Domestic terrorist and mass murderer Timothy McVeigh says he prefers death to Death Row. It is likely but not certain that his request to be executed sooner rather than later -- within six months as opposed to years from now -- will be granted.
In telling his lawyer and a federal judge that he does not want to pursue any more appeals, McVeigh, 32, is saying he is not interested in trying to have his conviction reversed or in buying time.
This may be a coward's latest twisted effort at making a brave statement.
McVeigh's first such effort involved parking an explosives-laden truck in front of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, walking to a nearby car and leaving the area. Within minutes the truck exploded, killing 168 people, including several children who had been dropped off at a preschool housed in the building. Another 500 people were injured by the blast.
McVeigh's act apparently was intended as a protest against the federal government's behavior at Ruby Ridge and Waco, where sieges and standoffs resulted in the deaths of civilians, children and federal law enforcement agents.
We say "apparently" because McVeigh never has voiced the courage of his convictions. He never has admitted any role in the bombing.
U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch has given McVeigh a couple of weeks to change his mind about accepting his punishment. After Jan. 11, however, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons will set a date for McVeigh to die by lethal injection. If the execution is carried out, McVeigh will be the first federal prisoner to be executed since 1963.
McVeigh told the judge he did not foresee changing his decision not to pursue appeals. But he said he reserves the right to seek clemency from the White House.
As is often the case with unrepentant murderers, the public yearns for a confession, an explanation, a statement of defiance, some admission of guilt and preferably some admission of remorse.
Since at least April 1995, McVeigh's actions if not his words have said: "The public be damned."
There is no reason to expect him to change now, even in the face of death.
-- Juneau Empire
Russia courting West
to boost its economy
Not so long ago, visiting Russian leaders tended to pound on the podium and promise to bury us. Now they come to do business.
President Vladimir Putin was in Canada recently on what one headline called a ''sales tour.'' Speaking to a Toronto gathering, he said, ''Attracting foreign investment is seen by us as a major factor for integrating Russia in the world economy.''
There are barriers to that happening. Western investors still worry whether their investments will be safe in Russia's chaotic post-Cold War society. Then there is the additional problem of trusting Putin himself. The West is still waiting to see whether the former KGB honcho can lead Russia, not only into prosperity but into becoming the sort of democracy that protects basic rights, including property rights.
All that said, it remains good news that the leader of Russia wants to do business, in the Western sense of the word.
-- The State (Columbia, S.C.)
The Bangkok Post, Thailand, on the Bush administration's policy toward Asia:
One searched the opening remarks in vain for further hints of how President Bush and Secretary of State Powell will deal with Asia. Perhaps they consider Asia to be a stable region at the moment. But Mr. Bush promised during the election campaign to boost presidential interest in Asia. He vowed to formulate unique policies for Japan and China, and to discard the Clinton policy of equal (arguably off-handed) treatment.
On our other flank, he promised to engage India and Pakistan in an effort to reduce and then eliminate nuclear arms and confrontation. This must be a primary goal of U.S. policy under Mr. Bush. In addition, the Americans and other nuclear powers must begin, seriously, to consider reductions of nuclear arsenals across the board -- and this includes China. The nuclear powers are entitled to defense. They also must answer the desire of most of the world for a secure peace without fear of weapons of mass destruction.
The La Vanguardia, Barcelona, Spain, on Augusto Pinochet:
The saga of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet is not only endless but also full of surprises. (Tuesday's) ruling represents a step backward for those, in Europe or in Chile, who trust that justice will be done in the end.
In effect, it appears to be a legal battle of wearing down. Or as one of the prosecution lawyers put it, it seems like ''what is signed with the hand is brushed away with the elbow.''
Is it to be concluded that with all these rulings, Pinochet, for health reasons, will be declared unfit to face trial and that the case will be shut? One has to have faith in the independence of the Chilean justice system. The Army would be happy with such a result as it would finally close the case. But what is important for Chile is that any eventual shelving of the case should also bring with it a definitive end to the military's control over democracy.
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