Friday, January 16, 2009

There's a New Sheriff in Town

The Attorney General Designate uttered the words that should long ago have come out of the mouth of the chief justice official of the United States. "Waterboarding is torture". There was no equivocation, no moderation, no ridiculous attempt to claim that he didn't know what waterboarding is (as amazingly our current AG did in his confirmation hearing), he just stated the truth. Mr. Holder stated that waterboarding has been considered torture and prosecuted as such by this country for decades. Even American troops in Vietnam were prosecuted for using this technique against enemy troops.

How hard is it for a government official to actually speak the plain truth? If one were to hold up the Bush administration as the example, then it is practically impossible. The babble that has come out of the Department of Justice during this administration has turned the organization into a sad reflection of what it used to be. The Monica Goodling Scandal and now the finding that the Civil Rights division was run as if to define the word "irony", demonstrate just how dedicated to mediocrity this administration was. Bradley Schlozman , who ran the Civil Rights division of the DOJ was found to have:

"...inappropriately considered political and ideological affiliations in hiring career attorneys and in other personnel actions affecting career attorneys in the civil rights division. In doing so, he violated federal law and department policy that prohibit discrimination in federal employment based on political and ideological affiliations and that he committed misconduct. Moreover, Mr. Schlozman made false statements about whether he considered political and ideological affiliations when he gave sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee and in his written responses to supplemental questions from the committee.”

Of course, our esteemed Attorney General has decided not pursue any of these charges against Mr. Schlozman, just as he refused to pursue charges against Monica Goodling or Alberto Gonzalez. This is standard operating procedure for the Bush administration. Hire inept people, they commit immoral and possibly illegal acts, and then thank them with the assurance that they will not be prosecuted. How has this been allowed to go on for this long? I always ask SJ my co-contributor if we still actually live in the United States. Have we slipped into some Bizzaro universe (sorry about the obscure Superman reference)? The Civil Rights division is ground zero for discrimination in the Department of Justice! Does that strike anyone else as unacceptable? The fact that this administration has allowed the rule of law to fall to its current state of disrepair should be enough of a crime to send everyone responsible to jail.

In my previous posting, I talked about how important it is for the new administration to demonstrate that America is indeed committed to upholding the rule of law. They can start by cleaning up the DOJ and turning it back into the non-political organization that it was intended to be. I have managed to survive the last 8 years with my ability to hope for better, somehow still intact. I can hope that that the incoming administration will be able to repair the damage done by the current one. I know that it won't be easy or particularly quick, but I can hope that it will be done. There are many voices who will say that going after Bush administration officials only detracts from the more important issues that the new President is faced with. I understand those concerns, but the last time I checked, the Department of Justice is not particularly involved with solving the economic crisis. Mr. Holder's charge is to turn around a department that is now filled with career employees who have been hired under false pretenses. How does one go about affecting a change under those circumstances? Mr. Holder's words yesterday make me hope that perhaps things are about to change.

"No one is above the law, and we will follow the evidence, the facts, the law, and let that take us where we should."

1 comment:

Jack Jodell said...

We must be ever vigilant, from this day forward, to combat any attempt by the Bushies, their parrots, or revisionist historians to spin the true horror of this criminal administration into something favorable. We must constantly refute every false claim, every distortion, and every misrepresentation they may try to present. Bush's legacy must forever be portrayed and understood exactly as it was: 8 years of incompetency, corruption, deception, giveaways to the rich, and war crimes. A great way to help accomplish this might be to start up a National War Crimes Museum and feature only Bush-era memorabilia in it. Hmmmmm.......