Opportunism pays

My post last night on the Holder confirmation hearing focused on the Marc Rich pardon. There were other highlights, but not many.

Holder stated that waterboarding is torture and illegal. Questioned about the situation in which there is a desperate need to obtain information from a terrorist in order to save many lives, Holder resorted to a familiar dodge, stating that waterboarding might not work.

Are we to believe, then, that Holder would reject the opportunity to save thousands of lives by eschewing a method that reportedly has caused hardened terrorists to talk, on the grounds that it’s “torture” and might not work? I don’t believe it. I believe that in the “ticking time bomb” scenario, the Obama administration would try waterboarding and, if didn’t work, proceed to measures that more clearly constitute torture.

But then, I’ve always been inclined to think the best of people.

Holder was also asked whether he intends to prosecute Bush administration officials. He was non-committal. However, Senator Sessions noted that, when he addressed this matter in a speech to the American Constitution Society, Holder stated that “we owe the American people a reckoning.”

Holder does owe it to the American people to prosecute Bush administration officials to the extent they have committed real crimes. But it does not owe the American people “a reckoning,” by which Holder clearly meant trials over Bush administration anti-terrorism policies that leftist lawyers disagree with.

I don’t expect that Obama will countenance such show trials. He’s probably too decent and, in any case, is not interested either in energizing the right or in setting a precedent that might haunt him.

Which is the real Eric Holder, the measured figure before the Senate or the man who served up red meat for lefty lawyers? The real Eric Holder is the opportunist who is always eager to tell people what they want to hear, even when it involves pardoning a reprehensible criminal fugitive. And, precisely because opportunism pays, expect Holder to more or less waltz into the top position at the Department of Justice.

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