Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Rosenbergs and Closure

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/17/nyregion/17rosenbergs.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

I saw this headline and read the story in the NY Times and was pretty surprised.

The most major part of the story, I believe, was the decryption of the Soviet cables from New York to Moscow, which is only a minor footnote in this piece on the second page. That, coupled with the testimony of ex-KGB agents who have spoken frankly about the Rosenbergs' case since the fall of the former Soviet Union (and are somehow not mentioned in this article), long settled the twin issues of whether the Rosenbergs were really involved in espionage and how the U.S. government knew what it did.

It's never been entirely clear to me, though, where Ethel figured in (and the Greenglass testimony supports the idea of Julius but not Ethel being the real link to the Russkies).

The Mort Sobell confession only echoes what is already common knowledge, though somehow it seals the deal for the Rosenbergs' kids.

I'm against the death penalty so it doesn't matter whether you're Jeffrey Dahmer, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Julius Rosenberg, or Karla Faye Tucker -- I don't think the government ought to decide whether, or how, you will die.

That's one of the only truly unshakable beliefs I have, even if it puts me in a distinct minority of Americans (and even, amazingly, if it puts me in a minority among American Christians).

That fact alone gives me common cause with those who support certain causes celebres, but that's where I'll draw the line -- I definitely don't see anything 'cool' or 'heroic' about selling sensitive secrets to evil regimes or murdering police officers in Philadelphia.

2 comments:

kad barma said...

One solution might be enforcing the death penalty against anyone found guilty of having supported a death penalty in error, (we could all be required to vote on each execution), but that "two wrongs don't make a" thing springs to mind...

The inconsistency inherent in "christian" support for death penalties (and wars, for that matter) is the primary reason I've found it better for me not to attend church anymore. Though so many thump drums to the beat of our being a "christian" nation, those folks also seem incapable of concern for so many other things, including the fact that capital punishment against the mentally incompetent is restricted in only 18 of our 50 states. Heaven help us with the subtleties of executing innocent women who are guilty of little more than ultimate devotion to their husband.

The New Englander said...

Kad Barma,

Great points there. I think we could debate the wars thing a bit but as for the death penalty it just makes my skin crawl every time I think about George W. Bush mocking Karla Faye Tucker going to her execution while he was Texas Governor.

How does this supposedly *Christian* man take such glee in overseeing the premature end of another human's life?

Where is the mercy?

If Ms. Tucker posed some present danger to others around her, I think that would be totally different, but until she grows immune to bullets and barbed wire, she ain't escaping the holding tank.

-gp