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Are Americans too vengeful?

Claudia Bradshaw Claudia Bradshaw | 10:44 UK time, Monday, 9 August 2010

Cardinal Keith O'BrienThe leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, has waded in to the debate about the release of the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, saying the US is too focused on retribution.

Defending the decision to release Megrahi, who has cancer, the Cardinal describes the row as a "clash of cultures" comparing Scotland's "culture of compassion" to the "culture of vengeance" America has in its concept of justice. Citing the use of the death penalty in the US, he says it is 'only outdone by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and China'.

Commenting in the Scotsman MJ Oneill disagrees:

Americans are rightly outraged at the injustice of a convicted terrorist released on the advice of one medical official amid dubious circumstances only to return to his native country to be celebrated as a hero.

But Jim Swire who's daughter died in the attack says he is sure that if tried in the United States, Megrahi would have been:

judicially executed by a system which operates perilously close to the doctrine that might is right, and that truth can be bought.

The American Catholic blog says the Cardinal is making a fool of himself and questions if compassion had anything to with freeing Mr Megrahi.

And although Thomas agrees with the Cardinal:

From our draconian prison system to our recent invasion of central Asia, one of America's primary driving forces (second only to the profit motive) has been a lust for revenge.

These people certainly don't:
Mack: The Cardinal has no mercy for the victims, only for the murderers.
JJ: All we want is an eye for 200 eyes...
The Original: The first time a murderer has compassion on someone who he/she decides to murder will be the first time I show a murder compassion. Not until then.

What do you think? Are Americans too vengeful?

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