It's amazing that Alberto Gonzales still has his job.What do you need to do to get fired in the Bush Administration?
Well, if you're the President's crony, quite a lot, evidently.
Gonzales lied six ways to Sunday about his role in the U.S. attorneys' scandal and in the illegal domestic wiretapping program.
He's been a liar since his birth as Attorney General.
Even at his confirmation hearings, he told a whopper.
He submitted written testimony that said: "The policy of the United States is not to transfer individuals to countries where we believe they likely will be tortured." Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have estimated that the Bush Administration has transferred more than 100 detainees to countries notorious for torture. Many have since attested to torture.
So when members of Congress take up perjury charges against Gonzales, they should start at the beginning.
With Gonzales so compromised as the nation's leading law enforcement officer, why is he still in office?
Because Bush doesn't care. Gonzales is a career loyalist, even covering up for Bush when he had a drunk driving episode.
But more than that, in his dissembling before Congress, Gonzales was doing his master's bidding.
It was Bush who wanted to proceed with the illegal wiretapping.
It was Bush who wanted detainees tortured.
It was Bush (or at least Karl Rove) who wanted to use the offices of the U.S. attorneys to go after Democrats so as to swing elections to Republicans.
Lastly, it's convenient for Bush to have Gonzales still there. He offers one more layer of protection before the darts and spears come straight at the President.
The New York Times, for instance, can call for the impeachment of Gonzales. That's easy. It still hasn't called for the impeachment of Bush, however. That would take guts that the Times does not have.
Sure, Gonzales should be canned, prosecuted, or impeached-or any combination thereof. He's an embarrassment to the Department of Justice, and to the country.
But he's just been serving a criminal President.
And we need to devote our attention to that criminal: not his hired and hapless stooge. Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.
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