Rahm's Method of Politicizing DOJ

The NYT has an account of how Rahm and Jim Messina tried to give Eric Holder a minder a year ago.

Last winter, when Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. called the United States a “nation of cowards” for avoiding frank conversations on race, President Obama mildly rebuked him in public.

Out of view, Mr. Obama’s aides did far more. Rahm Emanuel and Jim Messina, the White House chief and deputy chief of staff, proposed installing a minder alongside Mr. Holder to prevent further gaffes — someone with better “political antennae,” as one administration official put it.

When he heard of the proposal at a White House meeting, Mr. Holder fumed; soon after, he confronted his deputy, David W. Ogden, who knew of the plan but had not alerted his boss, according to several officials. Mr. Holder fought off the proposal, signaling that his job was about the law, not political messaging.

Now, the NYT portrays this as the White House–or rather, Rahm–deciding Eric Holder lacks the political chops to defend the policies he espouses.

But something else is going on, as well. It’s an example of the way in which Rahm has attempted–and, at times, succeeded–in forcing policy positions onto DOJ by gaming the press.

Consider the clip above, in which Rahm stated “those who devised the policy, [Obama] believes they should not be prosecuted either.” At the time, it was taken as a definitive statement from the Administration that there would be no torture prosecutions. Yet Rahm’s statement went far further than the Obama statement that Rahm references.

In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution. The men and women of our intelligence community serve courageously on the front lines of a dangerous world. Their accomplishments are unsung and their names unknown, but because of their sacrifices, every single American is safer. We must protect their identities as vigilantly as they protect our security, and we must provide them with the confidence that they can do their jobs.

Going forward, it is my strong belief that the United States has a solemn duty to vigorously maintain the classified nature of certain activities and information related to national security. This is an extraordinarily important responsibility of the presidency, and it is one that I will carry out assertively irrespective of any political concern. Consequently, the exceptional circumstances surrounding these memos should not be viewed as an erosion of the strong legal basis for maintaining the classified nature of secret activities. I will always do whatever is necessary to protect the national security of the United States.

This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke. We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history. But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past. Our national greatness is embedded in America’s ability to right its course in concert with our core values, and to move forward with confidence. That is why we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future. [my emphasis]

While Obama does deride “laying blame for the past,” his very own statement addresses the prosecution solely of those who relied on the torture memos, not those who ordered them up. Yet, by going on a Sunday show, Rahm seeded an assumption that went beyond the President’s own decision. And, just as importantly, assumed decision making powers that belong to the Attorney General.

As it happened, there was a lot of pushback against Rahm when he did this last year. And Holder was able, over the course of the following four months, to actually make a decision on prosecutions on his own (though the actual investigation appears to have fallen down the memory hole). But it is an example where Rahm publicly mis-stated White House policy and created the appearance that Obama had already decided to support Rahm’s position in a policy fight that was ongoing.

Usually when doing this, Rahm works less transparently. Consider the rumors coming at document dump time on January 29–late on a Friday evening–that the Administration had already decided to move the KSM trial from NYC. We know that decision still has not yet been made (I would presume that it will be moved from NYC, though I think there’s still a chance it’ll be a civilian trial). Yet the leaks saying the decision had already been made dramatically altered conventional wisdom about what will happen, making it much more likely that the trial will be moved. Whoever started that leak–and I would bet it came from someone close to Rahm–undercut the authority of Eric Holder even before Obama decided to reconsider Holder’s decision.

So it’s not necessarily that Holder is a political naïf (as the NYT article suggests). Holder can brawl with the best of them, when given a chance. But not only have the guys who are in charge of advocating for Obama’s positions made no effort to sell Holder’s policy decisions, they have systematically undercut those decisions at a number of key moments.

Rahm has made it such that it matters little what Holder’s decisions as Attorney General are. By creating the appearance of what the decisions are, Rahm has been successful, at key moments, in usurping the authority of the Attorney General.

Yes, Obama has let this happen. But that’s as much a structural issue (letting policy partisans like Rahm and Axelrod pick and choose which battles to fight publicly) as it is a policy one. Ultimately, though, given the possibility Rahm will force Holder into accepting military commissions that are much less likely to result in a clean, quick conviction of KSM, this will come back to hurt Obama, badly.

  1. PJEvans says:

    Rahm sure doesn’t seem to care what other people think of him.

    That needs to change – but it may take firing him publicly, or his being charged with interfering in legal actions, to get through, since his ego is much bigger than he is.

  2. PJEvans says:

    Also, we didn’t vote for Rahm, and he didn’t get confirmed by the Senate, so he really is way out of line in what he thinks his job is.

  3. tjbs says:

    “This is a time for reflection, not retribution.”

    Shouldn’t this read as “this is a time for reflection,then Justice not retribution.”

    NYT lead editorial was on the seven missing paragraphs and used the word torture without the proceeding “alleged”.

    I gave your work a shout out on comment #49 to that editorial and they included a link.

    Like watching glaciers melt, the torture justice is slowly being revealed and thanks to your work, E.W., and the many others on this site, that are thirsting for Justice. Our thirst will be sated in our lifetimes. Thanks.

  4. madmatt says:

    If you ever see one of these scumbags in person, make sure you beat the hell out of them…if the ask why tell them you are standing up for the treaties the US signed and has an OBLIGATION to enforce. Unlike Holder and Rahm real americans spit on torturing scum like the CIA.

    • scribe says:

      Violence, or the threat or even the call to it, is counterproductive. Those who read and/or comment on this site do not advocate, threaten, or even condone violence as a means to effecting political change – that is what distinguishes them from the Rethuglicans and the pseudo-Democrats who do. Moreover, this site and others have routinely in the past encountered people who would jump on a thread – like this one – screaming out something similar to what you posted, in an effort either to hijack the discussion or to provide propaganda (“look at those DFHs, threatening violence. Let’s crush them. They’re screaming about civil liberties? Let’s pass some new, more stringent laws to take away some more!”) for the wingnuts and, for that matter, the Establishment which has embraced the wingnut praxis – torture, violence and fear.

      Since I do not recognize your posting-name, I suspect you are new, one of those coming here to raise trouble and obscure the rationality and logic with fearmongering and propaganda. So, if you are, please go to Hell. Go Directly to Hell. Do not pass “GO”, do not collect $200.

      And, if you are not (But are just upset by Rahm and all the others and their behavior), consider this. IF you (or anyone) were to take the advice from your comment, the person so acting would surely go to jail. The person on the receiving end (assuming they survived) would be proudly held up (and, given the sliminess they live in, hold themselves up) as noble victims, taking it on the chin (literally) to stand up for Truth, Justice and The American Way. They’d get all sorts of Village cred. Meanwhile, while you were rotting in jail, you would have the time to think about all the benefit – Village cred, money, status, power – they’d received from the beating you’d given them and consider that you had gotten nothing (but jail) in return. And then you could contemplate just how generous you’d been to them, and how you had not and would never get even so much as a “thank you” in return. And then you could spend a lot of time contemplating “Why the fuck was I generous to a miserable piece of shit like that, instead of taking care of my own business?”

    • scribe says:

      He needs to have a very quiet discussion with Fitz about, oh, say, flipping Blago on the guy in the WH whom he was dealing with when he was trying to sell Obama’s old seat.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It would be troublesome, if true (this is the NYT reporting on politics, after all), that David Ogden knew about the resurrection of such an ugly, Rove-era use of a political commissar and failed to alert Holder. Had he not found out about it in time to avoid a fait accompli, the appointment would have been harder and more embarrassing to unwind. That’s a display of serious lack of loyalty and street smarts that ought to have put Ogden’s post as top aide to Holder in jeopardy.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Of course, the NYT article itself displays elements of Rahm’s technique. The discussion about Ogden’s failure to advise his boss of an important political development that affected him personally, as well as his department, has the effect of tarnishing both Ogden and Holder’s credibility, while building up a reputation for street brutality on Rahm’s part. The ripple effect on every other cabinet member and his or her top aides won’t be missed by anyone who makes a career inside the Beltway.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This will most definitely hurt Obama. As the ship’s captain, he gets the credit/blame for anything his top lieutenant’s do and how they do it.

    I also think it’s impossible to divorce Rahm’s methods from the guy who put him in a position to use them so broadly across the entire federal government.

    It is certainly impossible to divorce Obama from the substantive policies that emerge through this brier patch of brutal internal fighting into which he has thrown Rahm and his cabinet.

    This does illustrate that not reforming the DoJ, but that keeping it in the corral, is a principal objective of this changey, hopey, lawyer president.

  8. bobschacht says:

    I am pleased to see here, at least, signs of Holder’s willingness to go to the mat for his own independence, even in the face of Rahm’s smackdowns.

    I just wish that Obama would see that it does his own interests no good to restrain Holder’s investigations into war crimes and other BushCheney abuses. He will show himself to be stronger and more principled if he and Holder let justice be blind, not granting silent pardons to deeds of the past, even if it involves the so-called criminalization of policy differences. If a policy is criminal, then it ought to be criminalized.

    Bob in AZ

    • bmaz says:

      Bob, it has been about 48 hours since Holder flat out admitted that military commissions were an acceptable alternative. He is most absolutely not willing to go to the mat, and has said so.

      • bobschacht says:

        Rahm sandbagged Holder with the publicity and the Lindsey Graham gambit. The worst part is that Obama didn’t side with Holder, except in a perfunctory way at first. Obama should have used it as an educational moment to remind the public about how strong our court system is. But he wimped out.

        Bob in AZ

      • kindGSL says:

        I expect announcing an intention to “go to the mat” is like signing ones own death warrant. Who is in charge of things? The Bush family cabal?

  9. bobschacht says:

    BTW, NPR is reporting today that Evan Bayh will not seek re-election this year. That would mean one less Senatorial Blue Dog, but can a progressive be found to enter the primary?

    Bob in AZ

    • sundog says:

      There’s only a few days left for a Democrat to enter the race. I can only say I see Evan Bayh’s late departure as his final “Fuck You” to the Democratic party, since he was leading Dan Coates in the polls. I always hated that milque toast of an excuse for a senator (I live in Indiana), but he could have at least given us time to find someone to run in his place. What an asshole.

      • PJEvans says:

        The deadline for signatures is tomorrow, but if no one can be found, the state committee has until June to find a candidate.

        TPM is reporting that Bayh didn’t tell Reid until after he made the announcement.

  10. Leen says:

    Rahm “This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke. We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history. But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past. Our national greatness is embedded in America’s ability to right its course in concert with our core values, and to move forward with confidence. That is why we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future. [my emphasis]”

    Rahm is so full of shit. He needs to get out on the streets more. The American public has little to no faith in our selected or elected leaders, in our constitution, the Supreme Court, or the rule of law. The peasants clearly know that the Bush administration operated outside of the law and have gotten away with it. The message is clear. A different set of rules or no rules for the elite and the enforcement of law on the peasant class.

    At what point over the last eight years did trying to hold individuals accountable for very serious crimes (false inteligence, a war based on that “pack of lies”, torture, torture and more torture, undermining the DOJ, outing Plame, etc etc” start being defined as “retribution”?

    Rahm sounds like Rove. Calling application of the law “retribution”

    I have read Cass Sunstein, Rahm, Cheney, Rove, and many others define holding those accountable for these serious crimes as “retribution, vengeance, witch hunts,” These same characters keep saying “move forward, don’t look back, turn the page, next chapter” This attitude and push is complete utter bullshit. These folks wan to keep Americans in their bubble trying to roll the nation over hundreds of thousands of dead and injured people in Iraq, millions displaced. They want our nation to roll over the 4500 and counting dead American soldiers the 50,ooo injured American soldiers, the shredding of the constitution.

    Rahm if I “reflect” then out of that relection comes a push for holding these individuals who committed these crimes accountable. “Reflection” stirs up a push to witness the rule of law applied.

    At what point did a push for justice and the application of the rule of law start being defined as “retribution.”

    • fatster says:

      Abandoning the Constitution and Rule of Law is occurring simultaneously with the grave economic crisis that is upon us. I refer to this process as The Great Leveling (if I borrowed that term from someone else, I trust one of you will correct me). I was discussing this last evening with a friend; and early today this article popped up on the internet. While the article is a compilation of the evidence about the flailing we are taking in the economic sector, we are simultaneously taking another in the political and legal sectors. These trends work hand-in-glove.

      • Leen says:

        Unable to link. This article over at Atlantic Monthly fits right in

        How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America

        How should we characterize the economic period we have now entered? After nearly two brutal years, the Great Recession appears to be over, at least technically. Yet a return to normalcy seems far off. By some measures, each recession since the 1980s has retreated more slowly than the one before it. In one sense, we never fully recovered from the last one, in 2001: the share of the civilian population with a job never returned to its previous peak before this downturn began, and incomes were stagnant throughout the decade. Still, the weakness that lingered through much of the 2000s shouldn’t be confused with the trauma of the past two years, a trauma that will remain heavy for quite some time


  11. Leen says:

    If we “reflect” as Rahm has suggested….Our nation needs to get on a 12 step program. If we want to really move forward

    The 12 Steps

    Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable

    Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

    Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God

    Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

    Step 5 – Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs

    Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character

    Step 7 – Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings

    Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all

    Step 9 – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others

    Step 10 – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

    Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out

    Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs


    8 and 9 would be huge requirements in regard to the people of Iraq

  12. Mary says:

    That article is really something.

    I like how it starts out with the narrative that Holder has watched everything come apart at the seams and has now learned his lesson, that he needs to go get political guidance and that is why he is going to now get to have access to some interviews:

    Two weeks ago, he met with advisers there to discuss how to unite against common foes. They agreed to allow Mr. Holder, who has not appeared on a Sunday talk show since entering office, to speak out more; he agreed to let them help hone his message.

    Buried, much later in the story, is the real info on how the message came to be so lost – not so much a lack of honing earlier, as the WH deliberately preventing Holder from getting his message out and allowing (as it has done on healthcare and so many things) a vacuum for others to use to develope the operational narrative. After the original announcement, when the Republicans were taking political advantage, we find out that Holder wanted to go out and explain his decision before the narrative had run amok, but:

    The White House, wanting to move on quickly, overruled Mr. Holder’s request for more public appearances to explain the decision, administration officials said.

    Now that they’ve seen how well that move along, don’t look back, strategy works, suddenly the story is of a hat in hand Holder who is promising to get out the WH message being allowed to speak.

    Not just a hat in hand HOlder, but one who has already conceded on military commissions and also said that no matter what Obama overrules him on, he’s going to chirrup along in his slot at DOJ, without a care or concern about the law being laid waste around him.

    Asked if he would still want his job if that happened, Mr. Holder quickly said yes. “There are a whole variety of reasons I want to be attorney general,” he said, “a whole variety of things that I do as attorney general that go beyond national security.”

    I especially liked the crap about him not having a national security resume and the related implication that this is why he wasn’t in favor of summary executions military commissions, unlike those guys with noted and long national security resumes – Ashcroft and Gonzales. Sheez louise.

    For Sara and Cynthia – the article does reveal some interesting info on the trial options front. Apparently the civilian prosecutors (as we have speculated extensively) were planning on making their case(s) without using the torture confessions, while the military commissions – since Congress made up the coercion rules for the made up commissions – lawyers are planning on parading torture.

    Unlike the civilian prosecutors, the military team built its case around detainee confessions that are likely to raise challenges over whether they were tainted by torture.

    Gee – in light of the Binyam Mohamed situation unfolding, what a nifty spiffy idea.

    And once again, we get exposure to the fact that in order to score a hot date with Lindsey Graham, Obama is willing to go far beyond where Bush went:

    Some administration officials spoke in despair about the apparent freefall of the effort to restore what they see as a rule-of-law approach to combating terrorism. They worry that the administration will be pushed into trying all foreign terrorism suspects in military commissions — a far more sweeping approach than even President Bush advocated


    It’s a sad little profile – and yet, Holder has received it, imo, bc Obama has decided he wants to keep Holder around and turn his political dunking into only a simulated drowning. All he has to do is say whatever the WH wants him to and it won’t happen again – nice.

  13. Leen says:

    Rahm “This is a time for reflection, not retribution”

    o.k. “reflected” Not looking for “retribution” Watching and waiting for our leaders to apply the “rule of law” for very serious crimes.

    We are not talking about “blowjobs” here.
    Wondering what Rahm has against the application of the “rule of law”

    Hundreds of thousands are dead, injured, displaced. Hundreds maybe thousands have been tortured, constitution, international agreements shredded. And Rahm is claiming that demanding accountability is “retribution.” What a slime ball.

    • sundog says:

      He has the same fear they all have; That it may one day be applied to them. Rule Of Law is more for the Rabble, than those who “know” what they’re doing.
      Good ole’ boys 101.

      • Leen says:

        And the peasants are taking it all in more than they know. No need to wonder why there is deep disrespect for our so called justice system. Get out on the streets. No one believes

  14. JohnLopresti says:

    Difficult topic. As a reference I looked at the 2006 shakeout in the George Deutsch minder scandal involving a top climate scientist. Turns out there were many scientists enduring censorship. Then I happened upon a flowchart from NOAA around that time which explains the bureaucratic oversight required for items like press releases. There were some interesting comments from scientists concerning how their prepared remarks in congress committee hearings were edited in the white house. fastforward 2009, Holder admits his basketball adroitness is less than that of the person who hired him. Perspicacious attorney general.

  15. R.H. Green says:

    “Rahm has been successful… at usurping the authority of the AG”. This was apparent when he asked whether Holder hadn’t “gotten the memo that we aren’t going to re-litigate (sic) the past”.

    I”m getting the idea that Obama is a figurehead whose job is to give stirring speeches, and sell the policies made by others. I thought this about Clinton and GWBush, and even Reagan.

  16. Mary says:

    OT – but related


    Ex-UKAG (not to be confused with AGAG, or Cap’n Jack) Lord Goldsmith:

    has demanded a new investigation into the alleged complicity of intelligence officers and ministers in torture

    Kind of like Holder – preObama, Goldsmith postBlair is finding this voice. I seem to recall it was missing during the BAE/Saudi brouhaha.

    His views are significant because he was the Government’s chief legal officer throughout much of the period when ministers are alleged to have looked the other way.

    Cue WaPo, if they find that they have to channel their inner Coulter Ann talk about Excutive branch torture after all, to mention that Goldsmith doesn’t have much of a national security resume – ya know, unlike those WaPo journos.

    Attention was focused tonight on MI5 Director General Jonathan Evans, who is expected to be called to give evidence in 13 cases where former terror suspects are suing the government for alleged torture.

    Betcha he dreams about Lindsey Graham with a British accent.

    And here’s something you never see in US press when people like Tenet and CHeney and anonymous sources chirrup about torture

    Mr Evans broke the customary silence of intelligence chiefs last week, using a newspaper article to claim that allegations of MI5 collusion were ‘the opposite of the truth’.

    But yesterday Clive Stafford Smith, Binyam Mohamed’s lawyer, said Mr Evans may have a conflict of interest because of his personal involvement.

    emph added

    • skdadl says:

      Evans is a great huffer and puffer. When I was reading him last week, I kept having Michael Hayden flashbacks. And I was wondering just how deeply he might be involved.

  17. Mary says:

    Soufan’s op ed


    36/38 – I like the way Ogden framed his move – he was only staying on at DOJ long enough to get them on the “right track” And now Holder’s brought to heel. Ogden’s gone, but so is Craig and so is Phillip Carter and Koh’s immensely quiet, Jeh Johnson’s gone over to the dark side (apparently on board with American assassinations and targeting the collaterals), ditto Katyal, and Dawn Johnson’s still on hold.

    And now there’s that nice little 42 docs kefuffle – even if Obama gets the trials to military commissions, he can’t derail the habeas cases and what they turn up. Apparently he thinks “keep dipping a toe in the water until it feels fine” is the option they left out of “fish or cut bait”

    And Obama wants to look to put Rahm – with his lengthy nat security, international relations and security profiles /s – at the head of his A team for advice.

    He should have learned by now that the few times he come forward and tells Americans the truth, he wins – when he plays politics by Reid’s and McConnell’s rules, he fails.

  18. Mary says:

    The one quibble I have with your piece, EW, is that there really shouldn’t be a “clean, quick” conviction of a man who was disappeared into torture for the better part of a decade and whose family is still disappeared as he goes to “trial” in either kind of a proceeding. If there is, the rule of law hasn’t won anything by the use of a civilian court proceeding. It should be messy – what was done was very very messy and if the forum is an opportunity to evade what was done, cleanly and quickly, that isn’t a win. imo

    • DWBartoo says:

      As you have said Mary, there are many questions that need asking, and while “it” might well be “quick”, there is no way, without acknowledging (and “punishing”) illegal behavior on the part of the “authorities” and those who “assisted” them, that ANY of this can, ever, be “clean”.


    • bmaz says:

      Well, a lot of the “mess” may be expected to come up and be litigated pre-trial; if they do indeed intend to proceed on a clean (relatively speaking understand you) and tailored evidence set, the trial might could actually be shorter than most people think.

  19. Mary says:

    A presidential advisor from Nantucket

    Here’s how the assassination thing works out in the real world


    Dubai’s police chief said Monday an 11-member hit squad with European passports was responsible for the mysterious killing of a Hamas commander in his hotel room last month and released their photos, names, nationalities and passport numbers

    Tamim said it was possible that “leaders of certain countries gave orders to their intelligence agents to kill” al-Mabhouh, one of the founders of Hamas’ military wing. But he did not name any countries

    Tamim claimed the suspects left behind some evidence, but he declined to elaborate. He urged the countries linked to the alleged killers to cooperate with the investigation and said the photos and other information were being sent to Interpol and posted on the Internet

    Tamim told reporters the alleged assassination team comprised six British passport holders, three Irish and one each from France and Germany

    A Hamas statement last month acknowledged al-Mabhouh was involved in the kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers in 1989

    Top Hamas figures have denied reports that al-Mabhouh was en route to Iran, which is a major Hamas backer. But the group has not given clear reasons for his presence in Dubai.


  20. scribe says:

    Just to be an ornery, cynical, curmudgeonly cuss, let me take a different angle.

    I like the idea that the KSM case is going back to the military commissions instead of a civilian court.

    I have believed since the first minute that Obama anounced bringing the case to criminal court (and said so, then and now) that any civilian case would be the more cynical exercise of power against the Constitution. First, a case in a civilian criminal court would be as guaranteed a win for the government as possible. If the trial had been in Manhattan as planned, the NY media machine would have cranked up to an astonishing level, such that no juror could have escaped being influenced by it. And that media environment would have been uniformly pro-conviction and anti-defendant. Like the Daily News’ November 2009 front pages, with headlines like “Death to Gitmo Five” among them.

    And, likewise, any judge who had the temerity to rule in favor of the defense on things like … torture would have been subjected to the same sort of calumny that the judge, back around 1994, who tossed some drugs seized by cops because he ruled it was reasonable for people of color to run from NY cops, not probable cause to arrest. He was almost impeached.

    So, when the jury got the case, they would have convicted. And the conviction would have held up.

    And then where would we be?

    All the torture, all the mistreatment, all the lies, all the wrongdoing would have been wrapped up in a package with a neat bow and a nice seal on it reading “ratified and approved by a judge and jury”. And every time anyone in the future raised the issue of torture, they would immediately get the comeback of “hey, the jury said it was OK, so who are you to complain?”

    No. Everyone with eyes sees that the military commissions are an illegitimate procedure (At least compared to a civilian trial) – a kangaroo court designed to produce convictions and ratify torture. They will never have the same validity or weight as would a civilian trial.

    So, “fine”, I say. Go ahead and have the show trials in a kangaroo court. No one will consider them valid, and anyone who rises to defend them as valid can imediately be met with “if you weren’t such pussies about guaranteeing a conviction and avoiding a civilian trial, you might have a point, but because you wanted an illegitimate process, you get an illegitimate, worthless result.”

    Nice one, Rahm.

    • Mary says:

      That’s not all that different from the angle I’ve been reluctantly taking for awhile.

      I’m still in favor of the civilian trials, but I find it inescapable that they will continue in the tenor of Salah and al-marri and Padilla and Siddiqui etc in making some very bad law and Obama will be deliberately putting any judge who tries to handle things correctly in the crosshairs of every crazy around.

      It’s not al-Qaeda they’ll have to worry about as much as the guys who are building personal arsenals after listening to Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

      • DWBartoo says:

        Mary, I have long wondered why “they” don’t worry about our domestic crazies.

        My only conclusion is that it somehow serves their” purpose not to appear openly concerned.

        Which raises a further “why?”, of course.

        What “use” do “they” intend to make of the crazies?

        My suspicion is that civilian “unrest” is really “their” biggest potential “headache”, if, assuming such “unrest” builds up some steam and starts to “roll”… “they” then have a built-in “excuse”, to be used only when necessary, by their” lights, of being able to use serious violence against the people, there being few other “tricks” left, as “they” are scraping the bottom of that particular barrel, with the economy tanking and clearly increasing political disenchantment.

        What other excuse, real OR imagined, will they be able to make believable?

        And “they” need, for a while at least, “believability” so that the people may be attacked, one group at a time, a successful methodology, as the last century will attest.

        Have you any speculation regarding the “why” you have implied?


  21. Mary says:

    The issue of military commissions would be very easy for Holder and the Dems if they would just have the courage to face the torture issue.

    Not that hard to say, “Military commissions have already failed in the case of Khatani because of TORTURE involved in his questioning, and Khatani’s TORTURE is much less than the KSM TORTURE. Under Bush, the Convening Authority already dismissed the Khatani case for TORTURE.”

    The only drawbacks are: 1. They have to use the word and acknowledge the existing torture, and 2. They have to admit for all the world to see that our civilian courts are more likely to embrace torture than even a military commission. Given that military commissions, as opposed to military trials, exist upon the assumption of chaos and lawlessness, that’s a handy dandy admission about the US court.

  22. CalGeorge says:

    “This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke. We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history. But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.”

    What a load of crap. Shame on all of them for sweeping under the rug some of the worst crimes ever committed by Americans.

  23. robbep says:

    According to Mort Zuckerman a foreign leader said this about Obama, ” we are convinced that he is not strong enough to confront his enemies and we are concerned that he is not strong enough to support his friends”. Kind of sums it all up doesn’t it? Obama may be a brilliant man but he does not have the stones for the job he has and it shows in his inability to get anything accomplished. Unless an economic miracle happens in the next two years he is one and done.

    • bmaz says:

      Mort Zuckerman? Seriously? First off, Mort has a vested interest in trying to inject himself in the news now that he thinks he is god’s gift to a NY Senate seat, so he has been making a lot of mostly meaningless statements the last few days. Secondly, since Zuckerman constantly has his head up the rear of Israeli right wing hard liners, he probably hears junk like that every day.

    • Leen says:

      Who the hell cares what Zuckerman says. What credentials does this man have to be making statements like this? Because he is rich? Are those his credentials?

  24. liberalarts says:

    Refresh my memory: what was it Obama taught at University of Chicago? I knew Obama wasn’t what so many people thought he was, but I had no idea he would be this bad. Does the man have any principles he wouldn’t throw over?

  25. Cynthia Kouril says:

    I said this a month ago

    Somebody was trying to Shiv Holder over the KSM trial.

    Just look at the revelation that they muzzled him right after he announced that the trial would be held in SDNY

      • Mary says:

        Here’s a link to CK’s accumulated posts

        I’m not sure which one in particular she has in mind, but I think it’s been a recurring theme in several of her posts- that someone in Obamaco, if no the big O himself, is trying to further politicize the DOJ.

  26. WoodyMcBreairty says:

    Many people already knew we have President Rahm Emanuel, just like we had President Dick Cheney. Rahm has ruined Obama’s 1st yr as President and unless Obama gets a grip, his Presidency will be another GWB disaster, although for different reasons, and Obama will surely be a 1 term Pres. I was told all it took for Obama to be President was his intelligence, nothing to do with experience! Wrong! Being a Democrat, of course I voted for Obama, although Hillary in the primary. Hillar would have kicked ass!Obama is in over his head & that’s why he has to depend on his Chicago thug friends – and he didn’t even know how extreme right they were until they took over his presidency.