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Yeah, No, Let’s Keep Rationalizing This

January 31, 2010

This sounds like a change in rhetoric, even if it isn’t:

Interviewed on CNN’s “State of the Union,” show, Gibbs said: “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is going to meet justice and he’s going to meet his maker. He will be brought to justice and he’s likely to be executed for the heinous crimes he committed.”

To which the sentient reply, what’s the point?  The pretense that this will be a real trial has always required the imagination of a five-year-old only-child to be believed, but Gibbs is supposed to represent the opinion of the White House.  The President backed away from his own “he’s gonna fry!” rhetoric a few months ago because (I’m guessing) he realized that the eradication of the presumption of innocence from the highest office in the country essentially removes all worth from the “innocent until proven guilty” principle of the justice system.  Now, we’re all aware that Gibbs couldn’t talk his way out of a paper bag, but I don’t see a way in which this doesn’t reflect poorly on Holder and the President.  Instapundit:

This statement, from an official White House spokesman, seems a bit indiscreet. Certainly if the goal is to impress the rest of the world with the fairness of our civilian judicial system, official statements that treat conviction and execution as near-certain would seem to undercut the whole point of the exercise.

Well, yeah.  Does everybody realize that a murder trial is a murder trial is a murder trial?  What if Mike McCurry, much less Bill Clinton himself, had said on CNN that O.J. Simpson was “going to meet justice and he’s going to meet his maker” for those murders.  Would anybody on Earth think that was fair?  It might be presumptuous or even reckless for someone with a soapbox to announce his opinion on what the outcome of a trial should be, but the chances of that affecting the outcome are Amarillo Slim.  The President of the United States, on the other hand, is somebody that pretty much everybody listens to—whoever the jurors are will know what the POTUS said and that he’s expecting a conviction.  It’s a charade from the get-go.

This is not to suggest that the Administration should tread even more carefully with their words than they did with the “alleged” criminal Abdulmutallab in order to maintain the appearance of an independent observer in matters of national security (?).  If we’re going to be at war, then let’s be at war.

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