Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Gonzales Nomination Draws Military Criticism

Retired Officers Cite His Role in Shaping Policies on Torture

Several weeks ago in an e-mail exchange with a right-wing friend of mine (!) in NY, I voiced the hope that in a second Bush term, John Ashcroft would disappear. He challenged me, charging that I would find something to dislike about anyone that Bush nominated for the Attorney General's office. I challenged him right back, charging that he would support Bush's nominee, simply because he or she (but probably he) was Bush's nominee.

There's a certain logic to Howie's argument. I do not like anything about almost anyone who has ever had anything to do with this (mal)administration; and as they've left, one by one, I've liked their replacements even less. But Howie's logic implies that I am in a knee-jerk situation, "not liking" someone because they're on the "other side" or the "other team." And (as I've tried to explain to Howie, with patience and sensitivity) this is just a stupid argument.

There are plenty of really good reasons not to support Alberto Gonzales for AG, and not the least of those reasons is his role in defining the prerogatives of the executive branch (vis a vis human rights) within the context of the so-called "war on terror." And Gen. John Shalikashvili and several other retired generals provide us with further reasons.

Andrew Rosenthal recently described the role of the US military in acting as protectors of the constitution against a civilian government that was--and IS--attempting to make a mockery of it. It is time, I think, to start listening to some of these folks.

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