[JURIST] In a Monday editorial, the Washington Post opposes the nomination of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, citing Gonzales' role in a February 2002 presidential memorandum that concluded that the Geneva Conventions should be set aside for "unlawful combatants." Gonzales authored a January 2002 memorandum that concluded that the Geneva Conventions were "obsolete" and inapplicable to detainees from Afghanistan. According to the Post:
Like several other senior administration officials, Mr. Gonzales has never accepted responsibility, or been held accountable, for his role in setting administration policies that led to extensive violations of international law -- and U.S. standards of justice -- in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay and in other still-secret detention facilities. Mr. Gonzales should not become attorney general without being asked by the Senate to answer for that record....Read the full editorial. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on Gonzales' nomination.
Senators should ask Mr. Gonzales to explain his definition of torture and to say whether he believes captors in other nations could legally inflict pain short of organ failure on detained Americans. They should also ask why he chose to exclude or disregard the views of the uniformed military legal corps in his consideration of military commissions and the application of the Geneva Conventions. Above all, Mr. Gonzales should answer this question: Why is a lawyer whose opinions have produced such disastrous results for his government -- in their practical application, in their effect on U.S. international standing and in their repeated reversal by U.S. courts -- qualified to serve as attorney general?