|January 17, 2005||EDITORIAL ARCHIVES|
The Banality of Evil: We are All Torturers Now
Note: This marks the seventeenth of 20 consecutive editorials BuzzFlash will be publishing through January 20th.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
Any senator who votes for the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales is voting to endorse torture.
Let's not be laughably gullible here, like the majority of senators were with Ashcroft, and claim that a last-minute "change of heart" on torture by Gonzales is sincere. It defies common sense that the Senate continues to let the White House ask them to judge nominees by whatever soothing and vague statements that they make at a nomination hearing, rather than by their deeds.
We even have Democratic senators running around saying what a nice man Gonzales is. Yes, evil is banal sometimes -- and wrapped inside an amiable personality.
Gonzales is the consiglieri for the White House who has given the Bush extremists their repeated "legal opinions" and advice that have justified torture, detention without representation, American gulags, secret incarcerations and all the like. Sure, it's hard to tell where Gonzales begins and Ashcroft ends, but that tells you everything, doesn't it?
The biggest opposition to the Gonzales nomination has come from military lawyers who argue that Bush's lawyer has endangered American prisoners of war with his rash tossing aside of the Geneva Conventions as "quaint" and outdated.
Indeed, Gonzales has done more potential harm to the treatment of American military prisoners than any single individual in the last 100 years.
It takes a "nice guy," perhaps, to condone torture and violations of our civil liberties as just another executive branch prerogative. But it isn't even apparently working, other than to create nightmarish abusive circuses at U.S. "detention" centers.
Gonzales's support of barbaric techniques isn't anything new. When Bush was Governor of Texas, Gonzales was the one who made sure that executions were fast tracked so Bush could achieve his record-breaking pace, whatever flaws existed in the cases.
Gonzales as Attorney General will mean that torture is officially endorsed by the United States. Forget about that public relations effort by the Justice Department to "redefine the use of torture" in a recent memo. After it was written, the White House stopped in its tracks a bi-partisan effort in the Senate to prohibit torture.
So much for Alberto's "conversion."
It's several years past extending the "golden rule" to Republicans, as Russ Feingold did when he voted for Ashcroft. It's no longer credible. Hey, it wasn't believable even then. Democrats and Republicans always want a fig leaf to cover their inexcusable votes, so they are now saying that Gonzales has repudiated his former pro-torture stance.
Any man or woman who truly believes the calculated Bush administration nominee testimony should not be an elected official, because they are clearly incapable of the most basic common sense.
You are either for the U.S. government upholding a civilized standard of behavior or you are against it. No excuses or namby-pamby "he's such a sweet guy" nonsense allowed. A war crime is a war crime is a war crime. (And Gonzales has also asserted that no executive branch official can be indicted for a war crime if she or he authorizes torture.)
Gonzales has repeatedly made clear where he stands, his contrived Senate testimony not withstanding. He is the torturer's enabler. He should be on trial with the low-level military personnel accused of abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. We know that the green light for torture started with Alberto, yet many senators, including some Democrats, walk around with blinders of their personal choosing.
When the Senate confirms Gonzales, each vote will be a vote for torture.
That is the banality of evil, as it is played out.
And when Gonzales is sworn in, torture and fast track executions will be official government policy in our nation's Department of Justice.
This is how barbaric our moral values have become under Bush.
It's this simple and horrifying: the architect of a national policy condoning the use of torture will be our next Attorney General.
It is being done in OUR name as Americans.
The Statue of Liberty must be weeping in shame and horror.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL