December 30, 2009

The Man Behind the Tendrils

Justin Katz

Andrew McCarthy's takedown of Attorney General Eric Holder is relevant for a number of topical reasons — the war on terror, generally, the strategy of treating the war like a criminal action, the decision to give terrorist masterminds access to the American civil courts, even as an international police organizations are freed from accountability. On a political level, though, this part ties in with something that I've found to be increasingly applicable across layers of government:

We have been at war with Islamist terrorists for over eight years now--about half as long as they have been at war with us. In that time, they have committed all manner of atrocities. But of the thousands of jihadists who have been killed, captured, or detained since 2001, the 9/11 plotters stand out. To submit them to the civilian justice system makes a mockery of the war, betrays its victims, and turns the American courts into a weapon by which the enemy can gather intelligence and broadcast propaganda. It is inconceivable that civilian trials would have been permitted in any previous American war. In those conflicts, war was understood as the military and diplomatic resolution of a geopolitical dispute, not the judicial disposition of a legal controversy.

But the Obama administration views the war as a legal matter. And its maneuvering to insulate the president from this unpopular ideological decision has been comically transparent: The president was, conveniently, en route to the Far East when Holder announced the civilian-court transfer; the White House maintains that the decision was a call for Holder alone to make (in fact, the attorney general has no authority to order war prisoners out of military custody--that's a presidential call); and Holder purports not to have consulted the commander-in-chief on this momentous matter, instead seeking the counsel of his wife and his brother.

To further the myth of a fully detached Obama, the administration projects a fully engaged Holder, hitting the books, agonizing for long hours over the most difficult decision of his career. But at the hearing, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) exploded the myth by asking the most elementary legal question: What is the precedent? "Can you give me a case in United States history," he asked, "where an enemy combatant caught on a battlefield was tried in civilian court?" After several seconds of excruciating silence, Holder stammered, "I don't know, I'd have to look at that." What, pray tell, has he been looking at, if not that? Senator Graham, an experienced Air Force lawyer, informed the nation's top law-enforcement official that there has been no such case.

Whether it be national administrative "czars" or state-level boards and commissions, this transfer of authority — at least as far as the public is led to believe — is an insidious thing. I find the elevation of a man like Holder to his current position disconcerting, but not as worrisome as the fact that he's clearly not an administrative rogue.


But while I'm quoting from the piece, here's part that's directly related to the decision about easing domestic restrictions on the International Criminal Police Organization:

Why invite all this when the 9/11 plotters were ready to plead guilty? On the campaign trail, Holder promised the Left a "reckoning." The new administration would hold the Bush administration to account for its purported crimes. Understanding the legal emptiness and political explosiveness of such a promise, however, Holder has been reluctant to do more than "investigate." Thus the restless international Left--which includes Obama's core of support--has exhorted the United Nations and foreign tribunals to invoke "universal jurisdiction" to bring war-crimes charges against Bush officials. In Europe this spring, Holder expressed his willingness to cooperate with such investigations, including one ongoing in Spain.

A civilian trial for KSM & Co. will be an unparalleled coup for these efforts--more so even than the mounds of classified memos Holder has already made public over the strenuous objections of current and former CIA directors. The Left's shock troops at the Center for Constitutional Rights, who worked on our enemies' behalf with many lawyers now staffing Holder's Justice Department, will exploit any new revelations to intensify calls for foreign prosecutions. The Obama administration will get credit for delivering on its promised reckoning but will avoid the political damage that would result if DOJ were to bring the case itself.

As I titled an earlier post: the noose tightens.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

I have no reason to differ with Justin's comments, but would offer the following.

It is difficult for Americans to come to grips with a war which opposes no particular nation state, an enemy which does not have a capital to capture and does not wear a recognizable uniform to identify them as combatants. With out heritage of "religous freedom" it is difficult to accept a "religious war". It seems difficult to conceptualize this as a war against Christiandom and not just the "Great Satan". To wage "religious war" is totally opposite to America's concept of itself.

To find "precedents" to guide us, we would probably have to return to the era of the Crusades. I am not anxious to do this.

Accepting my own premise, I do not expect "peace talks". There will be no compromise, there will be no surrender. We must find a more effective way to bring the war to them. We can not fade, we can not tire. This will be a long war.

We might give some consideration to the demise of the Mahdi in the 19th century. He led a Muslim uprising considerably larger than the present one. After the slaying of Chinese Gordon at Khartoum, the Mahdi essentially disappeared and his movement with him. Although the Koran predicts the Mahdi and describes his appearance, a mole on the cheek, a split in his teeth, etc. No one has made claim to the title.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at December 30, 2009 5:09 PM

Eric Holder is a terrorist enabler and a traitor going back to his days as Deputy AG under the feckless drunk Janet Reno.I am not making anything up.
Holder is the enemy.
Maybe the US had reached the point where it was a very good idea to have a Black AG.Obama could've picked Wayne Budd,who was US Attorney for Massachusetts under Bush 1 and a member of the US Sentencing Commission under Clinton.A true professional and patriot.
But,no-Obama picked a real scumbag.Kind of a reflection of himself.
This government sucks!!

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 30, 2009 6:29 PM

Old trick! Throw out some red meat and sure enough a couple of snarling dogs will appear.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at December 30, 2009 7:44 PM

Joe, I knew Wayne, if you scratched the surface a bit you might get a surprise.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at December 30, 2009 7:45 PM

Good boy, OldTimeLefty.

Posted by: Justin Katz at December 30, 2009 7:55 PM

Well,Warrington,so did I,although strictly in a job related sense-this was a long time ago.I think if you have something to say,please do so and dispense with inuendos.
I usually try to explain eaxctly why I don't like somebody.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 30, 2009 8:40 PM

OTL-I'd rather be a snarling dog than a purveyor of stale Trotskyite talking points.Whatever floats your boat I guess.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 30, 2009 8:42 PM

This government sucks!!

This from a man who recieves a pension check from the government. The snarling dog bites the hand that feeds him. Bad dog.

Posted by: Phil at December 31, 2009 6:49 AM


Katz had to change the subject from RI republicans ( and all their little groups) quickly. Check out the slap fight these partisans engaged in a few posts ago.

Posted by: Phil at December 31, 2009 7:40 AM

Phil-I receive a pension check from the government for having done my job which I got through an open competitive process.I also get a VA pension check for having gotten fairly well physically f**ked up as a result of serving in Vietnam.I won't apologize for either-to you or anyone else because neither is a handout.
I probably SHOULD have said this administration sucks.I am not an anti-government activist.I even believe in paying reasonable taxes.
I don't trust Obama and his cohorts and his allies running the House and Senate to provide adequate national security for this country.I don't trust them on immigration.I don't trust them not to try a massive 1st amendment crackdown and a similar 2nd amendment mass rights violation.
DO NOT mention George Bush to me .He sucked pretty bad also.
This attitude of mine isn't really related to the health care debate,about which I am confused.
I don't trust them not to bankrupt this country with spending initiaitves that are beyond our capacity to sustain without imposing extortionate taxes.
The government isn't the hand that feeds me-I put in something up front.(25 years all told)The small Social Security amount I get thanks to the WEP isn't enough to pay a speeding ticket.
My pension is smaller than that of many political hacks in our own state to be honest.
So am I a bad dog?No-an angry dog as would any dog who feels betrayed by the head of the household.
Happy New Year.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 31, 2009 7:49 AM

"Well,Warrington,so did I,although strictly in a job related sense-this was a long time ago.I think if you have something to say,please do so and dispense with inuendos.
I usually try to explain eaxctly why I don't like somebody."

Joe, I was involced in a divorce case with him some years ago (maybe 30) The best I can say is that he was not forthcoming and that effected his credibilty. Of course, most of his legal experience was in criminal law, that may have effected his befavior.

At this remove, I cannot be more specific. I was not impressed.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at December 31, 2009 4:08 PM


I believe you are entitled to your pension for having worked on our behalf. Thank you for clarifying the "government sucks" comment. Your concerns are valid. The anchor rising folks treat you with kid gloves while advocating wholesale reduction of wages and benefits to those who work for federal and state government. This you must know from reading the posts here. But they do not question you about the employment package that you operated under and still operate under. Joe, it is not your integrity but their's that I question. Happy New Year.

Posted by: Phil at December 31, 2009 6:37 PM

Phil-the Federal pension I retired under was replaced on 12/31/83 and anyone hired after that date is on a defined contributions plan.I started with the Border Patrol in 1976,so I was already hired under those conditions for awhile when things changed,
RI hasn't even attempted to address the public employee pension issue.
BTW have you ever looked into the pensions/health care packages for RI judges?And their surviving families?Obscene.
I've bumped heads with a few people here who are generally on my side of the fence when it came to public employees' unions.I really don't suppress my attitudes to fit a template.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 31, 2009 7:05 PM


I'm going to have to request that you substantiate your comment regarding our supposed advocacy for "wholesale reduction of wages and benefits to those who work for federal and state government."

Posted by: Justin Katz at December 31, 2009 7:07 PM

"I'm going to have to request that you substantiate your comment regarding our supposed advocacy for "wholesale reduction of wages and benefits to those who work for federal and state government."

Put it another way. If wishing to bring public sector wages and, particularly, benefits (i.e., pensions) more in line with those of the private sector can be interpreted as a "wholesale" reduction, then

a.) Yep. Guilty as charged.

b.) Doesn't that speak volumes as to the present level of public sector compensation?

P.S. Nice try lumping federal employees in with state. For one thing, federal employees stopped receiving defined benefit pensions twenty years ago.

Posted by: Monique at December 31, 2009 8:34 PM

Monique-I pointed that out above-1983,to be exact.
There are people in RI receiving as amny as three public pensions at once.I think it has something to do with former state legislators,although I think that's changed.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 31, 2009 10:21 PM

Warrington-I can't speak to anything that may have happened in a divorce proceeding thirty years ago.
I knew Mr.Budd by his work overseeing the New England OCDETF,an interagency drug task force on which I served for 9 years in various assignments.Mr.Budd managed the task force and the entire US Attorney's Office in Boston very well in my opinion.
The issue of race never came up.
Holder can't let it go for two consecutive days it seems.
Holder is a rodent and a scumbag.I think he has a bitterness and hatred toward this country.
Strange, because he's always attended the best schools and had a VERY nice life.Hell,this guy went to Stuyvesant,one of the best high schools in the USA.No ghetto dump for him.And yet he complains.
FWIW Michelle Obama has had a history of whining also.Except it doesn't really matter,because unlike the Hildebeast,she isn't trying to be co-President.She just wants to shop,mingle,and travel on our dime.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 1, 2010 7:08 AM
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