Here's what the Attorney General isn't doing. He's not following public opinion, which generally opposes conducting any sort of 9/11 terrorist trial in the United States. He's not following perceived political wisdom, in that the administration is not providing cover for Democrats who are afraid of Republican remonstrations on terrorism. He is not appeasing special interest groups, the bulk of whom -- the ACLU being an example -- oppose quite vociferously the prospect of any new military commissions.
If this is politics, it's really dumb politics. And that's why it's probably not politics. Occam's razor applies. Obama and Holder are sincerely -- perhaps naively, but that's something we won't know for a while -- attempting to change the way the American people and the world think about counterterrorism. They want to change the narrative from a "strength/weakness" metaphor to an "example/rule of law" metaphor. This sounds a little PoMo, but it's the mark of a president who, on this issue in particular, does not believe that the old ways of thinking make America any safer. Certainly, they don't contribute to a national security politics of consensus.
This will be a hard sell. The chief GOP arguments -- that terrorists don't deserve the same rights as Americans -- even common criminals -- and that the 9/11 terrorists are inherently of a different and more nefarious breed of species than people who break the law -- are generally supported by Americans.