I suppose this post is giving this bastard more of my time than he deserves, but this case, like it or not, has been in people's hearts and on their tongues for a very long time now. My opinion on this matter has taken a great deal of time to develop and has underwent a number of changes. I am a proponent of capital punishment, but frankly, I think that the jury handed out the harshest possible punishment by sentencing Mr. Moussaoui to life in prison without the possibility of parole. It isn't as dramatic a sentence as capitol punishment, but sometimes, it is worse than death. As I watched CNN, I heard Wolf Blitzer and one of his guests outline exactly what he's likely to face at his probable destination: solitary confinement for life, 23 hours a day in his cell, with exercise only one hour a day outside of a box, and under close supervision at all times.
Punishment has two aims, depending on the circumstances: to provide a disincentive to reoffend, and to provide lasting consequences for illegal acts. This is true of everything from a speeding ticket to a major felony case. In such cases where the latter reason is of primary concern, the harshest punishment is to provide the hope of the convicted person's greatest desire, only to deny it to them instead. In the case of Mr. Moussaoui, his greatest desire was to die as a martyr, either while murdering his perceived enemies or to be put to death by the same. Had that happened, he would have become a rallying cry for jihadists everywhere, and his name would have been plastered on television, the internet, and print media every time he attempted to appeal a death sentence, enhancing his fame and sense of self-worth. Instead, with his sentence, he becomes utterly and completely irrelevant, an embarassment to the cause to which he devoted what passed for his life, and he will die, forgotten and alone, hopefully decades from now. For a person of his beliefs, I cannot imagine a harsher sentence, and for that, I thank the jury, the prosecutors, and the defense attorneys in this case.