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"The whole world was watching our Senate debate the Gonzales appointment to determine whether American politicians would hold torture's advocate accountable, or choose instead to reward torture's advocate with a higher office. Now they have their answer:" 


The Senate Has Confirmed Alberto Gonzales As Our Next US Attorney General: Did Anyone Have Enough Conscience And Courage To Oppose Him?
Posted February 7, 2005 thepeoplesvoice.org

By: Evan Augustine Peterson lll, J.D.

If you see wicked men perverting justice, do not say: 'Since they are many, I must follow after them'." -Rashi, 1040-1105, Commentaries On The Pentateuch.

After three consecutive days of sharply-divided floor debate, the Senate finally confirmed Alberto Gonzales as our next US Attorney General by a vote of 60-36. Although several media pundits predicted that the Senate's 44 Democrats would capitulate under pressure from its 55 Republicans, this cave-in never happened.

At the end of the day, six turncoat Democrats did vote WITH the Republicans to confirm Mr. Gonzales (see their infamous names in Appendix B below ). However, 35 Democrats and one Independent voted AGAINST this terrible appointment (see Appendix A below). Perhaps the worst act of betrayal came when Democrat-in-name-only Joseph Lieberman (CT) chose to quote a Biblical passage about doing justice, but then perversely ignored Mr. Gonzales' recent complicity in grave injustices, while advocating his confirmation.

Nevetheless, the floor debate was dominated by compelling arguments from principled Democratic speakers (e.g., see numbers 1 and 5 in Appendix C below), who quite rightly opposed Mr. Gonzales' confirmation on the following grounds:

(1) he has a history of dispensing erroneous legal advice that lacks respect for human rights, civil rights, constitutional law, international law, and the rule of law;
(2) he lacks independent judgement and is habitually subservient to Mr. Bush's agenda; (3) he has unethically refused to recuse himself from the DOJ's ongoing investigation of Enron Corporation, despite the fact that he was legal counsel for Enron in Houston;
(4) he advocates a vastly expanded "commander-in-chief authority" during times of conflict which would unconstitutionally grant the president "above the law" dictatorial powers to override both domestic and international law; 
(5) he first commissioned, and then signed off on, memos from his shyster colleagues, through which they attempted to circumvent well-established anti-torture laws and to justify brutal pre-interrogation and interrogation tactics, when anyone with a scintilla of common sense would have known that their legally-meritless arguments and implausible definitions were merely euphemistic fig-leafs to cover illegal torture tactics; and
(6) he failed to use his considerable power as White House Counsel to prevent the Bush administration from "unofficially" adopting the blatantly-illegal policies -- like "coercive Interrogations," "ghost detainees," and "extraordinary renditions" -- that laid the groundwork for the USA's appalling human-rights violations at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.

Contrastingly, no Republican Senator possessed enough conscience and courage to break away from their party's slavish rubber-stamping of Mr. Bush's every wish. Despite overwhelming opposition to this appointment from the American people and the US media (see Appendix C below), Republican speakers like Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) ignored not only their constituents but also the facts. Indeed, the Republican speakers added insult to injury by blithely ignoring their opponents' factual arguments and resorting instead to shameless bully-boy intimidation tactics, like playing the race card by falsely claiming that opposition to Gonzales was either "frivolous" or "racist"!

Overarching Conclusions: The whole world was watching our Senate debate the Gonzales appointment to determine whether American politicians would hold torture's advocate accountable, or choose instead to reward torture's advocate with a higher office. Now they have their answer: (1) 98% -- or 54 out of 55 -- of the Republican Senators cried crocodile tears when the Abu Ghraib torture scandal became public knowledge, but then showed us their disgustingly-hypocritical nature by voting "Yes -- let's reward torture's advocate with the US Attorney General's office!"; (2) but 80% --or 35 out of 44 -- of the Democratic Senators had enough principled respect for universal human rights to vote "No -- we cannot in good conscience reward torture's advocate with this important higher office!"

The Bottom Line: The 36 steadfast Senators should be commended for their principled integrity, but the increasingly-fascistic Republicans and the six defectors should be ashamed of themselves for -- among other things -- their perverse rubber-stamping of these terrible decisions by Mr. Bush: (A) to reward former Deputy Attorney General Jay Bybee -- whom Mr. Gonzales assigned to write the infamous "torture memo" in August of 2002 -- with a lifetime position on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; and (B) to then reward former White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales with the nation's top law-enforcement position -- which insiders regard as Mr. Bush's strategic prelude to nominating Gonzales for a lifetime position on the US Supreme Court!


A. 6 Dem Senators Voted With Reps To Confirm Alberto Gonzales As USAG
1. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
2. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)
3. Ben Nelson (D-NE)
4. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
5. Mark Pryor (D-AR)
6. Ken Salazar (D-CO)

B. 36 Senators Voted AGAINST Confirming Alberto Gonzales As USAG
1. Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
2. Evan Bayh (D-IN)
3. Joseph Biden (D-DE)
4. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
5. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) 6. Robert Byrd (D-WVA)
7. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
8. Thomas Carper (D-DE)
9. Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
10. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) 11. Mark Dayton (D-MN)
12. Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
13. Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
14. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
15. Russell Feingold (D-WI)
16. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
17. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
18. James Jeffords (I-VT)
19. Tim Johnson (D-SD)
20. Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
21. John Kerry (D-MA)
22. Herbert Kohl (D-WI)
23. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
24. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
25. Carl Levin (D-MI)
26. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
27. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
28. Patty Murray (D-WA)
29. Barack Obama (D-IL)
30. Jack Reed (D-RI)
31. Harry Reid (D-NV)
32. John Rockefeller (D-WVA)
33. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)
34. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
35. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
36. Ron Wyden (D-OR)

C. 40 Recent Articles OPPOSING Alberto Gonzales As US Attorney General
1. Senator Robert Byrd's 2-2-05 CD essay, "Respecting The Spirit And Letter Of The Law: On The Nomination Of Alberto Gonzales To Be Attorney General Of The United States" [a transcript of his Senate speech]: http://www.commondreams.org

2. John Nichols' 2-2-05 TN essay, "Rebuke Gonzales And Torture": http://www.thenation.com/thebeat/

3. Center for Constitutional Rights' 2-2-05 WWE article, "Confirmation Of Gonzales' Role In Abu Ghraib Torture": http://www.itszone.co.uk/zone0/view

4. Robert Collier's 2-2-05 CD/SFC article, "Gonzales OK Could Be Seen As OK For Torture Rules": http://www.commondreams

5. Senator Edward Kennedy's 2-1-05 TMT essay, "Kennedy Makes Case Against Gonzales" [a transcript of his Senate speech]: http://www.themoderntribune.com/kennedy

6. Joshua Dratel's 2-1-05 CD essay, "The Road to Abu Ghraib: The Legal Narrative": http://www.commondreams.org

7. The Interfaith Alliance's 2-2-05 CD/TIA press release, "Send Gonzales Nomination Back To Committee: Policies Allowing Torture Violate Moral Values, Human Rights": http://www.commondreams.org

8. Sojourners' 1-31-05 Sojo.net editorial, "What's At Stake: Oppose the Confirmation of Alberto Gonzales":  http://go.sojo.net/campaign/

9. UV Professor Huck Gutman's 1-26-05 CD essay, "Speedy Gonzales And The Rule Of Law":  http://www.commondreams.org

10. New York Times' 1-26-05 NYT editorial, "The Wrong Attorney General":

11. The Capital Times' 1-26-05 CD/CT editorial, "The Gonzales Nomination: Feingold's Key Vote": http://www.commondreams.org

12. Human Rights Watch's 1-26-05 CD article, "US Justifying Abuse Of Detainees [Through Torture Advocate Alberto Gonzales]": http://www.commondreams.org

13. Frank Davies' 1-26-05 CD/KR article, "Torture Treaty Doesn't Bar 'Cruel, Inhuman' Tactics, Gonzales Says": http://www.commondreams.org

14. Daily Kos' 1-25-05 DK editorial, "No On Gonzales," at: http://www.dailykos.com/story

15.  The Capital Times' 1-25-05 CD/CT editorial, "Feingold Should Rethink": http://www.commondreams.org

16. Jonathan Schell's 1-20-05 CD essay, "What Is Wrong With Torture": http://www.commondreams.org

17. Eric Mink's 1-12-05 St. Louis Post-Dispatch essay, "War On Terror: Grabbing Power, Losing Respect": http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/colu

18. Thom Hartmann's 1-11-05 CD essay, "First They Came For The Terrorists": http://www.commondreams.org

19. Ted Rall's 1-12-05 CD/TR essay, "The Normalization Of Horror: American Become Permanent": http://www.commondreams.org

20. Marie Cocco's 1-12-05 CD/Newsday essay, "Democrats' Fury And Values Go AWOL": http://www.commondreams.org

21. D. Lindley Young's 1-10-05 TMT essay, "Above The Law Or Outside It: The Legal Limits Of Torture": http://www.themoderntribune.com/gonzalez

22. Andrew Sullivan's 1-9-05 TO essay, "Bush's New Sheriff Reveals A Double Standard for Torture":  http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/

23. Dick Meyer's 1-8-05 CD essay, "Senate Democrats: Advise & Rubber Stamp": http://www.commondreams.org

24. Minneapolis Star-Tribune's 1-7-05 CD editorial, "Alberto Gonzales Has Blood On His Hands":  http://www.commondreams.org

25. New York Times' 1-7-05 NYT editorial, "Mr. Gonzales Speaks": http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/07

26. Bob Herbert's 1-7-05 NYT essay, "Promoting Torture's Promoter": http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/07

27. FP Law School Dean & Admiral John Hutton's (USN-Ret.) 1-6-05 Jurist essay, "Against Gonzales":  http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forumy/
Also see Yale Law Dean Harold Koh's 1-6-05 "Testimony To The SJC" (download it at this URL): http://www.law.yale.edu/outside/html

28. Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern's 1-6-05 CD essay, "It's Not Only Illegal, It's Wrong": http://www.commondreams.org

29. FC Law Professor Brian Foley's 1-6-05 CP essay, "Supporting Torture Is Not Gonzales' Worst Sin: A Contempt for Civil Rights": http://www.counterpunch.com

30. Jim Lobe's 1-5-05 CD article, "50 Civil Rights Groups Express Concerns About Alberto Gonzales' Civil Rights Record": http://www.commondreams.org

31. Evan Augustine Peterson III's 1-5-05 VH essay, "Unfinished Business: Confirming Bush's USAG Appointee Is Unthinkable": http://www.vheadline.com

32. The Nation's 1-5-05 TN essay, "Oppose The Gonzales Nomination": http://www.thenation.com

33. Robert Scheer's 1-5-05 CD/LAT essay, "Backing Gonzales is Backing Torture": http://www.commondreams.org

34. Ron Daniels' 1-5-05 ZN essay, "Oppose the Nomination of Alberto Gonzales": http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle

35. Maria Blanco's 1-2-05 SFC essay, "Not In My Name: Latino Appointee Does Not Appeal": 

36. Daily Kos' 12-28-04 essay, "Why We Must Oppose Alberto Gonzales For AG": http://www.dailykos.com/story

37. Nat Hentoff's 12-3-04 TO/VV essay, "Alberto Gonzales, Torture & Death": http://www.truthout.org/

38. Evan Augustine Peterson III's 11-30-04 NFNZ essay, "Why The USA Must Reject Bush's 'Marquis De Sade' Nominee For Attorney General": http://nuclearfree.lynx.co.nz/gonzales.htm
39. UIUC Law Professor Francis Boyle's 11-18-04 CP essay, "War Criminal For Attorney General?": http://www.counterpunch.org/boyle
 Also see the related "Nüremberg Principles" -- and especially Principle VII:  http://deoxy.org/wc/wc-nurem.htm
40. Bernard Weiner's 6-15-04 CP essay, "No Other Way To Say This: Torture Memos Reveal Fascist Mentality": http://www.crisispapers.org/essays/fascist.htm

Again, thanks very much to everyone who made those calls and sent those e-mails to US Senators in response to Action Alerts!


©2005EAPIII Author: Evan Augustine Peterson III, J.D., is the Executive Director of the American Center for International Law ("ACIL"). EvPeters8@aol.com



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