Confronted with the prospect of the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the U.S. in a letter just made public basically said: oh, pooh.

 The passive U.S. response to Scotland’s outrageous proposal is being made public, and it is just appalling. Scottish authorities viewed the U.S.  response as “half-hearted.”The letter was from Richard LeBaron, deputy head of the U.S. embassy in London, to Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond. You decide:

If a decision were made by Scotland to grant conditional release, two conditions would be very important to the Unites States and would partially mitigate the concerns of the American victims’ families. First, any such release should only come after the results of independent and comprehensive medical exams clearly establishing that Megrahi’s life expectancy is less than three months. The results of these exams should be made available to the Unites States and the families of the victims of Pan Am 103. The justification of releasing Megrahi on compassionate grounds would be more severely undercut the longer he is free before his actual death.

Second, the United States would strongly oppose any release that would permit Megrahi to travel outside of Scotland. We believe that the welcoming reception that Megrahi might receive if he is permitted to travel abroad would be extremely inappropriate given Megrahi’s conviction for a heinous crime that continues to have a deep and profound impact on so many. As such, compassionate release or bail should be conditioned on Megrahi remaining in Scotland

Abe Greenwald has an excellent piece on the “watery wink-and-nod ‘objection'” by the U.S. to the release.  

 Here is a brief description of the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 243 passengers, 16 crew members, and 11 people on the ground in Scotland.

 What about compassion for those who lose a friend or relative in the Lockerbie bombing? And what about a virtue that is, in my opinion, far more important than compassion: justice?