Sunday, August 23, 2009

Clemency for Terrorists? "Traaaa-dition!"

The Editors at the Fergus Fall Daily Herald (MN) - perhaps still in awe of Bret Favre's initial appearance as a Viking - appear to think that a landmark has been reached in the history of clemency, or at least should have been reached. Says the Herald:
What can the United States make of the hero’s welcome Libya has given the terrorist that Scotland released early on compassionate grounds? A resolution to not make the same mistake."
The Herald then suggests that the recent release of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi (imprisoned for his role in blowing up a Pan Am aircraft) delivers a "lesson" that is "clear":
When it comes to terrorism, clemency is not likely to be rewarded. Next time, let terrorists serve their time.
Where to begin ... where to begin? First, the release of al-Megrahi and the celebratory receptions, if "mistakes," have already been committed by the United States. Too late for "resolutions." Jimmy Carter commuted the sentences of three individuals who sprayed the House of Representatives with bullets and hit five members of Congress in the process. He also commuted the sentence of a man who almost assassinated President Truman. None of these four individuals ever expressed remorse for their actions and none of them applied for clemency. When they were greeted at Chicago's O'Hare airport by adoring crowds they gave speeches critical of the President and the United States, tore their clemency warrants into little pieces and tossed them into the air. The crowd cheered! Just days later, some of the released prisoners were suggesting that they wished they had committed even more violent acts back in the day. Carter had actually already commuted the sentence of one of their co-conspirators for reasons of health.

What lessons were learned from the never-to-be-forgotten terrorist clemency embarrassment of the Carter administration?

Bill Clinton granted clemency to FALN, a Puerto Rican terrorist group responsible for a string of armed robberies and 146 bombings that killed 9 people and injured hundreds. He also pardoned Susan Rosenberg and Linda Evans, who were associated with the Weather Underground. When Evans was arrested, she was packing two illegally purchased Uzi - 9 millimeter rifles, a Ruger .232-caliber rifle, a 9mm pistol and ammunition. In her Connecticut apartment, FBI agents found a file cabinet with a drawer marked “in progress.” It contained plans to attack the Naval War College, the FBI, Israeli Aircraft Industries the New York Patrolman’s Benevolent Association and the U.S. Capitol Building.

Just a few months after Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt granted clemency to Nazi saboteurs who landed on the East Coast with maps, money and explosives. Woodrow Wilson pardoned dynamiters who terrorized construction work sites all across the nation and got the Los Angeles Times building along the way. John Adams pardoned the Baratarian pirates! In addition to these, presidents have issued numerous grants of clemency to spies and other persons who damaged our national security and intelligence networks. Think about it: The Soviets didn't just give Gary Powers back to us! He came at a cost!

No pardons for terrorists? Since when? And why not? See story here.

1 comment:

Larry-bob said...

Oops, I guess I was misreading and at the time Jackson was a general... however, you wrote in this post John Adams rather than James Madison.

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