March 28th, 2006

The cavalry never came: Moussaoui’s confession

The ongoing carnival of the Moussaoui trial has introduced still another act: the main character turning the tables on his defense team (and himself) by a spectacular in-court confession during the sentencing stage of his trial.

This gesture of Moussaoui’s may guarantee that he gets the death penalty, which is probably exactly and precisely what he wants.

The Moussaoui trial has become–among other things–an exercise in the negatives involved in treating terrorists as ordinary criminals, including allowing them a bully pulpit for spewing forth propaganda–not that anyone who wasn’t already a jihadi would have been convinced of much of anything by the rantings of Moussaoui. His testimony is also painful for the 9/11 families, who now are confronted with the idea that if this man had spilled the beans earlier, the attacks might have been thwarted (the basis of the death penalty charge for Moussaoui):

The sister of a pilot whose hijacked plane struck the Pentagon on Sept. 11 says watching Zacarias Moussaoui’s chilling testimony on Monday provided new information for families desperate for answers, yet only worsened their emotional wounds. From a federal courthouse, Debra Burlingame watched the al-Qaida conspirator on a special video monitor set up for families of the victims of the attacks….

Burlingame shook her fists as she described testimony that the hijackers would have taken the planes into the ground if they had seen fighter planes in the air around them.

“My brother was a fighter pilot,” she said.

Her voice cracked as she dwelled on a truth too painful to bear: “The cavalry never came. The cavalry never came.”

So, is Moussaoui telling the truth now? He’s given out so many conflicting stories it’s hard to tell. But this one has some legs to it:

Gerald Leone, a former first assistant US attorney in Boston who was the lead prosecutor in the shoe-bombing case against Reid, said yesterday that it is impossible to know whether Moussaoui is telling the truth. Moussaoui may finally be coming clean, he said, or instead is now embellishing his role. But Leone said Moussaoui’s story is consistent with what is known about Reid.

Investigators know that Reid and Moussaoui knew each other, went to the same London mosque and the same training camps in Afghanistan, and had at least one Al Qaeda handler in common, he said. ….

Leone said that Reid told his interrogators that he had been ”disappointed” that he didn’t participate in the 9/11 attacks and that he had had a dream in which he missed a van carrying the 9/11 hijackers and thus could not join the plot….

“It’s just so difficult to tell with a guy like Moussaoui where his motivations and intentions lie,” Leone said. ”I don’t think anyone is even clear whether he considers the death penalty to be a badge of honor or not. He’s clearly said he wants to die a martyr, but not at the hands of the government. So it’s a mixed bag.”

Ah, the sorrow of missing out on all the glory! Failed suicidal jihadis such as Reid (and probably Moussaoui) seem to be plagued by their own version of the student anxiety dream. Bummer.

It is probable that, once a person makes up his/her mind to be a suicide mass murderer, a line is crossed. The person has accepted the necessity and reality of his/her death (I’m tired of this PC gender stuff; from here on in this essay I am just using the masculine, since the vast majority of these people are men); visualized it and gloried in it, as well as expecting that this martyrdom will lead to lasting glory. It must be a cruel cheat to be deprived of such a “consummation devoutly to be wished.”

So, if a man is prepared to die, and considers himself a “dead man walking” already, it’s only the manner of his death that remains at issue. Unable to effect the death of his choice–taking thousands of people with him–he goes for the next best thing, now that his task is done. He has already made the legal system look bad (not so difficult, as it turns out), cost us plenty of money (likewise, not too hard), taken full advantage of the stage he was given, and increased the grief of the 9/11 survivors. Not too bad for a man on trial for his life.

Another motive I think may be driving Moussaoui in particular: from the very start, he has shown great contempt for his own lawyers. Yesterday’s courtroom scene must have been quite the show, his defense attorneys trying desperately to shut him up, and then scrambling to negate what he’d said. So another perk of his confession would be to stick it to the hated lawyers.

It stands to reason that Moussaoui despises their attempts to save him as unworthy of a jihadi, not to mention being stupid (and inexplicable) activities against the US’s own interest, since Moussaoui doesn’t seem to appreciate the US legal system–in fact, he’s made it clear he despises it, also.

All in all, a good day for Moussaoui, by his lights.

[NOTE: A while back I wrote this post discussing the bizarre Moussaoui family and its history. It’s well worth reading, I think–and I think you’ll be surprised by what some of his siblings are up to.

The story of this family is a sad and terrible tale, though a fascinating one (at least to me). I do not, however, offer it as an excuse for Moussaoui, who must bear the responsibility for his own actions.]

24 Responses to “The cavalry never came: Moussaoui’s confession”

  1. douglas Says:

    “Zach Moose’s theatrical self-indictment will no doubt contribute to the neurotic atmosphere of mass hysteria that the Neocon have been fostering methodically with their jingoistic “analyses” of 9-11, Islam, Arabism…etc. Expect an avalanche of jingoistic we-told-you-Ayyrabz-were-savages editorials in the columns of the National Review and the Weekly Standard!”
    Ayyrabz-were-savages? What says that more than refusing to deal with a foreign sounding name properly, instead using a phonetic nickname like “Zach Moose”, particularly when you go by a very specific, unconventional ethnic name yourself…
    Please wonder no longer why you are not taken seriously.

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    Here’s the solution. Cut Moussie in half, give half of it to Al Qaeda encased in ice, and execute the other half.

  3. Mike Says:

    Since everyone has an opinion about killing Zac, I will add mine. Shoot him in the head and say nothing to the press. We shouldn’t have to worry about killing him or his buddies.

  4. The probligo Says:

    As I posted here -

    Massaoui wants a martyr’s death at the hands of the Americans.

    Al Qaeda (if the MSM is to be believed) want to deny him that. They want him to remain a prisoner; disgraced and excommunicated from his beliefs.

    “Truly it is most apt that an American Court should have the job of making this “decision of Suleiman the Wise”

  5. Huan Says:

    It would be a moral, judicial, and political error to excute and make a martyr of him.

    btw, I believe a sentence within a paragraph exists within context of the paragraph. To tease out a sentence isolated from the others is selective quoting. To respond thus i believe poor form.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I once thought hanging or frying was the appropriate punishment for terrorists, but then I decided life would be worse. Let them rot in jail for fifty or sixty years, watching as one Islamist regime after another gets ground into powder by the Great Satan. Let them watch the very people they claimed to fight for come to revile their names. Let them live for years with the knowledge that they have failed even to become martyrs, and that their cruel version of God judges failures very harshly.

  7. SB Says:

    Y:

    I don’t know whether I’m being timid or just realistic. I can sit here and type “death to all terrorists,” but that doesn’t mean our government or our society will ever let me, personally, do anything about it.

    As for what the government and our society themselves will do – I think they will do the very least they can until the problem reaches an absolutely inescapable decision point. At that point, they will either declare unlimited war on the jihadis and their sponsors, or they will back down and accommodate them in the name of being “civilized.”

    For a lot of people it seems, it doesn’t matter whether you die or your culture dies, as long as you die “better” than your enemies. You get that from the left a lot: “If we do X and Y, we’re just as bad as al Qaida.” To which one can only reply that for al Qaida, X and Y are a way of life; for us, X and Y are emergency measures to be abandoned once we’re safe. That may sound like a rationalization, but it works for me.

    For what it’s worth, I am personally willing and equipped for a bit of crusading if the situation requires it. By that I mean a situation in which an insurgency is active in this country and the civil authorities are unable to control it. That could only happen if large segments of our Muslim population became active jihadis or supporters, and I don’t see that happening in my lifetime. (Could be wrong, but I prefer to think that our Muslims are mostly the sensible ones – otherwise they would never have left the Old Country.)

    So from a personal point of view, I am content to hold my fire at least until the IEDs start going off in Alexandria, Virginia. As to the government and society, I can only pray that they have the stomach for this fight and do not surrender civilization in the name of being civilized.

    (That sort of reminds me of the old saw about “Destroying the village in order to save it.” In this case, I think some people are willing to let Western culture be destroyed in order to save it. Doesn’t matter – dead is dead.)

  8. Ymarsakar Says:

    But it is not the same once we have captured them and effectively declawed them.

    I know propagandists and people who use psychological attacks and propaganda techniques. You can’t declaw them if they can still talk. They are not helpless. They have plenty of partisans in the ACLU and other AMerican infiltrated organizations to help them out. Look at Britain’s problem with their Muslims, and tell me you can declaw the terroists simply by arresting them and holding them incommunicado. It just pisses them off and creates more recruits for terrorism.

    The belief that an enemy in a irregular war is harmless just by capturing him, is a gross ignorance of the regular and irregular means to which a combatant might use to make war upon a target of his choosing. In the past, a prisoner had no means of fighting back except witholding information. Now we have TV, the internet, emails, jihadi terroist phone cells, the ACLU, I’m going to take your property bcause I feel like it Judges, and many many other avenues of attack. Hence, being captured isn’t the END of your war as it might have been for a prisoner in WWII. Being captured is only the START of your campaign in this war, if your a terroist. If you’re an American, being captured means either instant death, death by burning and torture-cheer, or you’re going to be used as a prop to demoralize your nation till the point you’re useless then you will die.

    e no longer is an imminent threat, or a likely potential threat.

    Sure, tell me again that Saddam is no potential threat being alive, it is the same as Moussie. You’re grasp of human fundamentals are sorely lacking here. To use a civilian analogy, the guy who robbed you is part of the organized mob and if you testify to put him in jail, his mob buddies will burn your house and kill you and your family and your family’s family as retribution. After that happens, tell me again that the “robber who is in jail” is “harmless”.

    So to kill him requires a justification of more than just because he is an enemy. We can kill him because he has committed egregious acts. But what if he hasn’t yet.

    Oh, so what if the robber hasn’t told his buddies to kill you and yours, yet. DOes that mean you’re not going to execute the robber, because he hasn’t told the Mob yet, hasn’t done any harm, any egregious acts? You can take such foolish risks for yourself and your family, I’m not responsible for protecting them unlike the military, but you sure as heck ain’t going to make the decision for the rest of America.

    Should we enact punishment for what could have been? Or is it for retribution and vengeance we should kill him?

    Killing your enemies who are still killing your own people in the world, is neither retribution nor vengeance. It is called ruthlessness, it is called the absolute destruction of the enemy. It is peace through superior firepower, and nothing you or the Democrats or the independents or the Libertarians will do will matter a wit to preserve peace for American families and children. Because you are not what the terroists fear nor will you ever stop terrorism. That’s a fact, and it is a fact that America is plagued by, and either we will reach our genkai limit or we shall be overrun. Either way, it is interesting times for the world superpower. Kill or be killed. People have problems with killing, and they need to get out of the way of the rest of us who don’t have a problem with killing. Those who can’t kill, can’t add, can’t do math in their heads, should leave the accounting to those who can.

    I don’t expect someone who cleans toliets to be able to do taxes as well as an accountant. And I don’t expect that person who cleans toliets to complain to his accountant, that his accountant shouldn’t do math because the IRS isn’t on his tail yet.

    Y, you may have me confused with huan! That’s ok – I like to keep people guessing.

    Not really. The lack of will is the same. You don’t want to kill him immediately because you think it would be easier to let bureacracy take care of it. Huan doesn’t believe in killing him because he believes it isn’t right, and he doesn’t have enough will to change his morality to fit the times.

    The terroists couldn’t give a fig about death by bureacracy, they got a lot more efficient manners of death if you hadn’t noticed. You can wait for bureacracy to kill him, but I’m not waiting around for the “villain” to get up off the ground and stab the “hero” in the back, like Hollywood keeps putting on.

    You ever see that? Where the hero gives mercy to the villain, turns his back, and then the villain gets up and tries to kill the hero. Then the hero, TOm Cruise, does a instantaneous 180 and offs the enemy, and everything is morally peachy. Talk about a retarded morality system.

    AS far as dealing with jihadis, I’ve always been in favor giving them fair trials with due regard for international legal standards, then shooting them.

    A military tribunal will probably get rid of either 1/4 or 1/2 of the armed combatants. A military tribunal is quite fair. International legal standards indeed, sort of like the international legal standard that says the death penalty is unjust on its face. Tell me again that I was confused, and while you’re at it pull the other leg why dontcha. The lack of determination and guts is always the same, regardless of personality, in war.

    One of the problems with the War on Terror is that it is an asymetrical warfare system. We heard about this after 9/11, but most people just didn’t understand what it meant. An asymmetrical warfare system uses oblique approaches that you cannot block. It is as if you learned martial arts for 50 years, to concentrate on disarming someone with two arms and two legs, and then suddenly you have to disarm someone with 4 arms and 6 legs. It just doesn’t work as well as it used to.

    It is as if all the skills you’ve learned to survive in this society, is turned upside down. Cars don’t go at green, but at yellow. Cars don’t stop at red, they stop at green. You slow down at green, not yellow. You drive on the left rather than the right. Your wheel is in the BACK of the car, not the front. You sign your name backwards in order to sign your signature on a check. Your check is rotated 90 degrees and you have to write up and down, not left to right.

    Assymetrical warfare produces problems in the gears. It doesn’t use massive retaliatory force, it just squirts some water and the gears rust, and then the whole thing comes down.

    What this all means is that there are specific counters to terroist tactics. The single important thing you must consider, is that you must hit the terroists with a great offensive. Because asymmetrical warfare is designed to confuse your defenses and make them ineffective, you have to get the terroists to react to your symmetrical warfare. So it is a race to see who can adapt the faster. Terroists are slaughtered by symmetrical warfare, but we have to find them. We are slaughtered by asymmetrical warfare, but we are adapting. He who adapts faster and learns how to do battle the enemy way, wins.

    If AL Qaeda learns how to defend against symmetrical military operations, and learns how to use Western infantry tactics and training, Al Qaeda wins.

    If America learns propaganda and asymmetrical warfare, both on the defense and on the attack, we have defacto won. Currently we’re mired in the quagmire of debating whether to kill Moussie or not. And people wonder why Iraq is still a “mess” as they call it. Wars become a mess when you start talking about giving mercy to the enemy before the enemy is even defeated.

    Go look up Victor Davis Hanson’s book about the Peloponessian War, a War Like No Other. It has lessons you can learn about this War on Terror, another War Like No Other. Certain terroist tactics have been used before, but not the complete shebang of Soviet Propaganda, global WWII warfare, and Moroccan fanaticism.

  9. Dr Victorino de la Vega Says:

    The “great communicators” of the PR & Propaganda section of Washington’s Conmintern are jumping around in glee, exhibiting Moussaoui’s suicidal “full confessions” as proof of their wisdom and further justification of “why we fight in Iraq and Afghanistan” [sic]

    Zach Moose’s theatrical self-indictment will no doubt contribute to the neurotic atmosphere of mass hysteria that the Neocon have been fostering methodically with their jingoistic “analyses” of 9-11, Islam, Arabism…etc. Expect an avalanche of jingoistic we-told-you-Ayyrabz-were-savages editorials in the columns of the National Review and the Weekly Standard!

    How an inoffensive (except maybe for himself!) unstable Moroccan prole eager to get his proverbial 5 minutes of glory through the grandiloquent use of outlandish statements and other “jihadist verbiages” can attract the attention of so many “conservative” minds shows the extent to which conservatism, once the ideological home of our nation’s virile and rational minds, has become of sub-ideology of sensationalist pussies and other Neocon carpetbaggers…

    TEX-AVIV NEWSWIRE: I mean like Jeez! The goateed brownie even said “and I shall destroy the un-white house of the koffir Emir Bôoch may the Almighty curse his tribe’s camels and women for 40 consecutive decades Insh’Allah

  10. Goesh Says:

    We should spend a couple of million dollars providing him total medical and dental care, 3 square halal meals a day, a controled living environment where it is not too hot or too cold, quality exercise equipment, a well stocked library, lots of education , a comfortable bed, free and total legal representation, television and CDs, conjugal visits if he is married, a quran in his cell and a mosque, after all, he wanted to kill as many of us as he could. Talk about deterring terrorism! When the jihadis see this happening they will think twice about trying to attack us again. American jurisprudence makes ‘em quake in their boots. Enough with the sarcasm – we can’t even celebrate the anticipated death of a self-avowed terrorist let alone sustain a prolonged war against these rabid people. I am amazed they haven’t come across our porous, southern border with bomb vests on to detonate in our shopping malls. If they can hijack planes with box cutters they certainly can learn Spanish.

  11. maryatexitzero Says:

    On the field of battle we kill or be kill now.

    In a war fought against terrorists, our homes, our offices and our schools and our jails are the ‘field of battle’. If we refuse to defend ourselves in this battle, we lose.

  12. maryatexitzero Says:

    If we were waging war against Islamism and/or Islamist sponsored terrorism, jihadis would be enemy combatants, and we could shoot them at will. Or, we could use solutions that worked well in the past.

    But we’re not waging war against Islamism or terrorism, so we waste time and lots of money (that could be better spent elsewhere) on Moussaoui. Imagine if that money had been used to help the poor and the sick…

  13. Huan Says:

    We have every right to kill our enemies. On the field of battle we kill or be kill now. We kill so they will not kill us later. But it is not the same once we have captured them and effectively declawed them. Sure we still have the right to kill him, but it is not quite the same. He no longer is an imminent threat, or a likely potential threat. So to kill him requires a justification of more than just because he is an enemy. We can kill him because he has committed egregious acts. But what if he hasn’t yet. Should we enact punishment for what could have been? Or is it for retribution and vengeance we should kill him?

  14. SB Says:

    On second thought, we may be on the right track as it is. Since most of them are of uncertain legal status, we could just stick plop them into the judicial system and let them run through the appeals process until they die of old age. Nothing less likely to get you into Paradise than death by bureaucracy.

  15. vanderleun Says:

    “AS far as dealing with jihadis, I’ve always been in favor giving them fair trials with due regard for international legal standards, then shooting them.”

    Or we could shoot them and then give them a trial.

    Oh, wait, that’s the Afghanistan/Iraq solution with the media running the trial.

    Sorry. My bad.

  16. SB Says:

    Y, you may have me confused with huan! That’s ok – I like to keep people guessing.

    Just in case, though – my idea was that the authorities will be extra-special nice to Moussaoui if he gets the chop because they don’t want to risk offending Muslims by doing anything “insensitive.”

    AS far as dealing with jihadis, I’ve always been in favor giving them fair trials with due regard for international legal standards, then shooting them.

    But that would be a trifle insensitive, wouldn’t it?

  17. Ymarsakar Says:

    To put him to death would be in essence punish him for what the terrorists, but not he, did on 911.

    Or to translate that into war terms, means that anyone can attempt attacks on American soil and kill Americans, but would be kept alive by the grace of their victims to strike again once released. All that it would require is that you not succede in your attacks. Catch 22, terroists win win. Congratulations, you’ve now made it possible for the terroists to win if they succede and win if they fail.

    Maussie didn’t commit a crime, he is being tried in a court but not because he is a criminal. He is being tried so that mass murderer may be prevented. Try treating the Mob the way you would treat oridinary crime, and watch what happens.

    The terroists understand very well the weaknesses of our judicial system. It is one reason why they seek to be tried there, instead of on the battlefield.

    One of the weaknesses they exploit is the hesitancy of people like sb to attempt to kill them, because the terroists will make the process psychologically horrifying. It is simply a variation of their execution of hostages. They make fighting back so hard and requiring too much determination, for ordinary people to be much of a nuisance.

  18. SB Says:

    Denying Moussaoui is trip to Paradise is a nice fantasy, but there is absolutely no way it will ever happen. As an individual, he may be an insignificant little bastard. But as a member of the Ummah, he somehow represents all Muslims in relation to the Infidel. Any attempt to get at him through his religion will be taken as a gross insult to Islam itself.

    If he receives the death penalty the authorities will be tripping all over themselves to ensure that his religious sensibilities are given the utmost consideration.

  19. gcotharn Says:

    As I read this I am struck by Moussaoui’s extreme sense of moral superiority. His extreme moral superiority is shared by most Muslim terrorists. They feel they are so superior, morally, that they are unquestionably justified in whatever they do to the heathen non-Muslims. My blood runs cold…

  20. Huan Says:

    I am a supporter of the death penalty in general, but I do not believe Moussaoui should get it. While he may have plotted and planned mass homicide, he actually did not do it. To put him to death would be in essence punish him for what the terrorists, but not he, did on 911. We should reserve the death penalties for people who have actually committed a heinous crime.

  21. Steve Says:

    I’m sure Moussaoui used the process for his own self-aggrandizement. He has I think fairly well assured himself a death sentence and he will probably be lethally injected in another 4-5 years. I see no moral to this story. Just another unrepentant killer.

  22. Ymarsakar Says:

    Richard, I think the answer to that relies on how many people you are willing to kill to protect what is yours.

    In a weird sort of way, people who don’t have a moral compunction about self-defense are more likely to understand the intentions of the murderer trying to kill him, rather than the pacifist.

    Ross had an interesting article about Muslims.

    Link

    I agree with his recommendation. We should really find a way to make Mouie think that if he dies, he won’t go to heaven. It is the punishment he deserves, and it is the punishment we owe to the families and to the nation at large and to everyone who has died fighting terroists in iraq and afghanistan.

    Bring back the firing squad, coat the bullet in pig fat, whatever it takes. This man deserves a special sending off, as payment by an righteously enraged nation.

    We must show the world that America truly believes in what we say, that we are willing to be ruthless towards our enemies. Otherwise we will never win this war, because Muslims will never back us if they see us as hypocritical and as morally weak as their own leaders.

    Like the Sami Al-Arian incident, this is another test of American will on the international stage. Al-Jazeera is watching, be assured of that. Any weakness we show, will be reflected and magnified across the world. And more Marines and Soldiers will have to die to secure our liberty and security. I don’t think Moussaoui useless life is worth that.

  23. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I don’t suppose it would be a good idea to take this guy at his word?

    I mean,when somebody says he plans to kill you and yours, organizes to do it, his fellow organizers actually managet to do it, should we think he’s just venting?

    Is he, as the Brits say, a one-off? Are the folks who talk the same way somehow meaningless?

    I suppose the answer to that depends on your political view.

  24. Goesh Says:

    A martyr to the end, that’s our boy Moussaoui. What better way to go out than spitting in the eye of the hangman, eh? Defy the infidels all the way, baby. The mettle of his belief will be tested when the noose slips on around his neck but these guys are hard corps all the way. I think he will stand tall and call on allah to punish the infidels as he slides into eternity.

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