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Why the death penalty will not work

Reader comment on item: Thoughts on the Israeli Incursion into Gaza

Submitted by Pro-Israeli Democrat (United States), Jun 29, 2006 at 09:05

I support Ehud Olmert and Amir Peretz's decision to re-occupy Gaza. However, I see any recommendation for the installation of the death penalty as an ideological solution and one that simply will not work. I oppose the death penalty in nearly all cases (with a possible exception being the crime of genocide; and although I did not support the Iraq War, believe that Saddam Hussein does deserve execution--for Anfal, rather than for Dujail...Anfal was an act of genocide).

So why do I oppose the death penalty for terrorists? The answer is that it only creates more martyrs, and thus more terrorists. That is one reason why Zacharias Moussaoui was NOT sentenced to death. The last thing Israel (or for that matter, the US) should want to do is to create more martyrs. Better they die in prison and go out with a measley wimper, rather than with a bang. Furthermore, who needs capital punishment when you have a military arsenal like Israel has? Who needs the death penalty when you can place an explosive in the cellular phone of a jihadist?

I am Jewish (although I consider myself to be both a secularist and a non-believer). However, I support Israel because it is governed by law, not because I am Jewish. The way in which the nation has preserved civil liberties in times like this is truly extraordinary, and I would also like to see Israel to continue setting such a positive example for other nations in a similar situation (Britain and the United States, both of which are new to the war on islamo-fascism come to mind. The US, which is struggling to balance civil liberties with this war, in particular, can learn from Israel...just read Alan Dershowitz's The Case for Israel).

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