blogenlust
11.11.2004

Que pasa con Gonzales?


I agree with Phil Carter, the author of the incredible blog Defense Tech, on the nomination of Alberto Gonzales as the next Attorney General. That is, I have serious issues with Gonzales's most recent legal advice regarding the war on terrorism. For instance:
The second set of tough questions arises out of Gonzales' work on a series of legal policies adopted by the Bush administration as part of the war on terrorism. As White House counsel, Gonzales played a key role in pushing the administration to brand the Geneva Conventions "obsolete" and "quaint" and to unilaterally declare them inapplicable to al-Qaida and the Taliban. Gonzales played a key role in the decision to use Guantanamo Bay as a global detention facility because it was believed to be outside the reach of U.S. courts and the rule of law. (The Supreme Court held otherwise in Rasul v. Bush in June 2004.) And, perhaps most disturbingly, Gonzales sat at the apex of the storm that swirled within the Bush administration's legal ranks over the use of "coercive interrogation" practices and torture to extract information from detainees in Cuba, Afghanistan, and Iraq. One of the "torture memos," produced in this period by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel for Gonzales, argued that the president had the extra-constitutional power to nullify both the Geneva Conventions and the federal war crimes statute when he deemed it necessary, based on his inherent authority as commander in chief of the armed forces.
Carter later points out that it is sort of funny that the candidate who was elected because of moral values appoints people that have undermined democratic ideals in favor of personal loyalty. I'll go one step further and say that torture is not a moral value and any candidate that both promotes moral virtue and torture is a fucking hypocrite (see Frank Rich). I suspect Carter feels the same way, but he is just more polite than I am. Even though I have reservations about Gonzales, he is certainly better than Ashcroft, and Bush certainly could have chosen a far worse nominee (oh, I don't know, Jerry Falwell?). Regardless, Abu Ghraib and Gitmo have been such black marks on our national image (at least internationally, but unfortunately not so much domestically)that I have a hard time supporting the promotion of anyone who wrote and promoted the policies that led to those horrendous events. It is a sad set of affairs when "at least he is better than Ashcroft" is enough of a qualification to become the Attorney General. UPDATE: mrgrumby2u agrees, and the Political Animal has more, too.