Beslan Terrorist...or 'Renegade'?

July 11th, 2006 3:08 PM

The top of the New York Times website was odd on Tuesday morning, as its top story on the architect of butchery in Beslan was "Caucusus Renegade Dies, And His Cause May Die, Too." Renegade? The copy underneath was almost value-neutral: "Shamil Basayev's death was the latest of almost two years of setbacks for his separatist faction in Chechnya." The actual story by C. J. Chivers has everything the home page did not, at least. Wow, this is not a typical New York Times first paragraph:

In a long and notorious career, Shamil Basayev, the elusive terrorist leader of the most vicious separatist faction in Chechnya, was an airplane hijacker, a hostage taker, a guerrilla commander and a war-scarred spokesman for terror who tried to justify mass killings of civilians, even school children, for political ends and revenge.