Previewing the Gonzales Debate

The Senate will debate the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to be attorney general later this week. It seems clear that the Democrats will use the occasion to try to hang Abu Graibh around the administration’s neck, just as the used the debate over Condoleezza Rice’s nomination to score political points relating to the alleged failure to find WMDs in Iraq.
This morning, Robert J. Delahunty and John C. Yoo, the authors of Justice Department memos concluding that the Geneva Convention does not apply to captured terrorists, addressed that issue in the Los Angeles Times. Their theme is that the Geneva Convention was designed for wars between nation states, and applies poorly to the current conflict, which mostly involves trans-national terrorist groups and what Delahunty and Yoo classify as “pseudo-states.” They do a pretty good job of making that basic point, but I don’t think they convey as clearly as they could how obviously correct it is that the Convention has no application to captured terrorists. As a legal matter, this conclusion is inarguable.
To suggest that Gonzales is somehow unsuited to be Attorney General because he agreed with an unassailable legal position is a tough argument to make. But we have no doubt that the Democrats will try to make it.


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