Holder: Only The Crime Determines Terrorist Rights
In today's DailyBriefing, the first item highlighted is Attorney General Eric Holder saying that Usama bin Laden has the same rights as Charles Manson. What he actually said is far worse than that, as you will hear in the first minute of the video clip of his testimony below. The Attorney General's exchange with Texas Representative John Culberson is eye-opening for those who have napped through the dissolution of the Artist Formerly Known As The War on Terror (aka. Overseas Contingency Operations).
Eric Holder holds that the rights that should be afforded to terrorists who have declared war on the United States and executed their mayhem and killed Americans are to be based on their crime, not upon their citizenship status or the fact that they are enemy combatants at war. Simply astounding.
HOLDER: The comparison to 'are they getting more rights than the American citizen' is not an apt one. The question is are they being treated as murderers are treated? And the answer to that is yes. They have the same rights as a Charles Manson would have, any other kind of mass murderer. Those are the types of comparisons people should be making when trying make the determination about how terrorists are being treated, and not compare them to average citizens who have created no harm, have committed no crimes.
CULBERSON: You said that terrorists have the same rights as Charles Manson, correct?
HOLDER: I said that murderers have the same rights as Charles Manson. And if these people are charged with murder, then in essence, that's - those are the kinds of rights that they would get.
CULBERSON: Terrorists who have murdered American citizens - and the approach of your Department of Justice is that they would have the same rights as Charles Manson?
HOLDER: In the sense that a murderer has the right to go before a jury and get the acts that he is charged with proved beyond a reasonable doubt? Yes.
CULBERSON: So, therefor, Usama bin Laden has the same rights as Charles Manson.
HOLDER: In some ways, I think that they're comparable people in some ways, uh...CULBERSON: That's incredible. This is where the disconnect between this administration, and your mindset, is so completely, uh, opposite that of where the vast majority of the American people are.
Holder went on to say that bin Laden would be killed rather than captured alive, that Miranda rights would be "read to the corpse of bin Laden." First, it is true enough that it is highly unlikely that bin Laden would be captured alive. However, such a statement by the top American justice official smacks of predetermination and hypocrisy similar to the pronouncement that there is no way Khalid Sheikh Muhammed would ever be found not guilty. One simply cannot have it both ways.
Citizenship and the context of war and and captured enemies in that war have no bearing on the rights of the captured. The only consideration is the crime.
If you're like me, you're just about speechless.
UPDATE: For amusement purposes, here is a particularly tickler of a headline for you in the aftermath of criticism - such as my own above.
The world and reality are turned on their heads.