S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Reaction to the upcoming 9/11 trials, announced by AG Eric Holder

There was strong reaction to the announcement of the 9/11 trial to be held in a New York court. Liberals and civil libertarians were approving and Republican Right-Wingers were deeply disapproving.

What are we to call the widespread upset among Republicans? Today's post is a digest of opinion from writers whom I regularly follow as well as my own conclusions.

Fear Mongering -- Tom Andrews, writing late Friday night for The Huffington Post, said that, ". . . we all know that Right Wing critics will be out, en masse, using their favorite tactic of fear-mongering while relying on ignorance to manipulate the public." Read the whole thing: Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, others to finally face justice in NYC.

Surrender -- Other nations have trials of high level terrorists within their systems of normal justice. But since 9/11/01 we in the U.S. have not. I think Glenn Greenwald put his finger on the problem in his Saturday post. He minced no words, calling it "The Right's textbook 'surrender to the terrorists'." His intro line said, " 'We're too scared to have real trials in our country' is a level of cowardice unmatched in the world." And Greenwald closed with this straight up opinion:

. . . it's hardly surprising that they exude a level of fear of Terrorists that is unmatched virtually anywhere in the world. It is, however, noteworthy that the position they advocate -- it's too scary to have normal trials in our country of Terrorists -- is as pure a surrender to the Terrorists as it gets.
Cowardice -- At emptywheel Marcy Wheeler wrote a pungent little piece that asked, "Why is it that Republicans are such scardey-cats?" I love what Gregg Levine said in "Elephants on Parade" on Friday at Firedoglake, about the difference between Democratic and Republican reaction to the announcement of upcoming 9/11 trials. To quote Levine:
Cowards. Cowards. And again, cowards.

I can’t say that word enough because no one else seems to say it at all.

Contrast what a sampling of Republicans (and Republican wannabe) have to say about today’s decision . . .
Guilt -- Guilt and anxiety/fear are first cousins in the world of emotional motivation. Daily Kos' "thereisnospoon," thinks he has figured out why Republicans are having such a fear mongering fit. The author concluded:
There's a reason Republicans are pissing in their pants. . . they're afraid that their own policies of torture and indefinite detention will get the terrorists acquitted. So, like a stupid criminal, they're upping the ante by doubling down on their original criminal idiocy.
Un-American Demagoguery -- Leaders who make use of popular prejudices or false claims in order to gain power does not deserve followers. Representative Jim Moran used even stronger words than fearfulness in a post by Evan McMorris-Santoro at TPMDC. To quote from the story Friday:

Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) has strong words for the Republicans opposing Attorney General Eric Holder's plan to bring five 9/11 suspects to New York City to face trial.

"They see this as an opportunity to demagogue," he said. "They will seize on any opportunity to do that, and that means they'll even take a stand that's un-American."

"It's un-American to hold anyone indefinitely without trial," Moran added. "It's against our principles as a nation."

Medieval Romanticism -- These are probably the kindest words I found in my little news survey. Professor Juan Cole at Informed Comment defined the Republican reaction to AG Eric Holder's decision to prosecute as "medieval romanticism." To quote:
Predictably, Republican critics vowed to fight the decision, since they much prefer to hold people forever without trial while torturing them, sort of the way some English kings did in North America before there was that pesky American constitution. . . . its fascination with arbitrary arrest and imprisonment and with torture more recalls the star chambers of yore than the deliberations at Philadelphia over 200 years ago.
Fear is a natural and normal reaction to accurately perceived danger. But the key is using one's whole brain to ascertain just what constitutes a real danger. The terrorists acts in 2001 were very dangerous. Over three thousand people lost their lives as a result. This is 2009, however, and it is important to make distinctions that today's realities warrant. Wiser people than knee-jerk reactionaries are now in charge, thank goodness. The United States government must continue to act out of calculation toward confidence-building, out of justice and healing, out of intelligence and courage, and out of genuine patriotism. It is time.

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