I don’t disagree with Eric Holder’s complaint regarding the role Congress has played in tying the Executive Branch’s hands with respect to bringing the 9/11 conspirators to trial. In fact, I strongly agree with him. It’s a grossly inappropriate interference in a core Executive competency.
Having said that, the tone of Holder’s comments today seems to me all wrong. He, and the Obama administration generally, still talk as though this administration does not own the policies it is implementing. The detainees are a legacy of the last administration–notwithstanding the litigating positions of this administration. Guantanamo is an illegitimate diplomatic eyesore that must be closed–even though this administration will not close it and relies every day on the legitimacy such statements undermine. Military commissions are an embarrassing cousin of the justice system, another legacy of the last administration–notwithstanding the legislation this administration sought and received enshrining them in law and the fact that it will now use them in this highest-profile of cases.