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Eric Holder's bizarre comments on Osama's corpse

It’s taken not one, but two high-level Obama administration officials to beat back patently bizarre comments this week from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

Appearing before a congressional panel on Tuesday, Holder was asked how the government planned to handle Osama bin Laden, should the al-Qaeda leader ever be captured. Would Holder favor a federal court trial? A military commission, perhaps? Holder’s answer: A body bag.

Bin Laden “will never appear in an American courtroom,” Holder said, according to The Post’s Carrie Johnson. “Let’s deal with the reality here. The reality is we will be reading Miranda rights to a corpse.” Holder said he was being “flippant” but added that bin Laden “will be killed by us or by his own people.”

Holder has been under fire by the right for being soft on terrorists, in part by arguing -- reasonably, might I add -- that some terrorism suspects would be best prosecuted in federal court. I can’t explain this misplaced and frankly gross bravado as anything but overcompensation for the political beatings of late. It also could suggest that Holder truly has no plan for how bin Laden should be handled. Or maybe he’s never thought about the possibility.

That’s apparently not the case with two other high-ranking Obama officials, who were obviously trotted out to counter Holder’s assertion. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan seemed genuinely puzzled when asked if his troops had had given up on capturing bin Laden alive. “Wow. No,” he said. And CIA Director Leon Panetta asserted that bin Laden would be taken to a military base and interrogated by U.S. agents.

Holder is under incredible, round-the-clock pressure -- primarily to avert another devastating terrorist attack. The hostile reception he got on Capitol Hill on Tuesday from some Republicans and the insinuation that he is somehow coddling terrorists must be infuriating. But he didn’t do himself or his cause any favors by going to the opposite extreme and adopting the gun-toting, “we’re smokin’ them out” cowboy persona most associated with our immediate past president.

By Eva Rodriguez  | March 18, 2010; 2:43 PM ET
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Some of the craziest things I've heard from Republicans were said about Osama Bin Laden.

We all know that Bin Laden was primarily responsible for the 9/11 attacks, and Bin Laden doesn't deny that fact, yet everytime someone says Bin Laden will be killed, the Republicans jump in to prevent it from happening.

Even George W. Bush, while he was still POTUS, chimed in after Bill Clinton gave a TV Interview saying he had done more than anyone else to kill Bin Laden, Bush jumped and said "It's illegal" to assassinate a head of state, or holy man, or something he called Bin Laden. Bush should have called Bin Laden a terrorist and left it at that, but instead, it seems the GOP is always trying to protect the terrorist that hit us.

Go ahead Mr. Attorney General, it's perfectly fine with me if you snuff out the terrorist.

Posted by: lindalovejones | March 18, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I have to disagree with part of your assessment at least. I don't expect that Osama bin Laden will permit himself to be captured. Mr Holder's observation that he does not expect that there will be a trial of bin Laden is probably accurate. Do you envision after all that has happened, all that's been said that bin Laden will walk out with his hands up?

Posted by: Jazzman7 | March 18, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

S.3081 - Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act of 2010 proposed by Senators Lieberman and McCain “…removes the right to trial for American Citizens and gives government the AUTHORITY to detain Americans INDEFINITELY for SUSPECTED TERRORIST ACTIVITY…”

The really IMPORTANT thing about this Act is just WHO defines SUSPECTED ACTIVITY? I’m sure the CRIMINALS and CONS who oversaw the greatest looting of wealth and resources in US history… FEEL THREATENED by those who would CALL for JUSTICE. Republicans know DEMANDS for ethics, responsibility and accountability are going to come down HARD on them. Especially McCain/Lieberman who’ve been covering up Banking/Financial/Wall St SCANDALS since the 80’s. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what comes next…

Like wealthy Aristocrats have been saying all through history: “We can hire half the POOR PEOPLE to get rid of the rest, especially the boat-rockers”. So LAW ENFORCEMENT will be protecting those who ravaged and expatriated most of our nation’s wealth and resources from Bold Progressives and other Concerned Citizens.

If Republicans take back Congress there’s definitely going to be a revolution not long after. The Concerned Citizens of America have seen the light…

I’m going to make sure future generation know about the people who vote Republican Party so THEY don‘t make the mistakes. Republicans/Conservatives have PROVEN THEMSELVES to be the worst kind of human beings. And suckers too, these so-called great Americans allowed themselves to be LIED TO over and over. Paranoia, fear mongering, racism, hypocrisy and hysteria on a level not seen since the McCarthy Era.

Conservatives weren’t smart enough to recognize the CON… and these right-wing reactionaries got PLAYED FOR FOOLS, bigtime! SO WHY SHOULD ANY AMERICAN CITIZEN TRUST THEM NOW?

I’m going to shout IT from the hills and preach IT in the valleys. I’ll post IT on the message boards, tell IT in chat rooms and tweet IT on Twitter. Cold call, register voters, circulate petitions… I’ll get up on the soapbox and speak to ANYONE who wants to LISTEN! I’ll organize MASSIVE letter/email writing campaigns to CONCERNED CITIZENS everywhere. You LOVE the USA? Then the ONLY reasonable, rational, common sense thing to do is GET RID OF REPUBLICAN PARTY. Kick the vain, corrupt, lying silver spoon ******’s down to 3rd Party status…

Here’s an example to make my point obvious:

Posted by: SPO1 | March 18, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Astounding that this is even news. Holder was obviously saying that he didn't think there was much chance that the scumbag could be taken alive. He didn't say we've decided to take him out, but whose going to grieve for him if we do? We've taken out quite a few at the top of these organizations in the last year or so, and no one has complained so far. I don't think people, including the author of this article got Holder's meaning. Holder should say no comment if asked about this from now until forever. Does he have to break down the meaning of every syllable? Sheesh!

Posted by: red2million | March 18, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Some people will say any ridiculous thing to avoid giving an honest answer. I don't think one could find a better example than this exchange.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | March 18, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

So, bottom line...Holder thinks Al Qaeda members should be Miranda-ized. Unbelievable.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | March 18, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Uh what? If you think Osama is going to allow himself to be taken alive by the US, you are insane. Did you think this article through before you wrote it? I'd wager not.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | March 18, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Imagine if, while they were planning the Nurember trials, someone had said "Oh. Your crazy. What's the point of defining the legal status of the Nazi leadership. It's not like Goering or Ribbentrop are ever gonna surrender."

IF: it means something different the "when".

Posted by: andrew23boyle | March 18, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Benazir Bhutto, assassinated in a suicide attack at the end of 2007 stated in November 2007 that Osama bin Laden, had already been killed. That would certainly explain why Bush stopped looking for him and perhaps the real reason why he will never be put on trial, unless posthumously.

Posted by: Testy1 | March 18, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Holder is an out of control ideologue and should never be AG.

If Bin Laden will never be in court, because he will be killed, then why will KSM be in court -- Kill him too!!!!

Posted by: jjcrocket3 | March 18, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"he didn’t do himself or his cause any favors by going to the opposite extreme and adopting the gun-toting, “we’re smokin’ them out” cowboy persona most associated with our immediate past president."
You are right on that.

Attorney Generals should speak and act like Attorney Generals (even when dealing with idiots in their official capacity) and Presidents should act like Presidents.

I have no doubt that Holder, the human being, was offering a personal view rather than a view that Holder the Attorney General should have.

But then I also have no doubt that in the United States of America where politics is so tribal the rule of law itself is a complete farce.

Americans (as a body politic) cannot be trusted to keep even their most serious and solemn promises to humankind. The promise not to launch aggressive invasions that occassion mass murder. (The UN Charter.) The promise not to put Presidents above the law (The US Constitution).

Posted by: BrettPaatsch1 | March 18, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

"Mr Holder's observation that he does not expect that there will be a trial of bin Laden is probably accurate. Do you envision after all that has happened, all that's been said that bin Laden will walk out with his hands up?"

Well, if Binnie and Ayman al-Zawahiri are thinking matters over, they may very well conclude that the optimum damage they could do in Holder's America is to show up at the American Embassy with a bevy of ACLU and other civilian lawyers to surrender on videotape, be Mirandized on video as the ACLU lawyers would insist on.

They might do that if they sense that ISI has started to home in on the rogue ISI faction that includes those shielding those Taliban and Pashtun elders that have hidden the TWo Big Shots of AQ. If the odds are 50-50 or so that the Americans will finally whack you w/o trial with a Hellfire Missile - what is the optimum solution?

How about Global spotlight, gourmet food, and martyrdom after the US spends billions on the 8-10 year long, ACLU-defended NYC Show Trial and Show Trial preps?
The sale of book rights, media appearances, sale of all the vidotapes and "important statements to All Muslims of the World" prepared ahead of time? Rights to the bin Laden Story for a movie. Jewish media agents from LA to NYC will be crawling over one another to become Ayman and Binnies designated agents..

Have some fun in the meantime. Let it be known that the CIA only told AQ to fly the planes into the WTC and when this was all plotted in the Clinton Administration - Algore said Rahm Emmanuel was the guy that was in charge of getting Mossad to plant the explosives in the WTC buildings that would actually drop them. Then Gore stupidly lost his election and the plot was on hold 9 months until the CIA got Dick Cheney on board, in Gore and Emmanuel's place. And Cheney only got onboard when he was assured that the Jewish Bankers that helped destroy the US Financial system but who were enriching Cheney and others in the High Tech and Housing Bubbles and outsourcing most good jobs to China - were safe and out of the WTC.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | March 18, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

To the posters above, the Nuremburg trials were for war criminals in WWII. According to the Geneva Convention and the North American Treaty, Pirates and terrorists are not war criminals per se. War criminals are those in the uniform of their country. Terrorists and pirates are not representing their countries. They are just criminals in the worst way. They should just be shot or hung.

Holder seems to be a Muslim. I think he is taking care of his own. I do not trust him to take care or the people of the USA. He needs to be taken out of office. These Chicago thugs are making our government even more corrupt.

Posted by: annnort | March 19, 2010 1:23 AM | Report abuse

OBL - has been dead since Dec 2001, as the intelligence services know. Benazir Bhutto announced it on David Frost.(she was dead a couple of weeks later)
OBL - had nothing to do with 9/11, as he said repeatedly up until his death. The vids you have seen since were made in the US - check Youtube, even the actor is named LOL
Khalid Sheik Mohomed did the deed as a contractor - who paid him ? That is the question you should be asking. Perhaps that`s why they don`t want him in court, eh, in case someone asks ?

Posted by: rcr06355 | March 19, 2010 4:27 AM | Report abuse

Like the author, I had sort of the same stunned reaction, "The Attorney General of the United States actually said this?!" His statement was bizarre and out of character for what we should expect from the Attorney General, whose role should be considering the possible administration of justice in case of capture rather than determining military rules of engagement.

I've seen some of the comments. Notwithstanding the comments of the Bush administration and Republican haters (I am not definding specifics of the Bush administration policies), there needs to be a plan of what the U.S. will do if Bin Laden is captured alive, which has been the expressed policy of senior leaders, provided the opportuntity presents itself.

The possibility is not as remote as suggested by Holder. It's not out out of the realm of reasonable possibility that actionable intelligence could identify the exact location of Bin Laden. A military operation involving Navy Seals and/or Army Rangers in the middle of night could potentially penetrate his security and capture him before a lethal fight occurs or before Bin Laden can kill himself. I don't believe that scenario is so remote that the Attorney General should dismiss the possibility of taking Bin Laden alive.

Unfortunately, the Attorney General's out-of-hand dismissal of the possibility or scenario of capturing Bin Laden alvies raises questions about the intentions of our own administration. Bizarre is a fair characterization. Irresponsible is another.

Posted by: SkiFanatic | March 19, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

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