Bin Laden, Manson, and Martha

According to the Obama administration, America-haters will turn warm and cuddly toward us when they watch our civil justice system try jihadists as if they're a remnant of the Manson Family.

But the biggest, baddest jihadist of all won't get a Miranda warning because he's a dead man walking, according to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder's injudicious blunder came after Republican members of a House appropriations subcommittee Tuesday asked him why the administration is insistent upon giving terrorists the same constitutional rights as Americans. Here's his answer, as reported by Politico.com:

"These defendants charged with murder would be treated just like any other murder defendants," Holder said with evident exasperation. "The question is, Are they being treated as murderers would be treated? The answer to that question is, yes, they have the same rights that a Charles Manson would have."

To top it off, Holder compared Manson to Osama bin Laden. It's hard to decide whether the egomaniacal Manson is insulted or pleased that his "Helter Skelter" fantasy has been taken up a notch.

Holder got hotter when asked if bin Laden would be read Miranda rights:

Let's deal with reality. You're talking about a hypothetical that will never occur. The reality is that we will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama bin Laden. He will never appear in an American courtroom. That's the reality. ... He will be killed by us, or he will be killed by his own people so he's not captured by us. We know that.

Holder's comparison of Bin Laden to "mass murderer" Charlie Manson was meant to placate Americans who are angry about foreign terrorists being afforded constitutional rights. Call it liberal logic or Obamacare math -- bin Laden is to Manson as 3,497 is to seven.

The fact is that constitutional rights don't differ between murderers and someone charged with a lesser crime, such as obstruction of justice. But Holder knew that he wouldn't score any points comparing bin Laden to Martha Stewart. She was convicted in federal court of four felonies, none of which included cooking for al-Qaeda.

Mr. Holder, inquiring minds want to know:

  • How does expressing what sounds like a kill order on bin Laden inspire terrorists to turn their swords into plowshares?
  • Would you order an ethics investigation of former U.S. Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales if either had said what you said? It's a good bet that John Yoo and Jay Bybee think so.
  • How does killing bin Laden before he calls your pals in the al-Qaeda defense bar fit into the law of war -- as in white flag, hands up, and surrender?
  • If you really want Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and his cohorts convicted, why did you order their indictment dismissed in the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba military court even though KSM twice told the judge that he and the others wanted to plead guilty and be executed?
  • When did snatching acquittal from the jaws of a slam-dunk conviction become the official policy of the DOJ?
  • If you were being truthful when you said, "The reforms Congress recently adopted to the Military Commissions Act [which the President signed into law] ensure that military commission trials will be fair and that convictions obtained will be secure," then why do you want to try KSM in federal court?
  • If your intent is ensuring that terrorist "convictions obtained will be secure," then why are you, the president, and his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, continuing to make what law professor Jonathan Turley denounced as the "Red Queen" pronouncement of "Sentence first! Conviction Afterward!"? Can you spell "motion to dismiss"?
  • As a matter of consistency, have you advised the Department of Defense to drop Miranda leaflets before obliterating suspected terrorists with predator drones?
  • There are at least three Navy Seals who want to know if it's okay to kill bin Laden as long as they don't punch him first.
  • It's a tad off the subject, but you've encouraged discussions about race. You called the United States "essentially a nation of cowards" for failing to openly discuss the issue of race. So why did you allow the case against the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation to be dropped even though the court had already entered a default judgment against them?

Finally, Mr. Holder, do you think that Alexander Solzhenitsyn had you and the president in mind when he spoke these memorable words at Harvard?

Political and intellectual bureaucrats show depression, passivity and perplexity in their actions and in their statements and even more so in theoretical reflections to explain how realistic, reasonable as well as intellectually and even morally warranted it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice. ... But they get tongue-tied and paralyzed when they deal with powerful governments and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists. ... When a government starts an earnest fight against terrorism, public opinion immediately accuses it of violating the terrorists' civil rights. There are many such cases.

Such accusations shouldn't be fueled by an idealistic Attorney General who refuses to deal with the reality of war.

Jan LaRue is senior legal analyst with the American Civil Rights Union.
According to the Obama administration, America-haters will turn warm and cuddly toward us when they watch our civil justice system try jihadists as if they're a remnant of the Manson Family.

But the biggest, baddest jihadist of all won't get a Miranda warning because he's a dead man walking, according to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder's injudicious blunder came after Republican members of a House appropriations subcommittee Tuesday asked him why the administration is insistent upon giving terrorists the same constitutional rights as Americans. Here's his answer, as reported by Politico.com:

"These defendants charged with murder would be treated just like any other murder defendants," Holder said with evident exasperation. "The question is, Are they being treated as murderers would be treated? The answer to that question is, yes, they have the same rights that a Charles Manson would have."

To top it off, Holder compared Manson to Osama bin Laden. It's hard to decide whether the egomaniacal Manson is insulted or pleased that his "Helter Skelter" fantasy has been taken up a notch.

Holder got hotter when asked if bin Laden would be read Miranda rights:

Let's deal with reality. You're talking about a hypothetical that will never occur. The reality is that we will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama bin Laden. He will never appear in an American courtroom. That's the reality. ... He will be killed by us, or he will be killed by his own people so he's not captured by us. We know that.

Holder's comparison of Bin Laden to "mass murderer" Charlie Manson was meant to placate Americans who are angry about foreign terrorists being afforded constitutional rights. Call it liberal logic or Obamacare math -- bin Laden is to Manson as 3,497 is to seven.

The fact is that constitutional rights don't differ between murderers and someone charged with a lesser crime, such as obstruction of justice. But Holder knew that he wouldn't score any points comparing bin Laden to Martha Stewart. She was convicted in federal court of four felonies, none of which included cooking for al-Qaeda.

Mr. Holder, inquiring minds want to know:

  • How does expressing what sounds like a kill order on bin Laden inspire terrorists to turn their swords into plowshares?
  • Would you order an ethics investigation of former U.S. Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales if either had said what you said? It's a good bet that John Yoo and Jay Bybee think so.
  • How does killing bin Laden before he calls your pals in the al-Qaeda defense bar fit into the law of war -- as in white flag, hands up, and surrender?
  • If you really want Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and his cohorts convicted, why did you order their indictment dismissed in the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba military court even though KSM twice told the judge that he and the others wanted to plead guilty and be executed?
  • When did snatching acquittal from the jaws of a slam-dunk conviction become the official policy of the DOJ?
  • If you were being truthful when you said, "The reforms Congress recently adopted to the Military Commissions Act [which the President signed into law] ensure that military commission trials will be fair and that convictions obtained will be secure," then why do you want to try KSM in federal court?
  • If your intent is ensuring that terrorist "convictions obtained will be secure," then why are you, the president, and his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, continuing to make what law professor Jonathan Turley denounced as the "Red Queen" pronouncement of "Sentence first! Conviction Afterward!"? Can you spell "motion to dismiss"?
  • As a matter of consistency, have you advised the Department of Defense to drop Miranda leaflets before obliterating suspected terrorists with predator drones?
  • There are at least three Navy Seals who want to know if it's okay to kill bin Laden as long as they don't punch him first.
  • It's a tad off the subject, but you've encouraged discussions about race. You called the United States "essentially a nation of cowards" for failing to openly discuss the issue of race. So why did you allow the case against the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation to be dropped even though the court had already entered a default judgment against them?

Finally, Mr. Holder, do you think that Alexander Solzhenitsyn had you and the president in mind when he spoke these memorable words at Harvard?

Political and intellectual bureaucrats show depression, passivity and perplexity in their actions and in their statements and even more so in theoretical reflections to explain how realistic, reasonable as well as intellectually and even morally warranted it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice. ... But they get tongue-tied and paralyzed when they deal with powerful governments and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists. ... When a government starts an earnest fight against terrorism, public opinion immediately accuses it of violating the terrorists' civil rights. There are many such cases.

Such accusations shouldn't be fueled by an idealistic Attorney General who refuses to deal with the reality of war.

Jan LaRue is senior legal analyst with the American Civil Rights Union.