There are few things Washington media loves more than a public
disagreement between high-ranking officials. So when top Afghanistan
commander General Stanley McChrystal and Attorney General Eric Holder
gave conflicting answers on a weighty but 100 percent hypothetical
national security question, it became big news. On Tuesday, both were
asked independently how Osama Bin Laden, if found, would be treated.
Here's Holder when asked whether Bin Laden would be read his Miranda
The possibility of capturing him alive is infinitesimal.
He will be killed by us, or he will be killed by his own people so that
he is not captured by us. We know that. ... The possibility simply does
Here's McChrystal answering
a similar question:
Osama bin Laden comes inside Afghanistan, which is the writ of my
mandate, because I’m the ISAF commander here, we certainly would go
after trying to capture him alive and bring him to justice. I think that
is something that is understood by everyone.
Washington, losing its collective mind:
- Holder 'Just Can't Win' Spencer Ackerman shrugs,
"Eric Holder just can’t win. Admittedly, the question of what to do with
bin Laden has been sadly hypothetical since the al-Qaeda leader’s 2001
escape from Tora Bora. But it’s still surprising to hear two senior
officials in the best positions to provide guidance give diametrically
- Victory For McChrystal The Weekly
Standard's William Kristol declares
it. "Unlike Attorney General Eric Holder, Stanley McChrystal is no
fool," he writes. "Common sense from McChrystal. And another
embarassment for Holder."
- There's No Conflict Here The
American Prospect's Adam Serwer suggests the two statements aren't as
mutually exclusive as they might look on first glance. He seethes, "This
is the most idiotic controversy since Obama put mayonnaise or mustard
on his burger or whatever. If Obama does get bin Laden alive, the GOP
can whine about civilian trials all they want, no amount of raw-throated
caterwauling from the GOP will be heard over the grateful cheers of the
- Who's Making The Calls? Commentary's Jennifer Rubin huffs,
"Obvious who you want making national-security calls." Presumably, she
is referring to McChrystal.
- Administration Reconciles The
Wall Street Journal
reports, "The Justice Department says the two remarks aren’t in
conflict. They say Holder wasn’t implying the military wouldn’t try to
capture bin Laden alive but it is more likely than not that the U.S.
would kill him or bin Laden’s own body guards would."
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