Cause and Effect

Brian Cook

Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee will meet on the nomination of White House counsel Alberto Gonzales to Attorney General. Gonzales, you may recall, penned the January 25, 2002 memo calling the protections afforded to prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions "quaint" and "obsolete" in the wake of the "new paradigm" of the war on terror. There was also that memo in August 2002 prepared for Gonzales by the U.S. Justice Dept. that questioned what heights of physical and mental pain actually "rise to the level of torture." For us wayward schmos still stumbling about in the "reality-based community," the logic of cause and effect allows us to understand why the following subsequently occurs: The emails released by the ACLU include a report by an FBI agent who witnessed "numerous physical abuse incidents of Iraqi civilian detainees" including choking, beating and placing lighted cigarettes inside ears. One detainee, according to an email report, had been left in a room at near 100 degrees and had pulled out his hair during the night. As always, it gets worse. Today, The Guardian reports: The United States is preparing to hold terrorism suspects indefinitely without trial, replacing the Guantanamo Bay prison camp with permanent prisons in the Cuban enclave and elsewhere, it was reported yesterday. The new prisons are intended for captives the Pentagon and the CIA suspect of terrorist links but do not wish to set free or put on trial for lack of hard evidence. Gonzales, of course, will be approved by a Senate controlled by Republicans eager to bask in the glory of their freshly mandated president. But for Americans who don't believe in state-sanctioned torture, it's imperative to make sure the nomination hearing of Gonzales is anything but a cakewalk. Click here for the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and write them to make sure they take Gonzales to task for the crimes he has enabled in our names.

Brian Cook was an editor at In These Times from 2003 to 2009. He now works on the editorial staff of Playboy magazine.
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