[The following are excerpts from an editorial that recently appeared on the The Free Library website, written by Seth Lipsky, founding editor of The New York Sun:]
As Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi settles in on the far side of the river Styx, let us reflect on the scandal of his final years. It will always be a mark on the administration of President Obama that the Libyan died a free man. He had been convicted in the downing of Pan American World Airways flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. There had been opportunity aplenty to act once a Scottish judge gave him his freedom in 2009. [RB: It was not, of course, a judge, but a Scottish Government minister.] But the American government failed to lift so much as a finger.
The administration may--or may not--have had the power to prevent al-Megrahi's release from a Scottish prison or his flight back home to Libya, where he was greeted by adoring throngs. The judge who freed him supposedly did so on "humanitarian" grounds, because, even though al-Megrahi killed 270 people, he was suffering from the indignities of prostate cancer. If the terrorist's release caught Mr. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by surprise, as they suggested at the time, it's all the more shocking that there was no attempt to seize the mass murderer after he got to Libya.
Let those who believe that such a mission would have been piratical take a look at the precedents established by our courts. It strikes me as an important point, given the twilight nature of the war in which our country has found itself. The record is clear that if, in a lawless world, the violators of our laws are brought back to our shores to face the music, our own be-robed justices won't be overly particular about the methods used to get them here. (...)
The broader point, though, is one to mark, particularly in the midst of the kind of war in which America finds itself. When a crime has been committed under our laws, and our country is being mocked from the safety of a foreign shore the way it was mocked by Scotland and Libya and Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the government of America can act. And when it does, the Supreme Court will not stand in its way.