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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holder Trumpets Victory in Ghailani Trial Verdict

From the desk of Eric Holder:

To the American people:

As Attorney General of the United States, I would like to take this opportunity to bring to your attention our resounding success in the prosecution of Ahmed Ghailani.  For those of you who are not familiar with Mr. Ghailani, he is the Al Qaeda operative who succeeded in bombing two of our embassies, one in Kenya and Tanzania.  These bombings resulted in the deaths of 224 innocent people, many of them U.S. citizens.  We have now brought this case to a close with the acquittal of Mr. Ghailani on all 224 counts of murder, although he was convicted of one count of conspiracy to destroy U.S. buildings and property.

Many of this administration's enemies in the Republican party and right-wing press have malevolently asserted that Mr. Ghailani's acquittal for murder demonstrates that this administration's policy of trying foreign terrorists in civilian courts is a failure.  I would like to point out that this is completely inaccurate, and that in point of fact this trial has been a complete success.  Too often we allow ourselves to be caught up in notions of "winning" and "losing", and in so doing lose sight of the bigger picture.  The bigger picture here is that we have demonstrated to the world that we are willing to live by our own rules.

What exactly does this mean?  This means that no matter what you do to a U.S. citizen, you can be assured that we will abide by all laws and rules of civil procedure if and when we happen to capture you.  True, this may lead to a loss of life, especially for those in foreign service and the military, but this loss of life is completely justified in demonstrating our moral superiority, and that is what really matters. 

Please be advised, when I refer to our moral superiority, I do not mean we are morally superior to the rest of the world, or to those impoverished unfortunates whose misunderstanding of Islam has led them into the extremist camp of Al Qaeda.  No, I mean the moral superiority of this administration to that cowboy George W. Bush.  I have no doubt that were Bush still in office poor Mr. Ghailani would meet a gruesome end regardless of the verdict in court.  In fact, I believe it is quite likely that Mr. Ghailani would never have seen the inside of a civilian courtroom were Bush still in office.  More likely it would have been some military star chamber, and then a bullet in the back of the head, and that would have constituted a complete failure of our system.

I am proud to say that the Obama administration in which I serve has proven today that regardless of the outcome, regardless of the implications for national security, and regardless of how much innocent American blood must be shed, we will never forsake our principals.  These principals must hold fast.  We will always adhere to the right of every unfortunate soul who misunderstands Islam and engages in extremist activities to have a fair trial in a civilian court.  That is the bedrock principal upon which this nation rests, and we must never forsake it. 

In closing then, allow me to re-iterate.  We won today.  The verdict was irrelevant, for we have proven to the world that we will always play by the rules of the civilian courtroom, regardless of the implications for the lives of our citizens, and in so doing have proven ourselves morally superior to that cowboy Bush and his fascist cohorts in the military and the Republican party.  This is indeed a great day for America.


Attorney General Eric Holder

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