OK so I owe Kenny MacAskill an apology after having previously doubted his intestinal fortitude. He summoned up the courage to say no to the Americans. Of course, the American government was probably only going through the motions of protesting anyway. The truth is that they are quite happy to see the appeal procedure brought to an end by Megrahi's release on compassionate grounds because it might well have brought some of the truth behind the Lockerbie incident to light.
Still, you have to marvel at America's capacity for blind, unreasoning rage. It's fully on display here in this Comments page at the New York Times. These people have no interest in the facts. They don't care that Megrahi is almost certainly innocent. They just want someone to blame. Several announce that they'll be boycotting Scotland and Scottish products. And to think that Scottish politicians have sent Scottish soldiers to die alongside Americans in their senseless wars. Yet just releasing a dying man with a few weeks of life remaining to him provokes this bitter rancour.
It's easy to see where Bush drew his support from. And to think that this is America's most elite, highbrow newspaper, too. Unfortunately, this is also the kind of rabid animosity that has been defining world events for the decade or so and Scotland, Britain and Europe have been shamefully complicit in going along with it. The incident has yielded an important insight into the emotional well-springs of American policy in the world - and how utterly contemptible it is.