Maureen Dowd (Down, Woody, I can't reach the keyboard!) chimes in on Sleazy Gonzales:
The Associated Press headline that came over the wire yesterday said it all: "Gonzales Will Follow Non-Torture Policies."
You know how bad the situation is when the president's choice for attorney general has to formally pledge not to support torture anymore.
Before he helped President Bush circumvent the accords and reserve the right to do so "in this or future conflicts," you had to tune in to an old movie with Nazi generals or Vietcong guards if you wanted to see someone sneeringly shrug off the international treaty protecting prisoners from abuse. ("You worthless running dog Chuck Norris! What do we care about your silly Geneva Conventions?")
How are you to believe Mr. Gonzales when he says he's through with torture? His mission is clearly to do whatever he thinks Mr. Bush wants.
It's comforting to start the new year in the hands of a party that cares so much about morals and values.
She's in good form. She also lays into the Commerce Dept., the EPA, "Bugs" DeLay, Rumbo, and Clarence Thomas. Go read.
Mark Danner writes on the same subject. A little more content than MoDo, but he doesn't get me hot:
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 (my emphasis). 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.
At present, our government, controlled largely by one party only intermittently harried by a timorous opposition, is unable to mete out punishment or change policy, let alone adequately investigate its own war crimes. And, as administration officials clearly expect, and senators of both parties well understand, most Americans - the Americans who will not read the reports, who will soon forget the photographs and who will be loath to dwell on a repellent subject - are generally content to take the president at his word.
Content. Yeah, why look up while they're grazing? If the wolf don't kill 'em, the shepherd'll screw 'em. Then, it's shearing time (if they're lucky) or the mutton works. Too late to bitch then. Idiots.
By using torture, we Americans transform ourselves into the very caricature our enemies have sought to make of us. True, that miserable man who pulled out his hair as he lay on the floor at Guantánamo may eventually tell his interrogators what he knows, or what they want to hear. But for America, torture is self-defeating; for a strong country it is in the end a strategy of weakness. After Mr. Gonzales is confirmed, the road back - to justice, order and propriety - will be very long. Torture will belong to us all. (my emphases)
That last short sentence says it all.
Mark Danner is the author of "Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib and the War on Terror."