Here’s an update on the Scottish decision to release Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the terrorist convicted of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Great Britain’s Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has finally addressed the issue after being quiet for some time, and he has drawn criticism both for his delay in commenting and the substance of his remarks. His statement seems pretty mush-mouthed to me — “I was angered by the welcome the terrorist received, but it was Scotland’s decision, and by the way we are committed to fighting terrorism and pursuing peace” — and probably was carefully designed to try to appeal to people of just about every political persuasion.
I am a fan of the Brits; they have been stalwart allies in the fight against terrorism. You do have to wonder, however, whether their resolve may be wavering. After all, the notion that countries should show compassion for someone like the Lockerbie Bomber is a novel concept. For example, Rudolf Hess spent 41 years in Spandau Prison after being convicted at Nuremberg. Hess died there — even though he had flown to Scotland in 1942 in an effort to negotiate peace and was arrested at that time. Hess was sentenced to life in prison, and in those days life meant life.