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.
| March 18, 2010; 2:43 PM ET
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