Thursday, March 18, 2010

Holder Skelter!

Yesterday Attorney General Eric Holder testified before a Congressional subcommittee that in his opinion Charles Manson and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed deserved comparable treatment in America’s courts. During a House appropriations subcommittee hearing, Holder tried to counter Republican arguments that the administration wanted to stage civilian trials that would give alleged Sept. 11 plotters the same constitutional rights afforded to Americans.
“These defendants charged with murder would be treated just like any other murder defendants,” Holder said with evident exasperation. “The question is: Are they being treated as murderers would be treated? The answer to that question is, yes, they have the same rights that a Charles Manson would have.”

While Holder thought the Manson comparison would make Americans feel more comfortable with the idea of civilian trials for terrorism suspects, disagreed and sensed an opening.

“Osama bin Laden, in your opinion, has the same rights as Charles Manson?” [Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas)] asked.

“In some ways, I think they’re comparable people,” Holder said.
(“Eric Holder: Osama bin Laden won't be brought in alive”).
Debra Burlingame, Liz Cheney’s partner at Keep America Safe, told Politico that KSM’s trial wouldn’t be anything like Manson’s.

“Putting Charlie Manson in a civilian court didn’t endanger any intelligence secrets,” she said. “When he draws analogies like that, that’s when he loses people. It appears as if he doesn’t know we’re at war.” (Liz Cheney group to Eric Holder: 'We're at war').
Even more remarkable was Holder’s triple gainer on Miranda warnings and treating our enemies with unswerving devotion to the rule of law.
As the Examiner’s Byron York recounts, Holder — assuring Congress that he was not “dodging” questions about Miranda warnings for enemy combatants — dodged madly. Cornered, he insisted to Rep. John Culberson (R., Texas) that there was no need to answer the question of whether Osama bin Laden would be Mirandized on capture because . . . he won’t be captured. Holder guaranteed that bin Laden would instead be killed: “We will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama bin Laden,” Holder said. “He will never appear in an American courtroom.”

Now, it’s certainly possible that bin Laden could be killed, as Zarqawi was killed, by an aerial attack. But major al-Qaeda figures have often been captured: KSM, Hambali, Zubayda, et al. If a combatant is disarmed or surrenders, the laws of war require that the we accept that surrender, that we capture rather than kill. Is Holder — who cavalierly accused the Bush administration of war crimes — now suggesting that we refuse to give quarter when quarter is sought? Is he suggesting that we kill someone who has been rendered defenseless?
(“This Corpse Has the Right to Remain Silent”).

1 comment:

Wendy Woodley said...

"Holder Skelter...." That's a great title, TR, and SO appropriate. It's absolutely frightening that this man is the A/G.