April 04, 2011
NYC Letter: The Incapable Messiah VII
Day 804 of CHOPE
As President, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act, and adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists.
These posts just write themselves. Here's the by now familiar storyline: Big talk. Policy confusion. Public fumbles. Pity-party. Walk-back, back-pedal. Back-page vindication of John Ashcroft.
KHALID SHEIKH MOHAMMAD
WON'T BE TRIED IN NEW YORK CITY,
BUT AT GUANTANAMO BAY
April 4, 2011 (VVox)
WASHINGTON April 4, 2011 (NYT) - The Obama administration, ending more than a year of indecision with a major policy reversal, will prosecute Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other people accused of plotting the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks before a military commission and not a civilian court, as it once planned.
Team Barry -- against the Military Commissions Act before they were for it. The WSJ does the carve-up.
Eric Holder Adopts The Bush Anti-terror Architecture.
April 5, 2011 (WSJ) - The Obama Administration did a full spinning reversal with a triple twist yesterday on its plans to prosecute terrorists... We were going to applaud the Administration for sticking the national security dismount, but then we saw Attorney General Eric Holder grouse through his press conference and say that he only took this step because Congress made him do it.
... For the record, we assume Mr. Holder is referring to the likes of New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and the Democrats who ran the Congress last year and passed a law that blocked the funding for civilian trials for Guantanamo detainees. ... And yesterday Mr. Schumer called the decision the "final nail in the coffin of that wrong-headed idea."
... Mr. Holder's twist number two—that the delays in trying KSM are also Congress's fault—is especially rich because Mr. Holder first proposed to try the mass killer in New York as long ago as November 2009. The public and Congress immediately revolted, but Mr. Holder refused to bend...
... Mr. Holder's third twist was to assert that he and President Obama still intend to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. But if that ever happens, Mr. Holder will be long gone. Yesterday's Gitmo climb-down came after the Supreme Court rejected appeals from three Guantanamo detainees challenging their indefinite detention. If no other country will take them, the detainees have nowhere else to go.
... Someone should write the headline: Holder vindicates Ashcroft, as in Mr. Bush's first AG. Or how about: Current State Department Counselor Harold Koh vindicates John Yoo, the much-maligned Bush Justice Department official whose views on Presidential power have also been increasingly adopted by Team Obama.
Somehow we doubt we'll hear the same moral denunciations we once heard about Mr. Bush's policies.
Cue Mr. Yoo:
It has taken two years for the Obama administration to snap out of its never-never land approach to national security. But by announcing a reversal on their plans for civilian trials of terrorists including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, they are implicitly confessing that their campaign attacks on the Bush administration were wrong and that decisions like opening Gitmo and military commission trials are the best balance of security needs and protections for liberty.
Shortly after the DOJ changed the Khalid venue to Manhattan, the New Yorker published one of its trademark political valentines for Eric Holder. After working our way through the stupid, hateful, wrong-headed opposition, we arrive at the article's delicious creme filling:
On January 11th, a few weeks before his plans for a trial at Foley Square fell apart, Holder flew to Boston, to preside over the installation of a new U.S. Attorney. That evening, he returned to Washington in the Justice Department’s Gulfstream jet. Holder, who had jokingly lamented that such perks wouldn’t last forever—"I’m missing it already!"—sat down, put on headphones, and blasted one of his favorite songs, Jimi Hendrix’s "Purple Haze." Holder, who is fifty-nine, seemed determined not to let the tensions of Washington politics poison his mood. He was equally determined not to capitulate on the idea of holding a 9/11 trial. "I don’t apologize for what I’ve done," he told me at one point.
"History will show that the decisions we’ve made are the right ones."
Holder said that he regarded trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a courtroom as "the defining event of my time as Attorney General."
Why wait on history? Whatever your view, Mr. Holder, having decided both ways, has obviously made at least one very wrong decision. If you weep, Mr. Holder has denied Mr. Khalid & co. the legal goodies served up in American courts. If you live in the real world, Mr. Holder advanced -- on behalf of Mr. Obama -- a half-assed show trial to impress the civil libertarians in Al Qaeda.
Hope and same. What is that mushed up? Come on. You know. Say it.
Eric Holder defined. Donkey.
[Hat tip: Instapundit for the play on "Hope and Change"]
* The obligatory dateline note. American Rhetoric incorrectly gives the year of the address as 2006. The date shown above is correct.