"America, you lost. … I won." Those were the last words from 37-year-old Frenchman Zacarias Moussaoui as he was led from a Virginia courtroom Wednesday after being spared death and receiving a life sentence for his part in the 9-11 attacks. Was this a legitimate declaration of victory or simply the last delusional rant of a sad and broken man?
Let us look at the facts. Check the scorecard, so to speak. Three thousand Americans were killed that dark Tuesday in 2001. Since then, according to the good folks over at Iraqibodycount.net, somewhere between thirty four and thirty eight thousand people have been killed in Iraq alone. Regardless of how anti-pc it may sound, the numbers do favor the west for the claim of victory on that front.
The fact that he got off with a life sentence instead of death does not speak too much for his side either. Death would be a lot easier than the life he will face in prison, you can be sure of that. He will be sent to the maximum security prison located near Florence in my home state of Colorado. Legally, I can offer no money to the inmate who rapes him in the shower room. That is a shame.
To be fair, a jury of 12 Americans found that his role in the attacks was so small that he didn’t deserve the death penalty. It is said that none of the jurors considered his mental illness defense or the notion that being executed would ultimately give him the means to achieve the radical Islamic ideal of martyrdom when making their decision.
The reactions to the verdict amongst the families of the victims were mixed.
Margaret Pothier of Brookline, whose brother-in-law, Garnet Bailey, was killed on one of the planes that crashed into the WTC, was quoted by the AP as saying “"It's a travesty. It's dangerous for him to be alive in prison, there's always the possibility of an escape. There's always the possibility he could take hostages to secure his release."
In contrast, Tina Fisher of Weymouth, whose brother, John R. Fisher died in the World Trade Center's South Tower, was quoted by the same organization as stating “Today proves what America is all about, that we are a just society that is intent on making sure this never happens again."
This morning this will all be over. Mr. Moussaoui will be formally sentenced to life without the possibility of parole and the trial will be done. His spotlight will be taken away from him and he will eventually fade into nothing more than an obscure historical fact. The world will move on while he rots away in some cold cell for 23 hours a day. He will never have sex with another woman again.
Mr. Moussaoui, you lost. America won. Enjoy life without sunlight.