The Corner

That Was Then, This is Now

I think most expect — after the “cowards” speech — that when Eric Holder follows up on an Obama speech, the results will be interesting.

Here is his latest tongue-lashing: “There are those who will continue to want to divide by fear — to pit our national security against our civil liberties — but that is a false choice. We have a solemn responsibility to protect our people while we also protect our principles.”

Aside from the now standard Obamistic use of straw men (“There are those . . .”), and Holder’s own dubious past role in navigating presidential pardons of questionable morality and legality, what was interesting about Eric Holder’s follow-up was the contrast to Holder’s earlier weighing in on detainee civil rights and the war on terror. Compare, for example, his 2002 “no Geneva Convention” interview with Paula Zahn at CNN:

One of the things we clearly want to do with these prisoners is to have an ability to interrogate them and find out what their future plans might be, where other cells are located; under the Geneva Convention that you are really limited in the amount of information that you can elicit from people… It seems to me that given the way in which they have conducted themselves, however, that they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention. They are not prisoners of war. If, for instance, Mohammed Atta had survived the attack on the World Trade Center, would we now be calling him a prisoner of war? I think not. Should Zacarias Moussaoui be called a prisoner of war? Again, I think not…. I think they clearly do not fit within the prescriptions of the Geneva Convention.

When Holder says “there are those” who apparently slight civil liberties through arguments for national security, he might seem to be referencing a prior manifestation of none other than one Eric Holder.


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