- Arkansas voter ID law struck down by state judge
- FDA proposes ban on e-cigarette sales to minors
- Bad omen? Italian man crushed to death by John Paul II crucifix
- Company stopped from accepting abortion waste
- Girl surprises Michelle Obama with unemployed dad’s resume
- ‘Harry Potter’ religion class seeks to enlighten students on ‘God, sin, and theodicy’
- ‘Optionally piloted’ Black Hawk helicopter clears tests; future missions to go ‘fully unmanned’
- Vice News reporter kidnapped in Ukraine is freed after being beaten, blindfolded
- FCC’s new ‘net neutrality’ proposal sparks outrage among consumer advocates
- Families of ferry’s lost confront South Korean officials
EDITORIAL: A terrorist’s convenient coma
Lockerbie bomber should end his life rotting in an American jail
The latest word from Libya is that convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al-Megrahi has slipped into a coma. The situation is reminiscent of the scene in "Godfather II" when consigliere Tom Hagen tells Michael Corleone that competing mob boss Hyman Roth's medical condition is "reported as terminal - he's only gonna live another six months anyway." Michael responds, "He's been dying of the same heart attack for 20 years."
Al-Megrahi, a former intelligence operative for Col. Moammar Gadhafi, was convicted in 2001 for his role in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 people on the plane were killed, 189 of whom were Americans, along with 11 more innocents on the ground who were crushed under the wreckage. Al-Megrahi was convicted of 270 counts of murder, probably the largest single conviction for terrorism in history. He was sentenced to 27 years minimum. In 2009, however, the terrorist was said to be suffering from terminal prostate cancer, with months or even weeks to live. The left-wing Labor government in Britain set the murderer free on supposed compassionate grounds to return to his homeland and die in the bosom of his family. The Libyan government promised that al-Megrahi's return would be low-key and respectful to the memory of the bombing victims.
That turned out to be just another Gadhafi regime lie. Al-Megrahi was given a garish hero's welcome on his return to Tripoli, and as the months passed, he showed no signs of expiring. A year after his release, London-based cancer specialist Karol Sikora - who had been commissioned by Libyan authorities to examine al-Megrahi - revealed that short-term life-expectancy projections were what Tripoli had wanted him to diagnose. The doctor told London's Sunday Times, "It was clear that three months was what they were aiming for. Three months was the critical point. On the balance of probabilities, I felt I could sort of justify [that]." He added, "There was always a chance he could live for 10 years, 20 years. But it's very unusual." British officials weighing the clemency claims never heard those long-term survival estimates.
As al-Megrahi endured, it became clear that the world had been deceived, but there was little that could be done. The deal with the Gadhafi government was settled. By then, the Libyan dictator had mended his relationship with Washington, and there was no political momentum to reopen the case. This changed when rebels took over Tripoli. Some in America, most notably Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, called for al-Megrahi's extradition to the United States. Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond dismissed the idea, citing purportedly genuine pictures of the terrorist on his deathbed. Al-Megrahi's brother Abdelnasser, talking to reporters outside the family mansion in Tripoli, explained that his sibling "is very sick. The coma came two or three months ago."
Propaganda aside, the dirtbag was well enough to attend a pro-Gadhafi rally July 26. The problem is that even the Libyan rebels want al-Megrahi to die a free man. The National Transitional Council's Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi summarily rejected calls for extradition, saying, "We will not give any Libyan citizen to the West." Some might call that a policy of harboring terrorists. It's a level of ingratitude that can be expected when the White House pursues a weak policy of "leading from behind."
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
TWT Video Picks
Get Breaking Alerts
- Holder cancels appearance in OKC amid angry protests
- In its hunt for Senate, Republican candidates campaign against Harry Reid
- Obamacare class-action suit opens a new legal front
- Opposition rising to Colorado gun control laws
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- HURT: President Obama's 'Selfie Doctrine'
- 'Conservatives' should feel exposed by Bundy's racist comments: Scarborough
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- Arkansas voter ID law struck down by state judge
Recent Letters to the Editor
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Don't punish unborn for parents' sins
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Fraud minimal in house-call health care
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Palestinian Authority on 'jihad-care'?
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Recalling foresight of Reagan, Thatcher on SDI
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A double standard on pejoratives?