Like most Americans, I was disgusted by Scotland’s release of PanAm 103 bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi. (Not all were outraged, of course; as always, there is a “Free al-Megrahi!” contingent.) But, as wrong as the whole thing felt, I couldn’t figure out anything to write about it.
Andy McCarthy had the most interesting commentary, I think, even though I don’t entirely agree with it:
There was precious outrage in some mainstream media quarters Friday over the Obama administration’s pusillanimous reaction to Scotland’s release of PanAm 103 bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi. But what were they expecting?
Megrahi has been transferred home to Libya. The release of the Lockerbie terrorist was said to be on humanitarian grounds, because Megrahi is said to be terminally ill. The action, though, was totally discretionary on Scotland’s part and could have been stopped by Britain. The Obama administration did nothing meaningful to stop it from happening. Perhaps the White House and the State Department were too embarrassed to try. In June, when they made arrangements with Bermuda’s prime-minister to transfer four of the Uighur detainees (trained jihadists) from Guantanamo Bay to the tiny island, they cut the British government out of the secret negotiations — even though Britain, aside from being our closest ally, is responsible for the foreign policy and national security of Bermuda, its protectorate.
Laughably, the president is reported to have called for the terrorist to be placed under house arrest and to have “warned” Colonel Gadhafi “not to give him a hero’s welcome.”
Megrahi, who was convicted and sentenced to 27 years’ imprisonment, served eight years in prison.
By contrast, Binyam Mohammed, the accomplice of “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla who plotted a post-9/11 second wave of mass-murder attacks targeting American cities, is now living free (and on public assistance) in England after President Obama released him outright, without prosecution. Mohammed had previously been detained as an enemy combatant by Pres. George W. Bush.
Obama’s Justice Department, meanwhile, gave a lesser-charges plea deal to Ali Saleh Kallah al-Marri, another member of al-Qaeda’s second-wave plot. The deal caps Marri’s potential sentence at 15 years and permits the judge to impose as little as the time Marri has already served, meaning about six years.
Is the comparison entirely fair? I think not, if only because Binyam Mohammed and al-Marri were unsuccessful. Assuming that al-Megrahi was guilty as charged, he actually murdered 270 people, whereas Binyam and al-Marri didn’t succeed in killing anyone.
Nevertheless, Andy has a point: Barack Obama campaigned on a platform of being kinder and gentler toward terrorists. He has, in considerable measure, lived up to that pledge–unlike many of his other campaign promises–and a number of his associates and appointees can reasonably be characterized as pro-terrorist. So Obama doesn’t have much standing to profess outrage when the Scots decide to send al-Megrahi home to die. Which one can only hope he does, soon.