Friday, January 07, 2005

Sauron Network Still Flings Mud

In today's Against the Grain commentary by Dick Meyer, CBS continues to refuse to let accuracy get in the way of complaints against the Bush Administration:

The Gonzales record, as it stands now, is clear and ought to be anathema to any Democrat:

his sanctioning of an August 2002 Justice Department memo that essentially condones torture in interrogation

his memo to the president that argued the Geneva Conventions didn’t apply to aspects of the war on terror

his decisions to use military tribunals instead of courts and to designate U.S. citizens as “enemy combatants"

Gonzales erred at every juncture. These decisions have all since been renounced by courts or by the relevant agencies. And, of course, they are closely tied to national embarrassments of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and the abuse of Afghan and Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers. Thus Gonzales’ legal work for his client, the president, is tied to those failures.
I have no idea what it means to "sanction" a memo; Gonzalez requested an analysis by Justice Department employees and forwarded it to the President.
Gonzalez did not argue that the Geneva Convention did not apply to terrorists; the Geneva Convention itself says that unorganized fighters may not be prisoners of war and that combatant states may set up tribunals to sort out captured fighters into POWs and insurgents, a position Gonzalez endorsed and that federal courts have upheld.
Military tribunals are ongoing.
Although courts have limited the ability to try citizens as enemy combatants, only one such person was charged and the government halted proceedings pending a resolution of the matter from a federal court.

But this does not matter, because Meyer is embarrassed about locking terrorists up in Guantanamo, and since Bush is now forever out of his reach, he'll slam the staff.

...On the other key part of Gonzales’ career: as counsel to Texas Governor George W. Bush, Gonzales’ most important job (by Bush’s own measure) was to brief the governor on each execution in the state. And in Texas -- there were a lot – 150 in Bush’s six years as governor.

Alberto Gonzales wrote an “execution summary” for the first 57 of those cases. Those memos were obtained by writer Alan Berlow, who wrote about them extensively in The Atlantic Monthly in the summer of 2003.

Berlow wrote, “In these documents Gonzales repeatedly failed to apprise the governor of crucial issues in the cases at hand: ineffective counsel, conflict of interest, mitigating evidence, even actual evidence of innocence.”
These matters are the basis of an appeal, and in our system it is the judges who consider the merit of such claims. The State Counsel has no obligation to act as the advocate of the condemned, broaching every claim by the convicted killer as to why he should not be executed.

Meyer concludes:
Four years ago, the Democrats rolled over on the Ashcroft nomination. Then they rolled over on the Bush tax cuts, the authority to invade Iraq, the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind and the Medicare reforms. None of that did them one lick of good in November.

If the Democrats have the gumption to fight about anything, it ought to be about this nomination. But it appears they don’t.

Since the brains behind the Ashcroft nomination, the tax cuts, the Iraq war, the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind and Medicare reforms just won 60,000,000 votes for re-election, perhaps the Democrats should have firmly endorsed such things instead of screaming that they represented the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

So I don't think Democrats will put much stock in Meyer's advice, though I'm sure they're glad to know he's on their side.

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