Originally created 09/15/99

Coddling terrorists



Even though it has been known for weeks that President Clinton offered clemency to 16 Puerto Rican terrorists, and for several days that most would accept, it is still mind-boggling to realize 14 have actually been freed and are now pushing their radical "independence" agenda on television network interview shows.

The radicals are members of the murderous Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN), responsible for 130 bombings in the U.S. that killed six and wounded dozens of others from 1974-1983.

Even though Clinton had been petitioned for thousands of clemencies since he took office in 1993, he OK'd only four until this batch came along.

If he thought it would help his wife's planned bid for the New York Senate, it has backfired.

On the eve of the releases Clinton stubbornly defended clemency on grounds the 16 terrorists were serving time -- not for murder or maiming -- but on lesser sedition and weapons convictions and that they'd served more than enough time for that.

Yes, and Al Capone was convicted on tax evasion, but that was no reason not to keep him in prison for life. The convicts' renunciation of violence that Clinton attached to clemency was, at best, perfunctory -- and so far there has not been a scintilla of remorse!

One of the freed prisoners, Ricardo Jimenez, when asked by NBC's Tim Russert if he regretted FALN's killings and maimings, said, "In anything that has happened, the precaution that we've always taken is the preservation of human life -- you know, we're deeply sorry that other things have happened contrary to that."

What's that mumbo-jumbo mean? It's certainly not regret. The families of those six dead Americans, not to mention blinded and injured victims, cannot be much impressed with the "precautions" FALN took -- unless it was the usual precautions taken by criminals to get away with their crimes.

Nothing can be done about the released terrorists now except to note -- as the U.S. House did with a 311-41 vote -- the dangerous hypocrisy of President Clinton denouncing law-abiding gun-owners as potential terrorists while he lets real bombers and killers loose to prey on the public.

Every presidential candidate of both parties opposed the terrorists' release except one: Vice President Al Gore. "I'm not going to stand in judgment," the lackey veep said about the decision that even his boss' wife wouldn't stand by.

Is this how Gore "distances" himself from Clinton?