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Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Heroic airplane bombers

As everyone knows, there's been a brouhaha in the West over the release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, convicted in the bombing of Pan Am 103, the "Lockerbie bombing." President Obama has demanded that the Libyan government not "welcome" him and instead place him under house arrest. Politicians in New Jersey are demagoguing over the possibility that Libyan President Gaddafi might actually stay in NJ when he comes to speak to the U.N. (because, I presume, staying in New York is so much less an "offense" to the U.S.). And yesterday I had to listen to Cuban-American CNN anchor Rick Sanchez pontificating about the "heroes' welcome" being given to an airplane bomber.

About which two things must be said. First of all, the evidence against al-Megrahi was thin gruel indeed, with $2 million having been paid to the star witness against him, a witness who was interviewed 17 times before prosecutors could finally coax out of him testimony that would be useful to them; even then he still didn't conclusively identify al-Megrahi at the trial. al-Megrahi consistently maintained his innocence, and, if you read the statement he issued upon his release, if your reaction is anything like mine you'll have a hard time believing this man isn't totally sincere and totally innocent of the crime he was convicted of.

And second of all (and yes, Rick Sanchez, I'm looking at you), complaints about a heroes' welcome being given to airplane bombers? You, a member of the Miami Cuban community, have got to be kidding. Just last year, a party attended by 500 people was held in Miami in honor of Luis Posada Carriles, one of the two masterminds (Orlando Bosch, another Miami resident, being the other) of the first commercial airline bombing in the Western hemisphere, the 1976 bombing of Cubana flight 455 which killed all 73 people on board. Luis Posada Carriles, the man still being protected by the United States government (you know, the one headed by that same President Obama) from being extradited to Venezuela to stand trial for that bombing. Yes, Rick, do talk to us about how offended you are when airplane bombers are given a heroes' welcome.

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