Friday, April 14, 2006

A Brilliant Show
A reader (glad to see you're still out there somewhere, Jason) wrote earlier today saying that to him, the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui looks a lot like a show trial, and wonders just why Moussaoui is on trial to begin with.

Well, to a certain degree, his trial is a show trial. Although he's been branded the "20th hijacker," there's no physical evidence linking him to the 9/11 attacks. We know he was involved with some of the hijackers in the years leading up to the attacks, and he was allegedly supposed to be on one of the planes that day. However, he wasn't on a plane--he was in jail in Minnesota on the day of the attacks. He's made many claims about who he is and what his mission was--some corroborated, some not. In the end, he's a thin reed, but he's all we've got (unless the wicked Osama has been caught since the last time I checked the news) and over the last several weeks, he's played the part of Unremittingly Evil Terrorist perfectly. If he had one of those long mustaches like the villains in the old TV westerns, I'm sure he'd have twirled it by now.

If Moussaoui wants to end up strapped to a death-chamber gurney, he's going about it the right way, because it would be too much to expect the jury to counterintuitively give him the one thing he must fear more than death--life in prison, wasting away in obscurity until he's a little old terrorist, never enjoying the martyr's death that will entitle him to 72 virgins in heaven, or whatever the hell he's hoping he'll get.

(Yesterday, I mentioned the Rude Pundit's impression of the Moussaoui penalty trial as "overwrought." He gets into more detail on it today, calling the horror show unleashed on the jury another chapter in "our ongoing fetishization of 9/11.")

Elsewhere: Bill O'Reilly wants you to know that there is no War on Easter. It's just something a liberal newspaper columnist thought up, based on O'REILLY'S OWN GODDAMN TV SHOW THE NIGHT BEFORE.

Excuse me.

And finallly, I am smackin' myself upside the head for not thinking of this: David Neiwart at Orcinus wrote about wingnuts who want the right to discriminate against gays and lesbians, and who justify themselves by saying, "This isn't discrimination. I am against race discrimination because race is inborn; being gay is a chosen behavior, and why should chosen behaviors get special protection?" Be careful, Mr. and Mrs. Much-Better-Than-Everybody-Else--don't ask that question if you don't really want to know the answer. Because David observes: Uhh, well, religion is a chosen behavior, too, and we protect that.

As the Guinness TV commercials say, "Brilliant!"

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