Obama gets rolled | Arkansas Blog

Friday, March 5, 2010

Obama gets rolled

Posted By on Fri, Mar 5, 2010 at 9:12 AM

If Obama indeed rolls over on the question of military trials for 9/11 suspects, he'll have the worst of both worlds. It'll be the wrong decision and he'll still get ripped for ever proposing to do otherwise. Indecisive and weak is how he'll look.

Jane Mayer of The New Yorker has written some of the best stuff going on this topic. Here's a link to her blog, in which there's a link to her recent reporting. It's the old fear thing, the GOP's favorite medicine, be the subject guns, immigrants, religion or whatever. From the blog:

QUESTION FROM CATHERINE JANEWAY: I am really baffled that the people of New York are so lily-livered that they wouldn’t gladly seize this opportunity to bring to justice the guy that killed so many of them. I wonder if they realize how inconsistent it is to accuse the administration of lacking strength while at the same time shivering in their boots at the idea of actually doing something to hold a terrorist accountable. Has Holder looked into holding the trial in a city where the citizens are not quite so intimidated? I suspect that there are many that would be happy to take on the trial of the century, and the over-hyped threat posed by terrorism as a result.

JANE MAYER: I don’t think New Yorkers are probably any more or less lily-livered (nice Shakespearian phrase) than residents elsewhere, but I think they were shaken by the overwhelmingly one-sided political message that they were bombarded with more or less constantly after Eric Holder announced his intention of putting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on trial in New York. Holder announced the decision with gusto in November, but Obama, was traveling in Asia at the time, and only briefly echoed his support for the decision. After that, the Obama administration lost control of the message to opponents of the plan—ranging from the organization, Keep America Safe, which is run by former Vice President Cheney’s daughter, Elizabeth, along with a handful of other Republican operatives, to Fox TV and the daily tabloids in the city, all of which unabashedly hammered the decision. Fear was really whipped up, and with it, the estimated costs of the trial. The whole thing required some level-headed counterpoint, but, for some reason, there was very little. As a result, the business community in lower Manhattan, and some residents turned on the plan. The irony is that there is another Al Qaeda trial taking place there as we speak—and no one’s even paying any attention. Clearly, the atmospherics were disproportionate to the threat, but, once scared, it’s hard to calm people.

The same holds true for other states where the trial could be held. I know of no state that has come forward to offer itself as a venue.

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