Sunday, August 30, 2009

Eric Holder's Flip-Flop on Terror Interrogations - What's changed?

Joseph Finder writes in the New York Times,

"EARLY in 2002, Eric Holder, then a former deputy attorney general, said on CNN that the detainees being held at Guantánamo Bay were “not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention,” particularly “given the way in which they have conducted themselves.”

"Six years later, declaring that “Guantánamo Bay is an international embarrass-ment,” Mr. Holder said, “I never thought I would see the day when ... the Supreme Court would have to order the president of the United States to treat detainees in accordance with the Geneva Convention.”

"So what changed?"


While "a lot of things" have changed, according to Finder, "but most of all, our national political climate." As the 9/11 attacks recede "into the past, a lot us see things in a different light."
Finder argues that the government's previous investigations are closed, that there is an absence of new facts, amounts to an estoppel against a new investigation.


The process that Mr. Holder has unleashed threatens to undermine one of the basic principles of our government. For a new administration to repudiate a consequential legal decision in an individual case made by the previous administration serves to delegitimize our government itself, which is, after, all premised upon institutional continuity.

Whatever Mr. Holder’s motive for reopening these cases — whether a well-intentioned desire to provide the American people with the “reckoning” for the “abusive and unlawful practices in the ‘war on terror’ ” that he demanded last year, or a more cynical political calculation — the consequences will be grievous.
I have to agree with Finder, it's no time to revisit a closed investigation.

Read the full article The C.I.A. in Double Jeopardy

2 comments:

The Expatriate said...

I will explain to you what has changed in fairly simple terms. Simply put, after the 9 / 11 attacks, many Americans started acting like panicking idiots, embracing all manner of lunacy in a desperate attempt to protect themselves from the encroaching apocalypse.

Now that eight years have gone by, people both in and out of government have begun to actually think about what happened, and have come to the conclusion there was an overreaction. That is called logical, objective thinking.

Andre said...

Another thing that has changed is the simple fact that the previous investigation was carried out by the very administration that authorized these criminal acts.

Anyone in the legal profession would hardly miss this elephant in the room, but Stephen sees nothing wrong.

Your partisanship and Islamophobia is blinding you Stephen.