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Reject Gonzales as A.G.

Byline: The Register-Guard

No one would hire an architect with a history of violating building codes, ignoring the rules of physics and designing projects that brought shame and disgrace on his clients.

Yet that's the equivalent of what the Senate is poised to do when it votes next week on President Bush's nomination of Alberto Gonzales For the New York Yankees infielder, see .

Alberto Gonzales (born August 4 1955) is an American jurist who served as the 80th Attorney General of the United States. Gonzales was appointed to the post in February 2005 by President George W. Bush.
 as attorney general.

Gonzales is the wrong choice for the job. Even worse, his confirmation would send a message to the world that the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  is indifferent to the rule of law - the same rule of law that an attorney general is supposed to hold sacred and, yes, enforce.

As White House counsel, Gonzales had a lead role in laying the legal groundwork for the mistreatment mis·treat  
tr.v. mis·treat·ed, mis·treat·ing, mis·treats
To treat roughly or wrongly. See Synonyms at abuse.

 of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay Noun 1. Guantanamo Bay - an inlet of the Caribbean Sea; a United States naval station was established on the bay in 1903
bay, embayment - an indentation of a shoreline larger than a cove but smaller than a gulf

In early 2002, Gonzales sent Bush a memorandum informing him that the war on terror This article is about U.S. actions, and those of other states, after September 11, 2001. For other conflicts, see Terrorism.

The War on Terror (also known as the War on Terrorism
 rendered "quaint" and "obsolete" the Geneva Geneva, canton and city, Switzerland
Geneva (jənē`və), Fr. Genève, canton (1990 pop. 373,019), 109 sq mi (282 sq km), SW Switzerland, surrounding the southwest tip of the Lake of Geneva.
 Conventions' strict rules on the questioning of enemy prisoners. Later that year, Gonzales received an opinion from the attorney general's office stating that the president had legal authority to suspend the Geneva Conventions Geneva Conventions, series of treaties signed (1864–1949) in Geneva, Switzerland, providing for humane treatment of combatants and civilians in wartime.  and that some methods of torture could be justified.

Gonzales either agreed with that opinion or simply didn't object to it; it's uncertain because the White House refused to release the relevant documents during Gonzales' confirmation hearing. But it's clear he did not fulfill his responsibilities as the president's legal counsel by advising him to obey existing laws and treaties that specifically prohibit torture - and to uphold fundamental American values that reject such abuse as morally reprehens- ible.

In addition to supporting the interrogation interrogation

In criminal law, process of formally and systematically questioning a suspect in order to elicit incriminating responses. The process is largely outside the governance of law, though in the U.S.
 techniques that the U.S. military leaders - and the rest of the world - have since denounced as both illegal and immoral, Gonzales also supported the open-ended detention of enemy combatants and Americans without any semblance of due process. It's another policy that violates the U.S. Constitution and international law - and that encourages other countries to engage in similar practices.

At his hearing, Gonzales had a chance to reassure Congress, the American people An American people may be:
  • any nation or ethnic group of the Americas
  • see Demographics of North America
  • see Demographics of South America
 and the world that he would uphold and enforce laws prohibiting the abuse and torture of prisoners. Instead, he repeatedly sidestepped questions that went to the heart of the abuses. Asked to provide a clear definition of torture and how the administration intends to prevent it, he refused to give straightforward replies.

At one point, Gonzales stated that both he and the president oppose "torture and abuse." But he later sent a letter clarifying that existing laws and treaties don't prohibit the Central Intelligence Agency from using "cruel, inhuman or degrading tactics" on non-U.S. citizens captured abroad.

A vote to confirm Gonzales would further undermine U.S. credibility and send an appalling message to other nations. It would make U.S. soldiers and civilians more vulnerable to torture by U.S. enemies, and would encourage foreign governments to develop their own legal justifications for abusing captives. It would also make a mockery of Bush's inaugural pledge to promote freedom, democracy and the rule of law around the world.

As a general rule, presidents should be given broad leeway in making Cabinet appointments. But the Senate should reject the Gonzales nomination. An attorney general should, above all else, be committed to enforcing the law and making certain no one is above it. Not even the president of the United States The head of the Executive Branch, one of the three branches of the federal government.

The U.S. Constitution sets relatively strict requirements about who may serve as president and for how long.
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Title Annotation:Editorials; Confirmation would undermine U.S. credibility
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jan 27, 2005
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