Zacarias Moussaoui’s trial is in its sentencing phase, and his lawyers are finally hitting their stride in their attempts to keep the needle out of his vein. According to today’s Washington Post,
Michael First, who edits the standard diagnostic manual for the mental health profession, testified in federal court in Alexandria that Moussaoui suffers from delusions and disorganized speech – two of the five symptoms of a paranoid schizophrenic.
First’s diagnosis followed testimony yesterday from clinical psychiatrist Xavier Amador that Moussaoui has paranoid schizophrenia and is delusional. Amador pointed to Moussaoui’s belief that his attorneys are conspiring to kill him.
Moussaoui is the only person charged in the United States in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks by al-Qaeda terrorists. He pleaded guilty in April 2005 to conspiracy charges, and his defense has been trying to convince the jury he should be spared a death sentence because he is mentally ill.
So Moussaoui is a nut-case, and therefore shouldn’t be executed. Additional experts have testified that he had an unhappy childhood, was abused by his father, and suffered from post-natal stress syndrome (all right, I made that last one up, but you get the idea).
His attorneys are providing him with the standard All-American red-white-and-blue legal defense – “I’m not responsible for my actions because I have X Syndrome” – but Moussaoui isn’t buying it. “It’s a lot of American BS,” he said.
We’ve come to a strange pass, when a statement of the most lambent clarity has to come from an admitted Al Qaeda terrorist.
And, yes, it’s come to this,
It’s come to this,
And wasn’t it a long way down,
Wasn’t it a strange way down?
– Leonard Cohen, “Dress Rehearsal Rag”
Isn’t it about time to say good-bye to the law-enforcement approach in the war on “terrorism”? If nothing else illustrates the farce of this strategy, surely the fatuity of the Moussaoui trial does.
If the modern human-rights sensibility holds sway in our dealings with Islamic terrorists, it leads us to the following:
- You can’t shoot them.
- You can’t intern them at Guantanamo.
- You can’t return them to their dusty fly-specked countries of origin, because the repressive Islamic regimes there might not treat them right.
- They get the same legal rights as a full-blown American citizen in a court of law.
- They get a court-appointed lawyer, paid for by you, the American taxpayer, a lawyer who can make motions and petition for change of venue and do all those lawyerly things for years and years until his client dies of old age, or the Shari’ah is finally instituted here in the United States, whichever comes first.
- Failing all the above, they can be declared insane, and then
- In five or ten years’ time a compassionate federal judge can intervene to order their release.
But I’ll buy the idea that Moussaoui is nuts. Heck, I’ll buy the idea that the entirety of Islam is nuts. Whether you think the Twelfth Imam is calling the shots from the bottom of a well, or that 72 virgins await you in Paradise if you just shred some Jews with nails and rat poison, you’re pretty crazy. Maybe Islam needs to don a collective straitjacket and undergo intensive psychotherapy for several centuries in order to get better.
And maybe anybody who really believes in their religion is nuts.
But somehow Christianity and Judaism must have evolved a cultural version of an anti-psychotic drug, so that their followers can look and act sane, and lead normal lives as productive members of the community. So that believers like me can go out in public without scaring the children or peeing in the potted plants.
But not Islam. The only Muslims who are regularly taking their medicine are the ones who live in the West, or have come into long-term contact with it. And not even all of them.
So, insane or otherwise, let’s stop dealing with the mujahideen as criminals. Insane or otherwise, people who conspire to fly passenger jets into our skyscrapers are not criminals.
They are the Enemy, and this is the Long War.