Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Nomination of Alberto Gonzales

Ruben Navarrette Jr., in a January 15 column in the Washington Post, discussed Senate hearings on the nomination of Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General. He noted that liberal activist groups, such as People for the American Way and the ACLU, have been after Gonzales for a long time. They expected liberal Democrats in the Senate to support their cause and beat up on Gonzales about memoranda attributed to him on law and policy regarding treatment of prisoners of war.

But it didn't happen. Aside from a few obligatory questions and comments, Gonzales emerged without many wounds, his nomination virtually assured. In Navarrette's view, this was not so much because Democrats were supportive of a man whose life is a remarkable Mexican-American success story. Nor was it because they were eager to promote the appointment of a minority to such an important government position, as one might expect. Rather, they were simply afraid to attack him.

After recounting Gonzales' role in policy development regarding treatment of prisoners, accurately making the point that Gonzales didn't make policies that resulted in torture and didn't single-handedly provide the advice upon which such policies were decided, Navarrette continued:

Besides, no matter what the lawyers said or when they said it, I'm not convinced that any of this had much to do with why the goons on the night shift at Abu Ghraib staged their horrific frat party. That was the military's mess from start to finish, and it's more likely that it happened because of a lack of leadership on the ground than because of something lawyers said half a world away.

Liberals aren't stupid. They must know this. Which brings us to the real reason they're conducting this witch hunt against Gonzales. It isn't all that different from the reasons that Democrats kept Honduran-born, Harvard-educated Miguel Estrada off the federal appeals court. Both men were nominated by a Republican president and owe nothing to the Democratic Party. That makes them a target for liberals, who are only interested in minorities' success if they can claim the credit.

I think Navarrette is right on all counts. The military is dealing with those suspected of criminal acts, and I'm confident they will do so properly, regardless of the rank or position of the people involved. "Just following orders" and "I didn't know it was illegal" won't count. Those defenses don't work; they never do. We just saw that happen at Fort Hood, Texas, where the first Abu Ghraib defendant to face a full court-martial was convicted. To those unfamiliar with the military justice system and suspect a cover-up, I would simply say, "Wait and see."

Liberal Democrats in the Senate aren't doing a very good job of standing up for their principles. Those who believe that Gonzales' has some kind of responsibility for the mistreatment of POWs, no matter how far he was from the offenses, should say so and vote against him. Those who understand that he wasn't in any sense responsible for what happened and who celebrate the elevation of an exemplary self-made Mexican-American should say so and vote for him. Those who compromise their beliefs and their votes because of partisan politics or out of political fear should find another line of work.


Blogger sygamel said...

I don't know, Tom. Those are awfully strong charges Navarrette levels.

7:56 AM, January 15, 2005  

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