Daily Editorial: Betrayer of American ideals | VailDaily.com

Daily Editorial: Betrayer of American ideals

Vail Daily Editorial

Perhaps the greatest reason the United States has been admired around the world is for its defense of civil liberties.

We’ve overcome the great shames of slavery, discrimination against women, race riots and xenophobia, and have continued to be a refuge for oppressed people around the world because our shores are a symbol of freedom of speech, thought and occupation.

Though we still have problems dealing with newcomers and foreign cultures, the United States has not yet been battered by the ethnic unrest that have brought terrorism and violence to democracies such as the United Kingdom and France.

Alberto Gonzales ” whoever’s bidding in the Bush Administration he was doing ” decided to chip away at this legacy that is at the core of both America’s self-esteem and its now much shakier standing around the world.

Gonzales, who said in his resignation that he’s lived “the American Dream,” led a terrible betrayal of American ideals. He announced that we Americans now thought torture was acceptable, that we no longer were obeying international law or the tenets of the Geneva Convention, and that we were so afraid of our enemies that it was OK for our government to listen to our telephone calls.

Gonzales, once the president’s own attorney, is perhaps even more than FEMA’s Brownie the most glaring symbol of President Bush’s view that loyalty, obedience and political expediency are more critical job qualifications than competence and a solid set of principles. Gonzales demonstrated he was a dutiful lackey when he oversaw the axing of a batch of U.S. attorneys, showing independent-minded lawyers everywhere the administration was not interested in employing anyone who thought doing the right thing was more important than politics and re-election.

The silver lining here is that this attitude is blowing up in the president’s face. The architect, Karl Rove, is gone; Donald Rumsfeld, the henchman who did the most damage, is gone; and the president himself has lost all credibility as the lamest of lame ducks.

We don’t have much hope the president will pick a truly competent replacement attorney general. Rather, he’s likely to pick someone who won’t rock the boat or make too many headlines, like he did when he replaced Rumsfeld with the pretty anonymous, non-controversial, but uneffective Robert Gates. What we can hope for is that the president’s replacement, Republican or Democrat, will stay true to American ideals and surround himself with people who not only share this respect for our county, but are also able and honest wielders of the vast power and responsibility they will be given shortly after Election Day 2008.

” Matt Zalaznick for the Editorial Board

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