"If the American people do nothing, we'll have the postmodern equivalent
of the Spanish Inquisition's Torquemada as our next Attorney General"
Unfinished Business: Confirming Bush's Appointee is Unthinkable Because Confirming Gonzales Is Confirming Torture
Posted January 6, 2005 thepeoplesvoice.org
Evan Augustine Peterson lll, J.D.
Readers might recall that White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales wrote an infamous
"torture memo," dated 25 January 2002, in which he erroneously advised
President Bush that he could: (1) use his "commander-in-chief
authority" to override the "quaint and obsolete" Geneva
Conventions, the UN Convention Against Torture, and the US War Crimes Act,
during his so-called "War on Terror"; and (2) authorize the use of
interrogation methods which are tantamount to torture on prisoners held in
Guantanamo Bay and other US military prisons.
Mr. Gonzales' legal opinion was meritless but highly consequential, for it
ultimately lead to the US military's scandalous use of torture tactics on war
prisoners and detainees -- including at least 40 who were tortured to death --
at Abu Ghraib and other prisons. Now the entire world regards Alberto Gonzales
as complicit in these war crimes.
Mr. Bush is currently attempting to "define failure up" by elevating
torture's advocate, Alberto Gonzales, to the nation's top law-enforcement
position -- or, as one professor of international law put it, "War Criminal
For Attorney General?"  Now the moment of truth has arrived. On
Thursday, 1-6-05, the Senate Judiciary Committee will commence its hearing to
determine whether Mr. Gonzales should be confirmed as our next Attorney General.
 What are Mr. Gonzales' chances for confirmation? Back in November of 2004,
it looked like he might be confirmed without serious Democratic opposition. 
However, new questions about the torture memos threaten Gonzales' nomination.
 Moreover, media pundits are correctly opining that "backing Gonzales is
backing torture."  Furthermore, journalists are reporting that the USA
has continued its use of torture, the Bushites' vaguely-worded 12-30-04
disavowal notwithstanding.  And four professional groups -- including more
than 500 religious leaders, prominent attorneys and legal scholars, generals,
and military lawyers -- have released open letters in opposition to the
appointment of Alberto Gonzales. 
However, Mr. Bush and his Republican leaders are exerting enormous political
pressure to confirm Gonzales. Therefore, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) -- who is
presiding over this Judiciary Committee hearing -- almost certainly will ramrod
the Gonzales confirmation through unless the Democrats present steadfast
opposition. Which raises this question: "Is there bipartisan Congressional
support FOR torture?" The Democratic answer should be: "No, we do NOT
support torture!" And there are signs that the Committee's ranking
Democrat, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, is willing to lead his colleagues in
vigorous opposition to Gonzales.  To do so effectively, he will need a
groundswell of public support for his position -- including yours, starting
The Bottom Line: Time Is Of The Essence!
Realistically, the outcome of the Gonzales hearings will hinge upon the amount
of pressure that we, the people, are personally willing to exert on the
Judiciary Committee by telephoning, faxing, and e-mailing its members today: A.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) at phone number 202-224-4242 and e-mail address
Senator_Leahy@leahy.senate.gov B. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) at phone number
202-224-4254 and fax number 202-228-1229. (C) The other Democratic and
Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee.  Of course, you should
cogently and concisely urge these Senators to "steadfastly OPPOSE the
appointment Alberto Gonzales as our next Attorney General!" 
 UIUC Law Prof. Francis Boyle's 11-18-04 CP essay, "The Dems Are Caving
On Gonzales: War Criminal For Attorney General?," at: http://www.counterpunch.org/boyle11182004.html
 Read the Senate Judiciary Committee's announcement of the Gonzales hearing
 For five good reasons why Mr. Gonzales shouldn't be our next AG, see Evan
Augustine Peterson III's 11-30-04 NFNZ essay, "Why The USA Must Reject
Bush's Evil 'Marquis De Sade' Appointee For Attorney General," at: http://nuclearfree.lynx.co.nz/gonzales.htm
 Read this 1-5-05 CHB article, "Questions About Torture Memos Threaten
Gonzales' Nomination," at: http://www.capitolhillblue.com
 Robert Scheer's 1-5-05 CD/LAT essay, "Backing Gonzales Is Backing
," at: http://www.commondreams.
Also see Jamie Mayerfield and Darius Rejali's 12-17-04 CD/ST essay, "Nation
Doesn't Need An AG Who Cleared Way For Torture," at: http://www.commondreams.
 Read Helen Thomas' 12-28-04 CD essay, "The Buck Never Stops At The
Top," at: http://www.commondreams.
Also see the 1-3-05 TP action site, "Nothing Quaint About It," to
download the DOJ's eleventh-hour backpedaling via its 12-30-04 disavowal of the
"Torture Memos," at: http://tompaine.com/action/#003223
 A. Religious Leaders. Read "The Question Of Torture: An Open Letter To
Alberto Gonzales," a 12-23-04 ICH article, at: http://www.informationclearinghouse.
B. Lawyers. Download the 1-4-05 "Lawyers' Statement On The Nomination Of
Alberto Gonzales" (it's underneath the 1-4-05 AFJ article, "Gonzales
Report And Lawyers' Letter Raise Concerns"), at: http://www.allianceforjustice.org/hot_
topic/collection/gonzalesnom1104.html C. Generals. Download their "Open
Letter To The Senate Judiciary Committee On The Appointment Of Alberto
Gonzales" (you'll find the click-on link in the 1-4-05 TP action site,
"Not So Obsolete"), at: http://tompaine.com/action/#003223
D. Military Lawyers. Read Neil Lewis' NYT 12-16-04 article, "Ex-Military
Lawyers Object To Bush Cabinet Nominee," at:
 See the last section in James Rowley's 1-3-04 Bloomberg.net article,
"Former Military Leaders Challenge Gonzales Nomination," at: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/
 You can find the Senate Judiciary Committee's membership at: http://judiciary.senate.gov/members.cfm
 If the American people do nothing, we'll have the postmodern equivalent of
the Spanish Inquisition's Torquemada as our next Attorney General -- someone who
approves of torture and lifetime detentions without due process, as per this
1-2-05 CD/Reuters article, "US Said To Mull Lifetime Terror-Suspect
Detentions," at: http://www.commondreams.org
Read these and imagine what measures an AG Gonzales would implement domestically
to "protect our nation" after another major terrorist attack:
A. 1-2-05 CD/LAT article, "Plan To Keep Detainees In Jail For Life
Criticized By Senators," at: http://www.commondreams.org
B. Mike Whitney's 1-4-05 CP essay, "Injustice As State Policy: The
Guantanamo Gulag," at: http://www.counterpunch.org
C. Elaine Cassell's 1-4-05 CP essay, "They Say They Can Lock You Up For
Life Without A Trial: Charged With No Crime, Implicated In No Wrongdoing,"
©2005EAPIII Author: Evan Augustine Peterson III,
J.D., is the Executive Director of the American Center for International Law