The Holder decision

I saw Jim Lehrer interview Attorney General Eric Holder this evening on his shocking decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in federal criminal court in New York City. Holder has a thoughtful and serious manner, and he explains his decision process so plausibly he almost makes you forget the evil and insanity of what he’s talking about. As for Lehrer, he asked Holder every kind of question, except the most important question: WHY did he choose to try KSM and the others in criminal court instead before a military commission? What is his justification for this?

But I have other questions, not about Obama and Holder, but about their predecessors. It’s been seven years since KSM was arrested in Pakistan. Why didn’t the Bush administration in all those years try him before a military commission, execute him and be done with him? Why did they leave his situation, and that of the other al Qaeda prisoners, in limbo? The reason Obama is now in a position to impose on America the horror of a criminal trial of the 9/11 mastermind in New York City is that Bush and his attorneys general never resolved the issue. They never gave the public a clear, understandable explanation of what the U.S. policy and rationale were regarding the Guantanamo prisoners. If it was the case that they simply had to be confined for life, because they were too dangerous to release, Bush & Co. should have said that. Instead, they were inarticulate and evasive about the whole thing. This opened the door for the Democrats to be continually suspicious and outraged about Guantanamo, and for Obama and Holder to be doing what they’re doing now.

For the first time in American history, we have an openly anti-American president. And let’s be clear: the first openly anti-American president is also the first nonwhite president. That is not a coincidence. Obama and Holder, being race-conscious nonwhites, do not and cannot identify with this historically white country. Their impulse is not to defend it and build it up, but to betray it and tear it down.

- end of initial entry -

Michael Jose writes:

Relating to this posting:

The problem with Bush and military tribunals is that people were scared that the military tribunals would be nothing more than kangaroo courts and that American citizens might be subjected to them. The other fear was that allowing the government to hold people as “enemy combatants,” either as POWs or unlawful combatants, in a situation like this (as opposed to, say, a traditional war like World War II with well-defined boundaries) was a blank check for indefinite detention (“Mr. Auster, your comments about the intelligence of blacks makes you a suspect for racist activity. We will be holding you indefinitely as a P.O.W. until the “war on hate” is won, which will only happen once we are convinced that we have shut down all hate organizations.”) The fear boiled down to giving the government arbitrary power to detain and imprison.

The problem with not oinly Bush but most of the people who defended him is that they never dealt with these issues. With maybe a few exceptions, they did not attmpet to assure peopel that the trials would be fair, or that there would not be arbitrary arrests, by explaining the procedures invovled and explaining where the safeguards were. They either (a) said “Terrorism! Nukes! Booga booga booga!” or (b) “Trust us, we’d never abuse our power,” or in some cases (c) suggested that anyone we capture should be held “just in case.” (Talk-show host Mike Gallagher once basically said that the fact that some people released from Guantanamo were found to fight against us later in the battlefield shows that no one who is put in Guantanamo should ever be let out for any reason).

The biggest problem is that very few people who wanted military tribunals, etc. ever bothered to reassure anyone that there were or needed to be safeguards to protect the innocent.

LA replies:

I agree that Bush and his people were terrible—that’s an understatement, they were AWOL—on explaining their policy for the prisoner enemy combattants.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 14, 2009 12:18 AM | Send

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