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Why they fear Eric Holder, why we need him

February 18, 2009

by Harry C. Alford, NNPA columnist

The first Black president, Barack Obama, nominates the first Black attorney general, Eric Holder. – Photo: Charles Dharapak, AP
The first Black president, Barack Obama, nominates the first Black attorney general, Eric Holder. – Photo: Charles Dharapak, AP
The rule of law and the U.S. Constitution are sacred codes for our society. We must protect them to ensure our democracy and guarantee equal protection under the law for all of us. Anything less is chaos and tyranny.

My fellow citizens, we have been threatened with chaos and tyranny during the terms of the last three attorneys general. The office of the attorney general is one of the four most important cabinet positions, along with treasury, state and defense. Proper execution of its duties and the management by its executives is key to our future and our image throughout the world. The United States is supposed to be the model for values and liberty. Our leadership role is at risk.

Who would have thought that the United States of America would be committing war crimes through torture, privacy violations etc.? We have lately committed torture and have subcontracted torture to other less democratic nations via rendition. We have held people in prison without habeas corpus or charges. We have brutalized citizens of other nations through the misconduct of our troops and agents.

It is now time for justice to be served. Change must come and it is on its way via the election of President Barack H. Obama. He has promised change and he will deliver. At the Justice Department he has selected the very talented and experienced Eric Holder. There is no one more qualified to take on this task and we are blessed with his nomination.

But there are those who fear this warrior for justice. They are afraid of the accountability that must be applied to the transgressors, no matter who they are. They can run but they cannot hide. Many are squirming at the fact that justice is about to smack them upside their head no matter how high up in the pecking order they may be. Wrong is wrong and no one should get a pass.

History shows us that this must be done to protect our values. Those who mismanaged prisoner of war camps during the Civil War were prosecuted and sentenced accordingly. U.S. troops who performed “waterboarding” during the Vietnam War were prosecuted accordingly. It is wrong to torture and justice must prevail.

It is wrong to steal money or ruin mortgages through Wall Street shenanigans and justice must prevail. It is wrong to discriminate in offices set up for civil rights and justice must prevail. It is wrong to steal the juicy procurement contracts and half perform them and justice must prevail. So Eric Holder is a blessing for us and those who are guilty can try to put up a fight but he is coming and Hallelujah.

After World War II, we evaluated the performance of the Japanese Imperial Army in the Philippines where they brutalized civilians, Filipino and American troops. We quickly held trials and every officer of the Japanese military in the Philippines met the hangmen’s noose. Every one of them was executed. Many of the high ranking noncommissioned officers – top sergeants – were also hanged for war crimes. There were also other formal trials for Japanese officers who committed war crimes such as torture and, of course, the Nuremberg Trials dealt with the German officers and politicians who violated humanity.

The Soviet Union, at the end of World War II, went rather “medieval” in issuing justice. As they conquered Eastern Germany they collected over 1 million German military prisoners of war. They marched them off into deep Russia and only 5,000 ever returned home.

Gen. Zhukov issued an edict to his conquering Soviet troops, saying, in essence: They have ravaged our land and killed 20 million of our people. You are all hurting and must exact revenge. As of 6 p.m. tonight and during the next 48 hours, Germany is yours. No house or business will be locked. Those violating this order should be executed on the spot. Have their women, wine and liquor, and their money. Enjoy in the name of the Motherland.

During the next two days over 126,000 German women were gang raped by Soviet troops. More than 16,000 of these women committed suicide, fearing that this would be their plight forever. It was more pay back than justice to the extreme, according to the cable TV Military Channel.

U.S. agents and their contractors have tortured, kidnapped and violated the rights of human beings in violation of the Geneva Conventions. We are not the old Soviet Union and the courts must be utilized to correct these transgressions.

We must clean up Wall Street and must address discrimination in the name of the federal government. American citizens should be protected by privacy laws and not abused. Our ideal has been threatened and we need an attorney general to clean the mess up. No man is above the law. Eric Holder is the right guy at the right time. There is much work to do! Yes, we can.

Harry C. Alford is the co-founder, president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

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