Thursday, January 6


The idea of the US president nominating and the Congress confirming Alberto Gonzales as the chief law enforcement officer of the land is so bizarre and un-American that it's just another great example of the alternate reality into which BushCo has plunged us:

The senators are likely to give full legitimacy to a path that the Bush administration set the country on more than three years ago, a path that has transformed the United States from a country that condemned torture and forbade its use to one that practices torture routinely. Through a process of redefinition largely overseen by Mr. Gonzales himself, a practice that was once a clear and abhorrent violation of the law has become in effect the law of the land.
But what we are unlikely to hear, given the balance of votes in the Senate, are many voices making the obvious argument that with this record, Mr. Gonzales is unfit to serve as attorney general. So let me make it: Mr. Gonzales is unfit because the slow river of litigation is certain to bring before the next attorney general a raft of torture cases that challenge the very policies that he personally helped devise and put into practice. He is unfit because, while the attorney general is charged with upholding the law, the documents show that as White House counsel, Mr. Gonzales, in the matter of torture, helped his client to concoct strategies to circumvent it. And he is unfit, finally, because he has rightly become the symbol of the United States' fateful departure from a body of settled international law and human rights practice for which the country claims to stand.

UPDATE: Just came across this great editorial, Public silent as rules of civil society are rewritten:

Gonzales wants to be the next attorney general, the nation's chief enforcer of the Constitution, which prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment" clearly enough. He wants his confirmation hearing to be a formality, not a showcase for contradictions.

He'll likely get his wish. Expect Gonzales to provide the paint, the committee to provide the brushes, and Thursday's hearing to be the inaugural whitewash of the second Bush administration.

The committee's membership, Republican or Democrat, has yet to raise much of a fuss about the administration's taste for gulag justice -- at Guantanamo Bay, at Abu Ghraib prison, at home through the USA Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security's thickening rulebook. The committee's members aren't about to fuss now, even though one of the chief architects of those gulag ways will be sitting in front of them for two hours.
Gonzales didn't write the torture memo as an exercise in possibilities, but as an affirmation of policies then ongoing. Last week the Justice Department posted a 17-page memo on its Web site professing to refute the Gonzales memo, and calling all torture unacceptable. Yet it also concludes that none of the interrogation methods approved by the Justice Department have amounted to torture. It's another word game, a whitewash to facilitate Gonzales' confirmation and make Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and lesser-known scandals seem like nothing more complicated, or less reasonable, than Taking Care of Business.


Post a Comment

<< Home