Just what does a guy have to do to get treated like a bona fide terrorist in this country?
Eric Rudolph pleaded guilty Wednesday to bombings that killed and maimed, thereby dodging the death penalty.
Not that I'm suddenly switching over in favor of state-sanctioned execution, but it does seem inconsistent that this administration's Justice Department agreed to trade away a death-penalty case - especially against a murderous radical terrorist.
As the feds see it, terrorism is defined as "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience."
Under those terms, can Eric Rudolph be anything less than a terrorist?
His radical views were spelled out in an 11-page statement he issued after striking the plea agreement (although prior to this, his motivations weren't too hard to discern).
Two of Rudolph's bombings, targeting women's clinics, expressed his anti-abortion politics. From his "manifesto:"
You so-called 'Pro-Life,' 'good Christian people' who [say] that I am a 'murderer,' that 'two wrongs don't make a right,' that even though 'abortion is murder, those who would use force to stop the murder are morally the same,' I say to you that your lies are transparent [Is] promoting democracy in the Middle East more weighty for waging war than the systematic murder of your own citizens?
Rudolph also bombed a lesbian nightclub, his stand against homosexuality. His manifesto explained:
when the attempt is made to drag this practice out of the closet and into the public square in an 'in your face' attempt to force society to accept and recognize this behavior as legitimate and normal , every effort should be made, including force if necessary, to halt this effort.
And what prompted Rudolph's detonations at Atlanta's 1996 Olympics? Well, this was practically a two-fer.
[E]ven though the purpose of the Olympics is to promote these despicable ideals [of global socialism], the purpose of the attack was to confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government in the eyes of the world for its abominable sanctioning of abortion on demand.
As for his deal with prosecutors, Rudolph maintained they feared that "in at least one [southern] jurisdiction they were going to run into this recalcitrant pro-life juror who would hang the jury and deliver a political defeat and embarrassment to Washington's efforts to make an example out of the person who assaulted their specially protected policy of child murder."
On this point, Rudolph may not be all that wacky - which makes the government's uncharacteristic softness on terrorist acts something of a win for the politics of abortion.
No sane person could claim that Eric Rudolph's overzealous brand of Christianity in any way represents the faith - just as Muslim extremist suicide bombers don't represent Islam - but make no mistake: Eric Rudolph is a Christian terrorist.