Imagine a letter that berates a foreign government — a U.S. ally — for releasing a terrorist from his prison sentence on compassionate grounds. This letter decries the terrible impact the terrorist's act had on Americans, terming it a "heinous crime," asks the government in question to "oppose acts of terrorism," and respectfully demands that there be "no deviation this [the terrorist's] sentence."
It is not hard to imagine this letter because it really exists. What is considerably more difficult to imagine is that such a strong statement was put forth by Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, also signed by Chuck Schumer and Patrick Leahy, and sharing its sense of consternation with the likes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill went ahead with the decision to release Pan Am flight 103 bomber Abdul al-Megrahi from prison on compassionate grounds, because al-Megrahi is terminally ill from prostate cancer. The British Government claims it had no say in the release of al-Megrahi, stating that it was purely a Scottish affair, though time will tell if Downing Street did have any impact on the decision, as furious MPs who opposed Megrahi's release are demanding an inquiry.
The Americans are also outraged at Scotland for releasing al-Megrahi from his prison sentence, and rightly so. Why should we show compassion toward Megrahi? If the Scots jailed bin Laden, would they also release him on "compassionate" grounds should he fall terminally ill? Whose sense of compassion are we more concerned about, Megrahi's or that of his victims? As with so many other instances in today's society, it's the criminal that is treated fairly; the victims just get walked over.
Nonetheless, it was heartening to see President Obama declaring al-Megrahi's release "a mistake" — though "an outrage" or "a slap in every American's face" would have been much more appropriate — and Mrs. Clinton urging MacAskill to not release the Libyan.
It was even more pleasantly surprising to witness Sens. Kennedy and Kerry getting so worked up over al-Megrahi's release and what that means to the families of his victims. John Kerry, in a moment of absolute brilliance and clear-headedness, even went so far as to declare, "Megrahi showed no compassion to the innocent passengers and Scottish villagers he murdered; he should not receive our compassion now." I can't help but think, if only they'd stick up for America like this on a much more consistent basis, they might actually be considered patriots.