Zacarias Moussaoui took the stand today to try to persuade the jury to let him live. He didn’t appear to do a very good job:
Moussaoui quoted from the Koran which he said called on Muslims to fight for supremacy for Allah. He said that Islam taught that “we have to be the superpower, we have to be above you”.
Gerald Zerkin, for the defence, asked him why he hated the US and Americans.
“For theological reasons and life experience reasons,” he replied. “You are on a crusade, like [President] George W. Bush says. In Europe, they call New York ‘little Israel’,” he replied, attacking the US for being the first, in 1948, to recognise Israel, which he called the “Jewish state of Palestine”.
“There is no difference between the Jewish state of Palestine and Hawaii,” he said.
Asked what his defence theory would be, Moussaoui came up with the scenario in which Americans fighting abroad might be taken hostage, saying that his freedom could be negotiated in exchange. “This could work on even the most revengeful juror,” Moussaoui said.
He’d better hope there aren’t any “revengeful” people on his jury. If I were a juror, I think that testimony would have pushed me off the fence.
UPDATE: More delightful testimony:
Among his most startling statements, Moussaoui said Army Lt. Col. John Thurman’s harrowing account of escaping the burning Pentagon left him with “regret that he didn’t die.”
He mocked a Navy officer who wept as she described the death of two subordinates in the attack on the Pentagon.
“I think it was disgusting for a military person” to cry, Moussaoui said of Lt. Nancy McKeown. “She is military. She should expect people at war with her to want to kill her.”
Asked if he was happy to hear her sobbing, he said, “Make my day.”
He noted many relatives of victims wept on the witness stand, then walked past him in the courtroom and looked his way without crying. “I find it disgusting that people come here to share their grief over the death of some other person,” he said.
“I’m glad there was pain, and I wish there will be more pain,” Moussaoui said. “The children in Palestine and in Chechnya will have pain. I want you to share their pain.”
So, Spencer asked: “You have no regret, no remorse?”
“No regret, no remorse,” Moussaoui responded.
When he left court after the judge and jury, he yelled: “God curse America. We will win. It’s just a question of time.”
On that last point, of course, he could be right. Not only will Moussaoui’s jury soon be out; the jury is very much out on whether the American people have the stomach for a long war against those who believe that “we have to be the superpower, we have to be above you.” Around half of our elected leaders certainly don’t.