Not again!

Alberto Gonzales

Time to stand up

It has come to this: the nominee to be Attorney General of the United States — the chief law enforcement officer of the land — is promising he will uphold laws against torture.

Alberto Gonzales is another of George Bush's yes-boys. As counsel to Governor Bush of Texas, Gonzales ignored any and all issues that might have impeded the Bush death-penalty execution machine. As counsel to President Bush, Gonzales wrote the memo giving Bush his considered legal judgment that the Geneva conventions against torture were "quaint" and obsolete. This is not the kind of man to advise any president, much less one so in need of principled advice as George W Bush.

Gonzales is before the Senate Judiciary committee today for a hearing on his nomination. I sent the following letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) who is a member of the committee:


I am strongly opposed to the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to be Attorney General and I urge you to vote against his confirmation.

Simply put, Gonzales is unfit to be Attorney General. Mark Danner, writing in today's New York Times op-ed page summarized the problem with Gonzales better than I could, so I simply repeat his words:

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.
We are all torturers now by Mark Danner, New York Times, 6-Jan-05

In general, I support the notion that a president should be able to appoint the cabinet members he wants. But I also believe that "advice and consent" does not mean rubber stamp.

I know there will be an attempt to mollify opposition by explaining away Gonzales' shameful record and by promising to uphold the laws, etc. But that's exactly what happened when John Ashcroft came before the Judiciary committee and look where that got us. It is time for honorable and decent people to say "No more!"

Paul Williamson