Tuesday, 16 September 2014

An American conservative on Scottish independence, Megrahi and Lockerbie

[What follows is an excerpt from an article by San Francisco Chronicle conservative columnist Debra J Saunders published yesterday on the newspaper’s SFGate website:]

In June, President Obama spoke against an “aye” vote when he spoke of America’s “deep interest in making sure that one of the closest allies that we will ever have, the United Kingdom, remains strong, robust, united and an effective partner.” Obama should have used stronger language, as he will need a strong United Kingdom in the war (yes, war) against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

It can be no accident that a masked Islamic State henchman engaged in the brutal beheading of aid worker David Haines, a Brit and a Scotsman, as the big vote looms. [Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny] MacAskill has told Sky News that a “yes” vote would bring the very liberal Scotland freedom from decisions made under the coalition government of conservative Prime Minister David Cameron — that is, freedom from British defense spending and any wars into which the United Kingdom is drawn.

But it’s not that easy to opt out of war when terrorists are willing to export it — as MacAskill well should know. In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270, including 11 Scots on the ground. A Scottish court found Libyan intelligence agent Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi guilty. He received a life sentence that left him eligible for parole after 20 years, but served a mere eight years in a Scottish prison. On the dubious ground that prostate cancer left Megrahi with less than three months to live, MacAskill granted Megrahi “compassionate” release in 2009. The son of the late Moammar Khadafy flew the terrorist home to a hero’s welcome on a tarmac in Tripoli, where Scotland’s worst mass murderer lived into 2012. [RB: That son's account of the "hero's welcome" can be read here.] Salmond explained, “Sometimes someone has to break the cycle of retribution with an act of compassion.” It’s a shame his Scottish National Party doesn’t feel the same way about Great Britain.

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