I almost felt sorry for Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday when he had to announce the administration had given up on bringing Khalid Sheik Mohammed and other 9/11 plotters into a real court of justice. I doubt if he hoped to have his name joined with those of John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales, Attorneys General who subverted the rule of law in the service of a scruple-free, rather stupid President. Holder's President doesn't even seem to be unscrupulous, merely vacant, devoid of either firm principle or political capacity. His enemies go "boo" and he quickly offers them his submissive neck -- and ours.
If we ever rebound from this law-free era, Guantanamo and our military kangaroo courts will be a national shame, the symbol of a fearful time when a powerful nation was frightened out of our wits. President Obama has lent himself to abuses of this country's best traditions on a par with jailing war critics during World War I under the Espionage Act and interning loyal Japanese Americans during World War II.
I'm sure our first Black Attorney General did not expect to become the enabler of a Black President one of whose signal accomplishments was chip away at the country's heritage of legality itself. But whatever else these men accomplish (and it is hard to see how that can be much), this cowardice will be their legacy.