Our contributor Jonathan Strong, rebuts Ricahrd Cohen of the Washington Post, who does not want Zacharias Moussaoui to receive the death penalty, on his website, The Strong Conservative.
...the same arguments were made against putting Timothy McVeigh to death. Despite warnings from the left, McVeigh never became a martyr for survivalists, militias, or other radicals in the United States. Why Cohen assumes that this will be so for Moussaoui is unclear.
To his credit, Cohen at least states that he is personally against the death penalty in all cases. This is more honesty than we usually hear from those on the left. However, he believes that the death penalty is about revenge, which is patently untrue. The death penalty is about justice, deterrence, and closure. Our laws are based on Judeo—Christian law which holds that those who live by the sword shall die by it, an "eye for an eye". We, in the West, also hold life to be so precious that the unlawful ending of a human life deserves the maximum punishment possible, capital punishment.
I also disagree that giving Moussaoui death will make him a martyr. He is now as captive as an animal at a zoo. He is no longer a threat while behind bars, and thus has been neutered in terms of his power and danger to society, but that does not mean that justice ends with his imprisonment. Moussaoui will not die as a jihadist facing down the "Great Satan" on the battlefield. He will not go out with a bang, but rather with a whimper, like a dog being put down at the vet. His death will not be glorious or triumphant, but will be a defeat for him personally and to his cause.