(Notes to visitors from the No on Gonzales petition: This post, written the day they announced Bush's choice of Gonzales, was followed by many more; just click on the "Ethics" category, or "Military," and the others will turn up.]
So as I ran this morning through Fort Tryon Park in thirty-one degrees, I was thinking about the post that would break this week of mourning and quick punts; how to talk properly about listening to John Edgar Wideman, who said wisely on Friday that the government knows "only two uses of language, and they're related -- to lie and to sell things," and connect it somehow to the astonishingly quick onrush of Republican bad news, including the Iraq martial law/Fallujah bloodbath, the proposed appointment of Dr. David Hager to head up the Food and Drug Administration’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee, and the talk of Social Security and tax "reform."
Then Ashcroft resigned, and we all knew something even worse was likely coming. Once the easy-to-mock lightning rod, with his covering of the breasts of statues and his tenor voice enlivening Fahrenheit 911, was out of the way, what stealth evil could be put in his place?
As it turned out. they didn't bother with stealth. They went for the author of the torture memo.
All the chat on the news is of how the appointment of Alberto Gonzales, an old Texas adviser, rewards Latinos who voted for Bush. (That story - with its exploitation of anti-abortion sentiment and careful neglect of many key issues for people, especially women, of color deserves a lot more words than I feel capable of giving it right now).
The stories make only cursory mention of Gonzales' main, visible contribution to our time: the infamous "torture memo" that set the stage for the abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. (If all this is unfamiliar to you, see Seymour Hersh's reporting for The New Yorker or Tim Golden's series last week in the Times.) The blood of numerous prisoners, from Texas (see below) to Cuba to Iraq, is on the hands that may take the oath - and thus on mine, too.
Here's the face of Bush II to the world. We value this work so much, we'll elevate its principal author to the highest legal office in the land. If you have any doubt that the memos come from Gonzales, look at his record pushing executions back in Texas. Compassionate conservative, my a**.
I am sick to my stomach. This appointment makes this the official face of the U.S. government.
Thank god for the heroes who put up the Sorry Everybody website. They have over 500 images up now: we should all be contributing to it.
More Wideman and a Nov 11 post later.