"I want justice," he said after a meeting at the Pentagon, where 188 people were killed last Tuesday when an airliner crashed into the building. "And there's an old poster out West that says, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive.' "Bush was criticized harshly over the years for saying "Wanted: Dead or Alive." At the end of his term, Bush expressed regret about talking like that:
He then seemed to temper his remarks by adding: "All I want and America wants is to see them brought to justice. That's what we want."
The blunt, Texas-style rhetoric, delivered off the cuff, came a day after Vice-President Dick Cheney said he would willingly accept bin Laden's "head on a platter". Some advisers said that although the comments might be popular in America, they would not be welcomed by European or Arab allies.
Mr Bush had just received a briefing on the call-up of military reservists and plans for Operation Noble Eagle, the name given to the "war on terrorism" that the president has vowed to prosecute.
Striking a sombre tone, he told Americans they should expect further casualties. "The United States military is ready to defend freedom at any cost," he said. "We will win the war and there will be costs."
"I regret saying some things I shouldn't have said," Bush told CNN's Heidi Collins when asked to reflect on his regrets over his two terms as president. "Like 'dead or alive' and 'bring 'em on.' My wife reminded me that, hey, as president of the United States, be careful what you say."Now, here's Attorney General Eric Holder, at a House hearing yesterday:
"The reality is that we will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama Bin Laden - he will never appear in an American courtroom," the nation's chief enforcement officer told a stunned House hearing....
GOP congressmen tried to pummel the nation's top law enforcement official over giving terrorists the same constitutional rights in civilian courts as American defendants, such as the now-unlikely lower Manhattan trial of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.So, Bush, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, called for the capture of bin Laden "Dead or Alive," but Holder, with 9 years to meditate on the right way to deal with the situation, assures us that bin Laden will not be taken alive. What has brought Holder to this heated state of mind? Not the death of thousands of Americans. The threat to his political prestige. It gets his "blood boiling" that he is attacked. The fact that we were attacked did not loom large when he decided to try KSM in federal court New York City. But when that decision was savaged, he changed his tone.
Holder said terrorists are treated like the murderers they are in federal courts - or, more specifically, "like Charles Manson."
When Rep. John Culberson (R-Tex.) said that if Bin Laden himself were arrested, it would be absurd to give him the same due process afforded Manson, Holder erupted.
Charges he coddles terrorists get his "blood boiling," the attorney general conceded....
Holder repeated - slowly - to the Texas congressman that "the possibility simply does not exist" that Bin Laden will ever be arraigned in any court....
"The possibility of capturing him alive is infinitesimal - he will be killed by us or he will be killed by his own people," Holder said.
He needed to show how tough he was, and now he's resorting to saying that bin Laden won't be taken alive. Oh, he concedes an "infinitesimal" possibility. What does that mean? If bin Laden openly surrendered or he was trapped and utterly defenseless, we couldn't gun him down. And then what would Holder do? Read Miranda rights to bin Laden's not-yet-a-corpse? Try him like a Manson? Ah, but Holder doesn't want you to think about that. He suddenly wants to strike the Dick Cheney bring-me-his-head-on-a-platter pose... until we stop calling him weak, his blood cools down, and he can get back to lecturing us about America's abstract ideals.