Originally Published: May 9, 2006 4 a.m.
Jurors sentenced confessed terrorist Zacharias Moussaoui to life in prison without parole this week. Some conservative pundits are disappointed with the jury's decision to sentence him to life in prison.
But when the collective public goal is to give the worst punishment possible to a man who played a relatively minor role in the gruesome murders of about 3,000 terrified people, the jury may have succeeded in the Moussaoui sentencing.
Consider that the prosecution, the judge and defense attorneys repeatedly tried to give Moussaoui a fair trial. Moussaoui reacted by ignoring his defense attorneys' advice and doing the exact opposite. He bragged about and possibly inflated his role as a member of al-Qaida, who vehemently denied that he had any significant role in the Sept. 11 attacks. Much of the evidence makes Moussaoui look like a bungler, whom al-Qaida leaders probably didn't trust with any major responsibility.
Some believe Moussaoui's courtroom behavior was insane. But was it really insane for a man who wants to die as a martyr to try to get a death sentence? If anything, spending the next 40 years in a tiny cell for 23 hours a day will be the ultimate punishment for this suicidal man.
Moussaoui probably knew that if he asked for death, the jury would sentence him for life in prison. So, he did the next best thing and tried to anger the jury.
Instead of exiting Earth in a blaze of glory amidst a huge media circus, Moussaoui will die alone, and no one will know until the guard reaches his door to check on him. He is now the symbol of the ultimate disgrace, as he stands hated by millions of people, and the terrorists he claimed as his own, officially rejected him.
The jury gave a verdict that will punish this suicidal impostor the most: Life.