In the last days of World War II, Adolph Hitler and his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, killed themselves in the Fuhrer Bunker to avoid being held accountable for the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis during that long and deadly war. Nazi war crimes were committed under direct orders from Hitler, but the Fuhrer was aided and abetted in his crimes by the propaganda of Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels was Hitler’s mouthpiece throughout the war. Had Hitler and Goebbels survived the conflagration they created, they would no doubt have been tried for war crimes and hung like so many of their followers.

Fast-forward to the present. Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 911 attacks on America, was executed by U.S. Navy Seals. As a war criminal, bin Laden’s execution by the U.S. military was both just and appropriate. As an enemy combatant, bin Laden was dealt with in the proper way. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for his son-in-law. Bin Laden’s mouthpiece for the dastardly acts committed on 911 was his son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith. Abu Ghaith served the same purpose for Osama bin Laden that Joseph Goebbels served for Adolph Hitler, and like Goebbels he agreed with everything his boss did. Like his father-in-law, Abu Ghaith is an admitted enemy combatant involved up to his neck in the 911 attacks, and proud of it. Consequently, when captured he should have been executed by a firing squad or hung by the neck like the war criminals of World War II.

However, thanks to President Obama and his Attorney General, the just resigned Eric Holder, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, once captured, was treated like a civilian criminal rather than a war criminal. Because of this, he was afforded all of the rights and protections given to an American citizen charged with a crime. Rather than face a firing squad or the hangman’s noose as he should have, Abu Ghaith was brought to New York for trial. Although he was given a life sentence, Abu Ghaith is clearly the winner in this case. Throughout the trial he spat out his contempt for the judicial process, the judge, and America. Throughout the trail he threatened the judge and the prosecutor. Upon being sentenced, he made it clear that the United States would pay a heavy price for his incarceration.   More on his threats later.

War criminals are not your run-of-the-mill criminals. They are not bank robbers, muggers, counterfeiters, or even murders. They are enemy combatants who have either committed atrocities or aided and abetted in the commission of atrocities. Further, they do not have to wear uniforms to be considered enemy soldiers. War criminals should not be afforded the luxury of a civilian trail as if they are charged with nothing more than holding up a convenience store. Rather, they should be subjected to a military tribunal and, if the evidence against them is sufficient, shot or hung. Such is the case with Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, son-in-law of Osama bin Laden. Abu Ghaith should never have been brought to trial in New York, and his sentence should have been the same one administered to his father-in-law.

Consider what a life sentence means to Abu Ghaith. In the first place, it is not likely that he will be incarcerated for life. Just ask the five Al Qaeda operatives President Obama traded for an American soldier who is probably a traitor. In the second place, Abu Ghaith is correct in what he told the judge who sentenced him to life in prison. There will be a backlash from the Muslim world, not just when he goes to prison, but potentially every day he is in prison. Finally, and worst of all, prison will afford Abu Ghaith ample opportunities to recruit converts to Al Qaeda. Prisons are filled with men seething with resentment over their incarceration and who will welcome an opportunity for retribution against the country that locked them up. In other words, prisons are fertile breeding grounds for future Muslim terrorists, and Abu Ghaith is an articulate, determined recruiter. Many of the men he will come in contact with in prison will be released in time to undertake terrorist acts against America. All the judge did by giving Abu Ghaith a life sentence is give him a lifetime to seek vengeance by proxy against the United States.