Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Some thoughts regarding AG Holder

Let me begin by saying I had hoped Eric Holder would have been a competent Attorney General, given the gravity of the Gitmo detainees awaiting their trials. After all, the man came into an administration that, on the campaign trail, had not only vowed to close Gitmo, but to usher these detainees through the tribunal process.

So color me unimpressed by his decision to try KSM and three of his confederates in federal court. After watching his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I'm even more non-plussed with him. While he enjoyed the softball questions from Democrats, the substantive questions from the Republican members of the committee flummoxed him. He treated their questions like they were journalist-inspired "gotcha" questions. There is nothing "gotcha" about Senator Lindsey Graham challenging AG Holder to name one case where an enemy combatant has been tried in federal court. There is nothing "gotcha" in Senator Graham asking AG Holder that if we were to get Osama bin Ladin tomorrow, would he be mirandized?

What I witnessed in these proceedings is the incompetence of a man that either A) Doesn't know what his job entails; B) Is overwhelmed by the job; or C) Is treating his job much in the same vein that Barry is treating his.

We've already seen AG Holder's thoughts on the "rule of law" when he dropped the voter intimidation case against the Black Panthers in Philadelphia. He refused to pursue that case and never fully answered the questions as to why he didn't want to pursue it. What I saw this past week in his testimony was the same sort of rambling answers about trying the 9-11 plotters in federal court as we saw in him explaining why there would be no prosecution for the Black Panthers.

In short, there was no there there. His answers were as empty as his suit (and apparently his head).

Eric Holder is the Attorney General for the United States of America. He knew this issue -- the detainee tribunals -- would be the biggest challenge he faced when he was confirmed by the Senate. And in his testimony, he claimed to have not been briefed by his staff or fellow lawyers in the Justice Department. That, folks, is a cop out. As Attorney General it's his job to know as much about these cases as possible. Yes, the military should be handling the prosecution, but in AG Holder's "infinite legal wisdom" he has chosen to give them their day in court.

This sets a dangerous precedent. We have never tried an enemy combatant in federal court. It's simply not the venue to prosecute these people in. They are combatants in a war -- whether legal or illegal combatants doesn't matter. In giving them the federal court avenue of prosecution, they'll be entitled to the same rights we, as citizens, have. (I actually had a debate with someone who stated that we have done this before, in the case of the soldiers charged with murder for the Boston Massacre. The problem with that logic is that: A) The soldiers were tried under British law, and B) America wasn't an independent nation at the time, hence the trial under British law. In short, I still stand by my statement in that debate that the Framers are rolling over in their graves at this idiocy from AG Holder.)

The only person who can stop this insane idea is the president, and we don't see Barry forcing AG Holder to change his mind. Why? Because both men feel that this is the right thing to do. This trial will take years to prepare and execute. Worse, AG Holder feels that a jury can return a guilty verdict. (Of course, any sane person on the jury would return a guilty verdict given the admissions of these men already. However, we have a system of justice that one is innocent until proven guilty, and KSM and company now have that same burden of proof to be established.) What we find appalling about AG Holder's statements (and the statement from Barry) is that even if they're found not guilty, they're not going anywhere. Are you kidding me? First you claim that they'll receive justice in our court system, then you say even if a jury returns a not guilty verdict, these men won't be set free?

Was it the Justice Department's overall goal to put on a show trial?

This decision is a disaster from the word go. AG Holder should be urged to reevaluate his decision. These men should be tried under the military tribunals, set up by the Congress, and approved by President Bush; the same tribunals the Supreme Court urged the administration to enact. The system is in place, and the Justice Department should follow the guidelines laid out.

Publius II

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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November 20, 2009 at 8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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November 21, 2009 at 10:48 AM  

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