or what their motives might be. Our affinity for our fellow Americans rallies us to their side.

Imagine now, this imaginary headline from a different perspective. “U.S. terrorists open fire on Iraqi fighters killing four.” This, we would say, IS TOTAL @#$%ING HORSE#(&^ WHERE DO THOSE &!@#SUCKERS GET OFF CALLING US TERRORIST?!

The editorialising is exactly the same – simply from a different perspective. If we are to say that one is desirable then we should also accept the other as fair. Do we?

To reach further back in time to Oklahoma City, and even Ruby Ridge, we may recall when these mantras worked to the distinct disadvantage of members of the gun culture. Suddenly, everyone who owned a gun became a McVeigh – we all became “militants,” “extremists,” “fanatics,” “gun-nuts.” Randy Weaver was a “racist,” and a “white supremacist .” Poor reporting and more poor reporting. But reporting in the same vein as what many seem to want – biased towards their own perspective.”

Some good points there, but I think some basic misunderstandings.. perhaps even a moral blindness that I wish to address.

First, my thought on bias is simple. The U.S. press should be as biased as it wants to be, and stop pretending to be objective or neutral.

The fact is people are biased. While it is possible to be objective about some things, once you have formed an opinion that you are confident and justified in, you WILL NOT BE unbiased about things which either strongly support, or strongly contracdict your opinion.

You may force yourself to appear unbiased, but even then, the bias will still be there. It will color what you think, and what you write, no matter how much you think it does not. Subtle elements such as word order, punctuation, basic elements of tone and style will be different when you are writing about things you have strong opinions on… at least if you are any good as a writer.

Unbiased reporting is either unifnormed, or passionless. It is inhuman in nature… Human nature is passionate, and it is baised.

In times past here, and in most other countries today, reporters dont even pretend to be unbiased. They acknowledged they are biased gleefully and dove into their bias with gusto. So long as they do not lie, alter, or distort FACTS, and seperate FACT from their own OPINIONS, then I think that is just fine.

IF THEY ADMIT IT.

The U.S. press is in a situation today where not only are they radically biased, but they continue to lie about, and deny that bias exists; or worse, pretend that the bias is exactly opposite of what we all kow to be true. Read Bernie Goldbergs “Bias” and “Arrogance” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

I am an informed, passionate reader; and I want a passionate, informed writer writing my news, and just as important, I want him to admit what his opinions are about what he is writing, rather than pretend they aren’t there, when so clearly they are. Then I can judge if he is being reliable or not, just as I do with any man talking with me on the street.

Now, I wanted to address the main illustrative thrust in the piece, and that is the editorial judgement of writers as described in this sentence discussing calling Iraqi bombers terrorists, vs. calling U.S. soldiers terrorists:

But do we want the media to assume a role that validates our emotions, and if so which ones?”

“The editorialising is exactly the same – simply from a different perspective. If we are to say that one is desirable then we should also accept the other as fair. Do we?”

Only if one assumes moral equivalency, and moral relevancy are valid philosophies.

It is my (and many Americans) explicit rejection of these philosophies that is the genesis of our dislike of such politically correct usages as calling terrorists anything but that.

A terrorist is one who uses forcible terror without legitimate authority for the use of force, and without hope of military or political victory through legitimate means; to effect a social or political change that they desire.

This is the very definition of the so called “insurgency” in Iraq. It does not, never has, and never will apply to conventional military forces.

Though there are certain circumstances when special operations use terrorist tactics, it would be unfair to call those executing them terrorists. They are using those tactics because they are appropriate to the situation, and as part of a larger overall plan and goal WHICH THEY ARE CAPABLE OF ACHIEVING, through legitimate means.

If however it would not be possible for a group to do so, or that group was not acting under the color of legitimate authority (either in just rebellion, or as agents of a legitimate government) then it is plainly fair to call them terrorists.

The Israeli spcial operations forces, and intelligence services, are well known for using terrorist tactics against terrorist groups. This doesn’t make them terrorists. There is a very clear definitional difference, in that they are operating under the color of legitimate authority, and in concert with the principles by which that authority is derived.

Now as to whether one is using terrorist tactics, there can be no question. As to whether one using force outside of the color of recognized legitimate authority is a terrorist, there is only one moral question, “what is a just rebellion”.

It may be morally acceptable to promulgate terrorist acts in support of a just rebellion (or other just war), but what is a just rebellion?

At this point it is necessary to make a moral judgement. Morally, a rebellion is just if it is against a government which does not recognize or protect the basic rights of the sovreign man; or if it is against no government at all but against those who would abrogate those basic rights; and if that rebellion is dedicated to instituting a government which does. There is no other legitimate moral justification for either a government to base itself on, or for a rebellion to base it’s opposition.

Of course moral relativisms core principle is that all moral judgements are invalid; thus a writer who cannot make a moral judgement cannot call someone a terrorist, and someone else a freedom fighter.

I make the moral judgement that the so called insurgents in Iraq are not in legitimate rebellion, and therefore they are terrorists. They are not insurgents, freedom fighters, militas, minutemen, or anything but terrorists. As terrorists they are unlawful enemy combatants, and subject to summary execution upon capture, and to unlimited prosecution of conventional force to effect that capture.

If you cannot make a moral judgement, then you also cannot condemn me for making a moral judgement against a terrorist, or against you for that matter. Of course it seems that moral relativsts principles do not extend that far. They will remain free of judgement until they come up against someone who disagrees with them, and then their judgement is applied with great force.

This is the grossest form of hipocrisy; which coincidentally is the most frequent accusation of the moral relativist against those who do not share their views.

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Moussaoui Life Sentence is Not The End of The World.

This morning Al-Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. This brings to an end a trial that featured the rantings and ravings of Moussaoui hen he denounced America and attacked the 9/11 victims. There are many around the blogosphere who did not support the verdict yesterday, denouncing it as a sign of weakness.

I respectfully disagree with the vast majority of the blogosphere. While I would have liked to see Moussaoui executed, I don’t have a problem with him spending the rest of his life in a Supermax. This denies the jihad a martyr to lionize and take hostages and commit attacks in the name of. For example, how many hostages have been taken in the name of Richard Reid or other jihadist scum in prison? To claim that the life without the possibility of parole sentence will only put Americans in harms way is nonsense. The jihadists will try and kill Americans and other Westerners regardless of whether or not Moussaoui gets a needle. Also, there is the fact that American justice has prevailed by giving Moussaoui a fair trial with a fair sentence that is permitted by law. This will be helpful in debunking the arguments by those both here in America and overseas who claim that America railroads Muslims and others in the justice system.

Finally, I think this exchange between the presiding judge and Moussaoui states why this verdict is not the end of the world:

Judge Leonie Brinkema, who presided over his trial at a federal courthouse in Alexandria, firmly rejected his claim that he had won, making clear that his six life terms in one of America’s notorious “supermax” prisons was a hideous way to spend the rest of his life.

“Mr Moussaoui, when this proceeding is over, everyone else in this room will leave to see the sun. . . hear the birds. . . and they can associate with whomever they want,” she said. “You will spend the rest of your life in a supermax prison. It’s absolutely clear who won.

“You came here to be a martyr in a big bang of glory. But to paraphrase the poet T S Eliot, instead you will die with a whimper.”

As the Moroccan-born French Islamist tried to interrupt her – as he has done endlessly in the more than four years of court proceedings – she raised her voice and said: “You will never get a chance to speak again and that’s an appropriate ending.”

Moussaoui has been denied his martyrdom. He will not be a hero in the Middle East. He will not get his 72 virgins. He will not get videotapes of him aired on Al-Jazeera. He will instead rot in a Supermax, alone and forgotten.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The Hayride.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

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