A tale of two terrorists: that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo".
Last week, Sheikh Mohammed al Moayad (search) was sentenced to 75 years in prison for conspiring to support Al-Qaeda (search) and actually supporting Hamas. Seventy-five years. The Sheikh was a fundraiser for terrorists.
Upon sentencing here in New York City, federal Judge Sterling Johnson (search) said, "We all remember 9/11." Sterling was appointed by Bush, the elder.
Also last week, Ahmed Ressam (search) was sentenced to 22 years in prison after being convicted of nine counts of terrorism, including trying to transport a truckload of explosives to Los Angeles to blow up LAX! Ressam could be out in 13 years and was sentenced by Judge John Coughenour (search) in Seattle, who said, "We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, or detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant, or deny him the right to counsel, or invoke any proceedings beyond those guaranteed by or contrary to the United States Constitution."
Quite a courtroom political speech from the judge who was appointed by Ronald Reagan (search). So one guy raises money for Hamas and effectively gets life in an East Coast court. And the other guy actually has bombs in his car and gets 13 years on the West Coast. Does this make any sense to you?
Ressam did aid authorities for a while after his arrest in 2001, but stopped helping a couple years ago. Call me a mean guy, and I know you do, but in my opinion, that negates any help he may have given.
The government says it may have to drop two cases against suspected terrorists because Ressam will no longer cooperate. So 13 years in prison is not nearly enough for this guy. It's a soft sentence, given by a judge who's obviously legislating from the bench.
We asked Judge Coughenour for a comment about his life sentence. But while he was a big mouth in the courtroom, he suddenly clammed up.
To be fair, the prosecution might have suggested the judge cut Ressam some slack for his initial cooperation, but we, the people, should have a full explanation.
As far as the Sheikh is concerned, that's one heavy hammer that Judge Johnson dropped on him. I know most of you will not be sympathetic, but the difference in the two sentences is troubling in a country that strives for equal justice. However, the sad truth is there is no equal justice in the USA! Judges have increasingly taken over the scales. Too many of them are driven by ideology, not by a sense of protecting the people.
For my money, the millennium bomber Ahmed Ressam is far more dangerous than the sheikh from Yemen. We could see Ressam again in 2018. Again, does that make any sense to you? And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
From time to time, people ask me for reading recommendations, and since it's August and lots of people are going to the beach, here are four books I think you'll like. At least I like them.
- A thriller called "No Country for Old Men" by Cormac McCarthy
- "1776" by historian David McCullough
- "Crusader's Cross" by my favorite fiction author, James Lee Burke
- And another novel called "Ireland," by Frank Delaney.
All of these books are entertaining and will teach you something, which is never ridiculous.
And finally tonight, the mail, but first the results of our billoreilly.com poll question, which asks, "Do you think the American media is fair when covering terrorism? About 35,000 of you voted. Ninety-one percent say no, it is not fair. Just nine percent approve of the coverage. Wow.