Thursday, January 06, 2005


On of the Sacramento Bee's editorials in the June 6 edition exemplifies why perhaps anyone can be an editorial writer at the Bee. Just under the lead editorial that criticizes Governor Schwarzenegger for leaving out the details for his budget and political agenda, the Bee has an editorial titled "Bush's dubious choice." It is of course an editorial criticizing Alberto Gonzales.

The thing is, this editorial is absolutely packed with vague references about the nefarious conduct of Gonzales that it makes the editorial absolutely useless as a meaningful source of news.

For example, it accuses Gonzales of either authoring or passing on to the president "several memoranda that defined torture so narrowly as to suggest the president has the right" to "bypass international treaties and U.S. law banning torture of combatants." You will have to look elsewhere to figure out to which memoranda the Bee is referring. And damn, you mean Gonzales can just, like, define torture anyway he wants and it gives the president the right to proceed? Or was it that Gonzales took the present factual scenario, applied the facts to domestic and international laws that pertain to torture, and then made a conclusion as to what behavior/conduct is or is not "torture" in regard to the detainees.

Seriously, the Bee's use of the word "bypass" implies that the term is synonymous with "violate." I'm sure that's how the Bee feels, but can you please make a coherent argument for the reader.

The Bee goes on to state "a key memo has been modified." Which memo? Modified by Gonzales?

The Bee states that senators "must press him" to explain "why he took such an extraordinary position on the treatment of prisoners." Am I missing something? Has the Bee described any treatment Gonzales advocated? No. It stated that Gonzales "authored or passed on" some memos on the definition of torture and that the White House has not assured everyone that it "feels" bound by "Geneva Conventions' guarantees of humane treatment of prisoners." You'll have to go elsewhere to discern what "extraordinary position" the Bee is specifically referring. As for the assurances the Bee desperately needs but says it does not have, it appears this is incorrect. According to this lefty outfit's website, certain assurances were given in 2002.

This next quote is so vacuous and so precious: "The job of attorney general is far too important to remain a tool of the White House political agenda." This line is so sophomoric I'll keep my comments short. The justice department is part of the executive branch and part of its job is to . . . implement the policies of its boss . . . .the White House. Is it suppose to create its own agenda. Or maybe it can just ask direction from, I don't know. . . . how about the North-Polk Sewer & Water District in Latah County, Idaho. In addition, perhaps the Bee can elaborate on what appointed positions are not too important to be tools of the White House political agenda.

With editorials so full of assumptions and so few details, perhaps the editors should, as they recommended to the governor, "sleep on it a bit longer."

UPDATE: Powerline reports that the extent of his involvement was as follows:

1) he received a memo written by the Justice Department on the question of what conduct would violate a statute that prohibits torture and other cruel and inhumane activity. The Justice Department's analysis of that statute appears to me to be sound, but, in any event, it was their analysis, not the nominee's. 2) He received from the Justice Department, and passed on to the President, a memo from the Justice Department on whether the Geneva convention applies to al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners.


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