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January 23, 2007
Baader-Meinhof Gangsters Coming Up For Parole

Germany has some tough decisions to make over the next few years regarding their own home-grown terrorists of another age. The Baader-Meinhof Group leaders still alive and in prison have now started becoming eligible for parole, and the Germans have to decide whether to choose mercy or justice:

Now Germany has to decide if it should make its peace with the terrorists of the 1970s. The Baader-Meinhof Gang — later known as the Red Army Faction — killed 34 people, many of them members of the political and business elite.

The State, the police and the judiciary reacted with surprising ferocity, imposing years of solitary confinement on some of the captured terrorists.

It is an issue that still divides German society. Many politicians came to maturity during the 1968 student revolt or the years of ideological terrorism that it spawned. Liberal leaders, such as the Green deputy Antje Vollmer, say that even Nazi war criminals have not had to serve the lengths of the sentences handed down to the Baader-Meinhof followers. Other politicians and relatives of the victims say that there can be no forgiveness.

Mohnhaupt and her fellow killer Christian Klar were hardcore members of the gang. Besides killing Mr Ponto, they also shot dead the West German prosecutor-general Siegfried Buback and abducted, tortured and killed Hanns-Martin Schleyer, head of the West German Employers’ Federation.

Baader-Meinhof always captured a segment of the popular culture that may seem strange to those who did not grow up in that era. Today, we have a much clearer moral picture of terrorists, the criminals who prey on unarmed civilians in order to advance their political agendas. We understand that such people are nothing but craven cowards who killed and tortured people in order to impose a vision of society that most rejected.

Well, at least some of us have learned that lesson. It appears that the same leftists who either became apologists for Baader-Meinhof or active supporters still make excuses for these despicable individuals who spent six weeks torturing a businessman for the crime of making a living, and then shot him in the head at the end. German Justice Minister Klaus Kinkel, who has been somewhat enraptured by these brutal murderers, says that anyone who serves 24 years in prison should have the chance to return to society.

No, they shouldn't. They served that many years in prison because they killed people, quite a few of them, and did it in cold blood. Such terrorists should never see the light of day, let alone be granted a parole hearing. The mere suggestion that old terrorists should be mainstreamed back into society represents a suicide wish. What will happen when they get released? Klar and Mohnhaupt would start making appearances on talk shows and lecture circuits, reliving their glory days when an entire continent lived in fear of their next strike at society. Their release will do more to promote terrorism as a means to a political end than ten tapes from Ayman al-Zawahiri.

If we want to put an end to terrorism, then we have to put an end to terrorists. If we reject the death penalty, as I do, then that means locking them away forever so that they fade from memory. If we allow them to mainstream back into society, they will breed even more terrorism, and the rest of us will pay for the romantic nonsense of a generation that has afflicted Western thought for decades.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 23, 2007 4:58 AM

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