Though it is a piece of superficiality worthy of People magazine, the Washington Post's account of the process by which Eric Holder came to make his decision to try war criminals in federal court is a remarkable--if inadvertent--revelation of just how much, despite their vastly disparate backgrounds, the attorney general resembles his coolly remote boss, the president. As his boss has chosen to do with respect to Afghanistan, so Mr. Holder solicited the opinions of a veritable army to help him "wrestle" with his responsibility:
He ordered top federal prosecutors in four districts -- the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, Brooklyn and Manhattan -- to present by Oct. 1 their recommendations on how to proceed, and sought input from military prosecutors who had sole control over the cases for years. . . . He consulted with intelligence experts within the Justice Department, the national security division and the solicitor general's office. He kept in continual phone contact with Jeh Johnson, the general counsel of the Defense Department, and deputy Bill Lynn, the Pentagon's point man on detainees. . . . He twice listened to presentations by the top prosecutors in Alexandria and Manhattan, who appeared side by side in the secret command center in the department headquarters and lobbied him to send the era's biggest terrorism case to their office.
He sought and got the nod as well from New York's Governor Paterson, Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Senator Schumer, the U.S. Marshalls Service, and Lindsey "Cap and Trade" Graham. And unlike Mr. Obama, whose stuttering impotence on Afghanistan and appeasement of dictatorships on every continent is so worryingly evocative of the dark days of the Carter presidency, the attorney general was able to pull the trigger: "The decision on trials coalesced in Holder's mind Wednesday, at a White House principal's meeting attended by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and other top administration officials. But not until Thursday did Holder send a message to the president, then en route to Tokyo, that he had closed the thick briefing book on the cases." As for criticism, not a worry: "I'll just have to take my lumps, to the extent those are set in my way," he said.
But I think if people will, in a neutral and detached way, look at the decision that I have made today, understand the reasons why I made those decisions, and try to do something that's rare in Washington--leave the politics out of it and focus on what's in the best interest of this country--I think the criticism will be relatively muted.
And there you have it. The dispassion, the self-reverence, the blindness of the man, are marvelous to behold, and so perfectly reflect the president he so perfectly serves. "Neutral and detached" people shall "understand the reasons why" he made those decisions, shall see he has left "the politics out of it," and shall recognize what's right--something the rest of us, benighted and bellicose souls that we are, have never managed to do with respect to the disposition of those committing mass murders of Americans in their ongoing war against our civilization.
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