Your State is Red, My State is Blue
The message Mr. Gonzales left with senators was unmistakable: As attorney general, he will seek no change in practices that have led to the torture and killing of scores of detainees and to the blackening of U.S. moral authority around the world. Instead, the Bush administration will continue to issue public declarations such as those Mr. Gonzales repeated yesterday -- "that torture and abuse will not be tolerated by this administration" -- while in practice sanctioning procedures that the International Red Cross and many lawyers inside the government consider to be illegal and improper.
In broad terms, Mr. Gonzales offered the politically necessary repudiation of the Justice Department memo that said Mr. Bush could authorize Americans to torture prisoners with impunity and that redefined torture to exclude almost any brutality.
But it took a half-dozen questions by almost as many senators to get Mr. Gonzales to say declaratively that he now rejects that specific view, which the administration allowed to stand for nearly two years, until it was disclosed by news accounts. And then he equivocated astonishingly when asked whether American soldiers or intelligence agents could "legally engage in torture under any circumstances."
"I don't believe so, but I'd want to get back to you on that and make sure I don't provide a misleading answer," said Mr. Gonzales, who went through many hours of preparation for these very questions.
Dallas Morning News:
To his credit, Mr. Gonzales also resisted Senate Democrats' efforts to get him to comment on whether as a lawyer, he believed that the president had the authority to override the government's nontorture policies and international treaties. His terse response: "The president has said we're not going to engage in torture." It's a clear, precise answer that can't be misconstrued.
So far, Mr. Gonzales has handled these hearings with the class and incisive legal mind that prompted the president to nominate him. Mr. Gonzales has gone a long way toward dispelling the doubts about his ability to act as an independent attorney general.
I'm going to tell the Dallas Morning News editorial board that I am opposed to violence whilst punching them in the face. That ought to go a long way toward dispelling any doubts they may have about my ability to calm the fuck down while scoundrels who should be drummed out of the capital in shame are promoted and lauded and only suffer cursory barbs from a defanged opposition. I can't talk about it. I become literally incapacitated with rage.