Eric Holder’s Disingenuous Whine

April 6, 2011

Eric Holder finally pulled the plug on civilian criminal trials for Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, but not before blaming Congress for forcing his hand. He can try to scapegoat Congress, but the fault lies squarely with Mr. Holder and the administration for whom he is employed.

I have previously posted about all the reasons why I thought this whole matter was bungled from the beginning.  Yesterday’s press conference was a transparent and ineffective bit of scapegoating. Benjamin Wittes summed it up nicely in a post he wrote yesterday:

“The whole press conference was designed to emphasize that this was not his choice, that Congress made him do it, and that he thinks a federal court trial was the right answer–the one consistent with both our values and our national security needs.”

“Sorry, I don’t buy it. An administration that would not fight for its policy preference, that dawdled so long that it gave the opposition time to rally against its policies, that announced New York as a trial venue and then didn’t move any defendants there, that sat on the question for a year without action, and that then would not even threaten a veto of the legislation which now requires this disposition does not get to complain about having its hands forced.”

Another point which everyone seems to now ignore is that Holder himself had already rendered any civilian trial meaningless, since he would not accept a not guilty verdict from a civilian criminal jury. As I previously posted:

“The most disturbing aspect of this case is that it apparently will accomplish nothing.  Holder stated for the record that “It’s hard for me to imagine a set of circumstances under which, if he were acquitted, he would be released into the United States. … There are other things that we have the capacity to do.”  He didn’t elaborate, but others in his office did, according to The New York Times: “Other Justice Department officials have said that even if Mr. Mohammed is acquitted, the Obama administration will keep him locked up forever as a “combatant” under the laws of war.”

Mr. Holder is worried about how our system of justice looks because we are not trying this terrorist in a federal civilian court.  How would it have looked if Mr. Mohammad was found not guilty by a jury, and yet was still incarcerated as an enemy combatant?

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