Another Terrorist Turns Out Not To Have Superpowers

Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.

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In federal court in Manhattan Tuesday morning, Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad was sentenced to life in prison. Like every other one of the over 350 terrorists in US prisons, Shahzad, in the end, turned out not to have superpowers. Like Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who went on trial in New York this week, he had neither super-strength nor X-ray vision. The federal prison system was completely capable of holding him. The FBI was completely capable of interrogating him without turning to waterboarding or stress positions or beating the crap out of him. He sang like a bird. And the federal court system was completely capable of sending his sorry ass to prison, where he belongs. 

Meanwhile, as Ghailani, who’s supposedly a big scary terrorist, is being tried in federal court near (gasp!) Ground Zero (and the “Ground Zero mosque”), people seem to be carrying on about their business:

Look: these terrorists are morons. Murderous, cowardly morons, but morons nonetheless. They are not going to achieve their agenda by slaughtering people. Just as Terry Nichols was not going to bring down the US government by murdering a bunch of children in Oklahoma City, Khalid Sheikh Mohamed didn’t magically re-establish the Caliphate by murdering 3,000 Americans in lower Manhattan. If we can put Nichols on trial, if we can put Ghailani on trial, if we can put the blind sheikh and Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid and the Unabomber and the DC sniper and the brain-eater guy on trial and lock them up in Florence for the rest of their lives, we can do the same thing to KSM and his buddies. These guys are not friggin Magneto!

 

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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