Alberto Gonzales Unfit for U.S. Attorney General


To the Editor of THE EAGLE:


        Could President Bush's second term be worse than his first?  Perhaps changes taking place in his cabinet hint of an answer to that question.  Never in my memory has any candidate for appointed federal office, showed himself or herself less fit than Bush's nominee for attorney general, Alberto R. Gonzales.  At Thursday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, he did all of the following:


        He defended his conclusion as White House counsel that the protections of the Geneva Conventions do not apply to alleged terrorists;


        He strongly signaled support for a U.S. proposal (condemned by international organizations that monitor treatment of prisoners) to remove protections in the 1949 Geneva Conventions from alleged terrorists;


        He pretended not to recall important details of his involvement in producing the August 2002 memo that very narrowly defined what constitutes torture (the Bush administration originally accepted the ideas in the memo, but has recently disavowed its conclusions and had the memo rewritten);


        He maintained that he still has no quarrel with the above-mentioned memo's assertions as originally written, despite the Bush administration's public disavowal;


        He repeatedly overlooked Article VI of the Constitution by refusing to repudiate an administration claim that the president has the authority, on national security grounds, to ignore international treaties that include anti-torture statutes (forbidding torture for any reason);


        He claimed that the president can ignore federal anti-torture laws as well as international treaties forbidding torture;


        He refused to state his opinion as to whether a president has the power to authorize torture in unusual circumstances, calling it a "hypothetical question";


        He refused to state an opinion as to whether U.S. personnel could legally engage in torture under some circumstances;


        He denied mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay despite numerous documents testifying to such, including some from our own F.B.I. and the International Committee of the Red Cross; and


        He defended the USA Patriot Act as written.




Pittsfield, Jan. 8, 2005