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This page contains all of the posts and discussion on MemeStreams referencing the following web page: Gonzales Memo. You can find discussions on MemeStreams as you surf the web, even if you aren't a MemeStreams member, using the Threads Bookmarklet.

Gonzales Memo
by Elonka at 4:43 pm EST, Nov 12, 2004

Decius, thanks for finding this.

Anyone else that's closely following the debate about Alberto Gonzales' appointment as Attorney General, where this early 2002 memo is being cited as something that raises questions about him, I encourage you to read the memo for yourself.

I'd been especially interested in reports that Gonzales had referred to the Geneva PoW protocols as "quaint" and "obsolete". Having read the memo itself now, I think that the context in which those words were used made sense:

"...As you [President Bush] have said, the war against terrorism is a new kind of war. It is not the traditional clash between nations adhering to the laws of war that formed the backdrop for [the Geneva protocols]. The nature of the new war places a high premium on other factors, such as the ability to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists and their sponsors in order to avoid further atrocities against American civilians, and the need to try terrorists for war crimes such as wantonly killing civilians. In my [Gonzales'] judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions requiring that captured enemy be afforded such things as commissary privileges, scrip (i.e., advances of monthly pay), athletic uniforms, and scientific instruments."

I'm continuing to read about Gonzales and haven't made up my own mind about him yet, but so far he seems to be a relatively moderate choice, with critics and supporters on both sides of the political spectrum. Granted, this memo shows that he disagreed with Colin Powell's office on a particular matter, but the memo also does a pretty good job of laying out both the pro's and con's of a potential decision, along with a reasonably well thought through recommendation on which course of action to take.

RE: Gonzales Memo
by Decius at 6:53 pm EST, Nov 12, 2004

Elonka wrote:
] I'm continuing to read about Gonzales and haven't made up my
] own mind about him yet, but so far he seems to be a relatively
] moderate choice, with critics and supporters on both sides of
] the political spectrum.

Thats true. The specific use of the word "quaint" is being spun by the left to an unreasonable degree. The other memo that I posted, which Gonzales did not write, but apparently signed off on, is a much greater concern with respect to the torture question. Gonzales is not the source of the torture culture, but then he didn't stand up to fight it either.

I think its likely that he will be approved.

Having said that, I'm not at all comfortable with this memo, for a tangental reason.

Ryan recently reminded me that back when Bush was a Governor in Texas he executed several people who were foreign nationals who were not provided access to their consulate. I'm sure his rationale was murder is murder and these people are murderers, so who cares what happens to them. The problem is that Bush's Texas moral values and our deliberative system of justice do not exist in other parts of the world, and should I be arrested in another part of the world I want access to the US consulate. The only thing that provides it to me is our agreement to do the same. Bush put my life at risk by shunning an long standing international agreement about consulate access for foreign nationals charged with a crime.

This wasn't an anomaly. It's a pattern. Its a pattern of tossing out legal constrictions on the power of the government that exist for very good reasons. As these checks continue to be eroded the abuse they were intended to prevent will break out, even if we don't mean for it to happen that way. In some circumstances a case may be made that these constrictions are obsolete, but the problem is that we don't seek to mend them. We simply toss them away and forget about it. Its a pattern that I feel is reckless.

Its a pattern that repeated itself in the use of material witness warrants and enemy combatant designations to detain American citizens on US soil without access to counsel and without charges.

Its a pattern that repeated itself in the use of patriot act capabilities outside of the scope of anti-terror investigations.

Its a pattern that repeated itself in terms of the standards used to justify our invasion of Iraq, which were a significant break from previously understood international law.

Its a pattern that repeated itself when we declared the U.N. obsolete.

Its a pattern that repeated itself when we removed the ABA from the judicial nomination process.

Its a pattern that repeats itself in the open hostility that the Republicans have for the Constitutional review of legislation.

Its a pattern that repeats itself today in the Republican effort to remove the fillibuster rule for judicial nominations.

Its a pattern that repea... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]

Gonzales Memo
by Decius at 1:06 pm EST, Nov 12, 2004

Elonka wrote:
] Decius wrote:
] ] Here is the torture memo, or rather the sections of it that
] ] were declassified. Elonka asked for this. Prepare for a lot
] of
] ] reading.
] Interesting report, but this is the 2003 version. I
] definitely see that it refers to Gonzales' 2002 memo, but I
] couldn't find the actual text of the memo itself. Is it in
] there and I just missed it?

You're right... Look here instead:

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