« Fred - Not Till October? | Main | Is Your World View Valid? »

Monday, August 27, 2007


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

 fouse, gary c

Alberto Gonzalez-How Will he be Judged?

Now that Alberto Gonzalez has tendered his resignation as Attorney General, it is left to the pundits (in the short term) and history (in the long term) to decide how he performed in that position. At the moment, the pundits rule, especially the pundits on the left. Of course, they have been opposed to Gonzalez from the start- a conservative Hispanic, ally of Bush? No way the left was going to embrace this man. Indeed, Gonzalez has been pummeled by the left ever since he came up from Texas with Bush in 2001. He continued to raise the hackles of the left and the mainstream news media with his legal advice to Bush on the matters of detaining terrorists, permissible interrogation techniques and the monitoring of suspected terrorist communications independent of judicial control. Subsequent Congressional hearings under the Democratic majority increased the voices for his resignation as a result of his unimpressive appearances before investigating committees looking into the above issues as well as his role in the firings of 8 US Attorneys. I would like to offer a couple of opinions on Gonzalez and his performance.

Some of the kinder criticisms of Mr Gonzalez take the line that he was simply out of his element in the rough and tumble world of Washington. He did not have the political savvy to deal within the Beltway. It has also been said that he did not have the requisite managerial skills to effectively run the massive bureaucracy of the Justice Department. That may all be completely true. I have no inside sources of information although I am retired from that department. I would like to offer my thoughts on the main issues that led to his downfall.

First of all, Mr Gonzalez has taken heat for counseling President Bush on the issue of detaining terrorists and enemy combatants without bringing them before the US Courts. On this issue, I am in agreement with the Bush Administration. In the wake of 9-11, we have found ourselves fighting an enemy unique in the history of US warfare. This is an enemy that wears no uniform, represents no nation, has no regard for the Geneva Convention, tortures and beheads its prisoners and targets civilians for mass murder. Are we supposed to give them the protections of the Geneva Convention? I say no. Are we supposed to afford them all the rights of the US legal system-lawyers, Miranda warnings, suppression hearings, rules of evidence and trial by jury? I say no. For me, locking them up at Guantanamo is entirely appropriate. If you know anything about WW2, you may be aware that a group of German sabateurs landed on US soil with the intention of blowing up various defense-related installations. They were captured, tried by military tribunals and most of them were hanged.

The next issue is that of the NSA wiretaps authorized by the president independent of the FISA provisions. With Gonzalez's counsel, Bush authorized the intercepts of phone calls coming from Al-Qaida suspects overseas into the US without court supervision. Great idea in my opinion. Keep in mind, the government is trying to prevent another 9-11 and telephone intercepts in real time can do just that. Do you not think that we were doing the exact same thing during WW2?

Then there is the matter of the firings of 8 US Attorneys. We need to keep in mind that this is a political position, and presidents routinely put their own people into these positions. Rightfully or not, it is a political plum, and the president has every prerogative to appoint new faces into those jobs at his pleasure. When Bill Clinton came into office, he fired 93 US Attorneys and replaced them with his own people. No one said a word, even though one of the prosecutors (in Chicago) was on the verge of indicting Democrat Rep. Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois on corruption charges and another was investigating Whitewater. This was an issue that was totally overblown by the Democrats. It has been said that Gonzalez was less than forthcoming in his answers on this matter during committee hearings. If so, shame on him-but I am not in a position to judge his veracity.

Liberals and the Democrats in Congress would have us believe that the actions of Bush (upon the advice of Gonzalez) in the terrorist detainees and NSA wiretaps were an abuse of power that put us all in danger. Perhaps, but I would say that whatever was done was not to increase the power of Bush (like Nixon did in Watergate), rather it was done to protect innocent American lives from another 9-11.

I hope that Gonzalez testified truthfully before Congress in all these matters. If so, I don't think that history will judge him harshly on the above controversies. Incompetent perhaps-in over his head perhaps, but if he didn't lie about his role in these matters, then I would say he is a decent man who tried to do what he could to defend his country from more attacks.

gary fouse

The comments to this entry are closed.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

September 2017

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30


Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 10/2003