Breaking News
Home » Rockies » Idaho » Boise » Neither Gonzales Nor Chertoff Have a Place at Justice
In his resignation speech today, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said, “I have made a point as Attorney General to personally meet as many of them [DOJ employees] as possible, and today I want to, again, thank them for their service to our nation. It is through their continued work that our country and our communities remain safe, that the rights and civil liberties of our citizens are protected, and the hopes and dreams of all of our citizens are secured.” It’s an outrageous thing to say for any federal official of the Bush Administration. Gonzales has been a key member of Bush and Cheney’s posse of hooligans who have undermined civil liberties, condoned torture, got us into a frightening mess in Iraq, approved domestic spying and countless other serious transgressions.

Neither Gonzales Nor Chertoff Have a Place at Justice

In his resignation speech today, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said, “I have made a point as Attorney General to personally meet as many of them [DOJ employees] as possible, and today I want to, again, thank them for their service to our nation. It is through their continued work that our country and our communities remain safe, that the rights and civil liberties of our citizens are protected, and the hopes and dreams of all of our citizens are secured.”

It’s an outrageous thing to say for any federal official of the Bush Administration. Gonzales has been a key member of Bush and Cheney’s posse of hooligans who have undermined civil liberties, condoned torture, got us into a frightening mess in Iraq, approved domestic spying and countless other serious transgressions.

When Gonzales came to Boise a few months ago, he was met with a hostile group of 100 citizens and took the chicken’s way out by relocating his press conference behind closed, invitation-only doors.

Now from the Associated Press comes the rumor that Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security, will take his place.

Chertoff, one of the authors of the Patriot Act, is a member of the right-wing Federalist Society and a former U.S. Attorney and assistant attorney general. He is also the man who was in charge of the inexcusable Hurricane Katrina disaster response. Remember that, among other disconnected-from-reality statements, Chertoff told National Public Radio that he had “not heard a report of thousands of people in the convention center who do not have food and water,” even though the rest of us had been buried in such reports all day long.

But Chertoff’s legacy is more than Katrina. He has approved and implemented many of the so-called anti-terror tactics now used in America – America! – which betray the very idea of America by circumventing authorities now in place and exploiting power in a way our founders sought to prevent. He supervised the roundup of hundreds of Arabs and Muslims who were then held without bond for up to three months, of which the inspector general said Chertoff’s methods were “indiscriminate and haphazard.” All this, under former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Imagine what he might do when the real power is actually Chertoff’s.

People in New Orleans died in the three day it took Chertoff to implement the official disaster response. He should have been fired and possibly even charged with crimes against humanity, as columnist David Fiderer wrote. Instead, the undeniably incompetent man was allowed to continue to mess with the law, regain some small portion of his dignity, and stay in an administration which insults our intelligence day after day.

He has no place at the control panel of the Department of Justice. To replace the hapless, lawbreaking, superbly average yes-man Gonzales with Chertoff is to segue defiantly from one devil-we-know to another. True believer Bush will almost certainly choose not to nominate a respected leader, but give a boost up to yet another unqualified, failed member of his wretched playground-bullies list.

About Jill Kuraitis

Jill Kuraitis is an award-winning journalist who specializes in news of Idaho and the Rocky Mountain West. Her B.A. in theatre management is from UC Santa Barbara, and she went on to work in theatre, film, and politics before writing became a career. Kuraitis has two excellent grown children and lives in Boise with her husband of 30 years, abundant backyard wildlife, and two huge hairy dogs.

Check Also

Interior Secretary Zinke Hails Effort to Fight Invasive Mussels

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has announced a new initiative to combat the spread of invasive ...

14 comments

  1. If someone were to play the same destructive politics as are reflected by this column they might point out the innocent people killed by Janet Reno’s posse at Ruby Ridge and again all those innocent childred killed at Waco. But that really wouldn’t advance the cause of how to better the position of Attorney General. Should it be elected rather than appointed? Today’s Attorney Generals are put into a double line bind trying to serve their client, the people, and their boss, the President. Trashing either Gonzales or Reno strikes me nothing more than party politics played by both sides rather than addressing HOW to make the position better.

  2. Way to try to rewrite history, Craig.

    You’re not very good at this, you know.

  3. What I find interesting and mildly funny is that the ultra liberal Bush hating leftists love to hide behind name calling and their keyboards. Didn’t you ever learn in school to play nice, Jill? Katrina blunders, patriot act, (the sky is falling) all Bush’s fault don’t ya know…so we might as well blame him for everything and anything else that happens to upset your world. I guess we conservatives have no one to blame but ourselves for this liberal onslaught of our beloved big spending president. We all loved it when Clinton lied but no one died…(Bosnia, and the 160 cruise missle fired at Iraq the day before he testifies at the grand jury were duds) and got himself impeached. So please spare us the whiney assed cry baby crapola, I am sure that your phones were probably tapped by Alberto too!! Oh, Craig, Ruby Ridge was GHW Bush’s posse.

  4. Joe do you understand the difference between the Bush Administration and Bush himself? Jill does, I do, but you seem to think any criticism of the Bush Administration is an immediate attack on W. In fact, most people can understand that White House = Bush Administration and is sometimes shortened to just Bush to make it faster.

    Bush hasn’t done all the screwups on his own, no, he’s had all his aides and sycophants like yourself and Craig Moore to help him.

  5. Let me correct my error. Janet Reno was not AG when Ruby Ridge happened. She took office a year later was the AG during the investigation and trial which was totally bungled. It took attorney Gerry Spence representing Randy Weaver to bring forth the truth and Weaver’s acquittal. Waco and all the innocent deaths were hers alone.

    See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/govt/admin/reno.htm

    I notice Jay you missed my point. Isn’t there a better way to choose an AG that removes much of the political nonsense stemming for the executve branch?

    Jay if you are going to once again rely on labels like “sycophants,” to attack other commentators here put up or shut up. And if you can’t, are you man enough to admit your mistakes?

  6. What mistakes? You want to label Jill as an ultra-liberal Bush hater with no real evidence, so why not label you as a Bush sycophant with the same amount of evidence?

    Criticism of the Bush Administration for their huge blunders that have cost people their lives, their war crimes, their destruction of the Constitution and their disdain for the right to privacy isn’t really “hating” as you so easily label it. It is a true concern that the Bush Administration is overstepping their authority vested in them by the same Constitution that they are slowly eroding. It is a concern that those in the Bush Administration continue to politicize a department that American’s should be able to count on to be non-partisan in fighting and investigating crimes. It is a concern that the Bush Administration is signing off on human rights violations around the world and then casually acting as if the power of the USA makes it OK.

    And you want to write it all off as “hating” because you are so worried about party that you are unable to address issues of country.

  7. Jay, apparently you lack the cajones. No, I do not want nor did I lable Jill as you falsely suggest. That was not my point to trap this discussion into a political context as you continue to do. Isn’t there a better way to choose an AG to remove the politics coming from the executive branch? Didn’t Reno in conjuctive with the Clinton Whitehouse fire 94 assistant AG’s to replace with friendlies at the time Clinton was under suspicion over Whitewater? That’s the type of nonsense I would like to see ended. Apparently you don’t care.

  8. Well, let me quote you then, Joe.

    “What I find interesting and mildly funny is that the ultra liberal Bush hating leftists love to hide behind name calling and their keyboards. Didn’t you ever learn in school to play nice, Jill?”

    THAT is what I’m responding to.

    And now you continue to try to rewrite history using Rush Limbaugh style talking points. The Whitewater controvery started in November of 1993 when David Hale made the accusations that the Clintons illegally invested $300,000 in the Whitewater land deal with Jim and Susan McDougal. The investment, however, turned out to be legal and it was taken as a loss by the Clintons. No Clinton wrongdoing happened.

    The removal of the AG’s happened in February of 2003 shortly after Clinton took office and is routine for each incoming new President. There was never any indication of politicization of those appointments and no such accusation has ever been made except by those trying to excuse the late firing of the 8 AG’s by the Alberto Gonzales DoJ, in which White House aides were found to have influenced those firings due to the perception that those particular AG’s weren’t following party orders. That politization is illegal, including the interference in investigations by multiple WH aides and Republican legislators.

    So you’ve made some historical errors, you’ve drawn false parallels and you’ve forgotten what you previously wrote when called on it.

    You’re doing about as well as Craig here, Joe.

  9. February of 2003 should read February of 1993, sorry for the confusion.

  10. Craig, the next thing you’re going to do is tell us the Earth is hollow.

  11. Yes, there is a good way to pick an AG, by majority Senate approval instead of Senate rubber stamp. Happy now?

    And if you don’t mind, can you at least post something that isn’t as slanted as that anonymous Opinion Journal crap? Want me to count the things it got wrong and then point out again that it was intentionally anonymous?

    1) John McKay was NOT a Democrat. He was a Republican aide and had received high marks for his performance in the AG office after replacing the former AG in October of 2001. This error in the opinion journal is the biggest one and sets the tone for the entry.

    2) “A Department of Justice list noted that “in 1981, Reagan’s first year in office, 71 of 93 districts had new U.S. attorneys. In 1993, Clinton’s first year, 80 of 93 districts had new U.S. attorneys.” Similarly, a Senate study noted that “Reagan replaced 89 of the 93 U.S. attorneys in his first two years in office. President Clinton had 89 new U.S. attorneys in his first two years, and President Bush had 88 new U.S. attorneys in his first two years.”[69]”
    …. So no, you can scream BUT BUT BUT Clinton all you want and it doesn’t prove a damn thing.

    3) Sour grapes over the Christine Gregoire loss doesn’t seem very balanced and is taken right from talking points that were never proven.

    4) Only 2 people were guilty in the Whitewater dealings. Jim McDougal and one other (I believe Chris Wade) were found guilty on charges stemming directly from the Whitewater land deal. The Clinton’s initial investment was on the up and up and there was never any indication otherwise, regardless of Kenneth Starr’s attempts.

    There is more, but I’m going to keep this relatively short.

    Point 1 and Point 2 are the main issues I have with the article that lied about the March 1993 firing of all 93 USAG’s. It is directly contradicted by official records. Right there I can tell the author isn’t using facts at all and has no basis to be making any judgments on anyone. That, again, is why it is an anonymous entry.

  12. Jay, for only a microsecond are you able to pull yourself out of the political sewer. In my opinion, the AG and the Justice Department would be vastly improved where the AG is elected. Of course that would take some major plumbing changes. This is my suggestion: One 6 year term to be elected in odd years. This way there would be no buddy system with the executive branch. Second, I would have the AG have the power to replace only 10 assistant AG’s per year. That would ensure there is some continuity of competence and retard gaming of replacements. Our country would be better served by an independent justice department whose “boss” and “client” are one and the same. I have little hope of you seeing beyond your vitriolic partisanship to understand this. A separate, elected AG works at the state level.

  13. Ok, I’ll play your little game, Craig:

    How would that stop politicization of the role of AG? Where are the checks and balances on the actions of the AG, something we don’t really have now? All elections are political, given that you are running against someone. The American people demand that elections be black and white, for vs. against. A large selection of potential AG-elects would basically end up being a battle of name recognition and/or party recognition. It wouldn’t solve much.

    The idea of 6 years might be useful, though. Allow it to still be a confirmed appointment with Judicial and Legislative checks and balances (Committee of Justice) that was set up like other committees and there might be more of an incentive for the DoJ to operate within the law and outside of the beltway.

  14. You’re right, any elected office is by nature political. However, that being said, removing Justice from the political shenanigans of the Executive Office, and placing direct accountability on an elected AG may stem the more egregious abuses. People might be inclined to see that the AG is from the party other than the Prez. What we have now works poorly because of the double line bind of serving two masters.