Alberto Gonzales has resigned. I can't say I'll miss him, and it's already been noted that there really isn't anyone, outside of the president, and maybe Cheney, who's sad to see him go. It's important, though, as our brains flood with serotonin, to keep in mind exactly what sort of person we've gotten rid of:
- Gonzales was one of the main instigators of the administration's torture policy. He's the one who said, in a letter to Bush, "The nature of the new war places a high premium on other factors, such as the ability to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists and their sponsors in order to avoid further atrocities against American civilians...In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions." (italics mine.) From this he earned the name Abu G, for 'Abu Ghraib prison'.
- He's played a key role in the firing of U.S. attorneys for being insufficiently partisan and not adequately protecting Republicans and persecuting Democrats.
- He's lied repeatedly about his role in that particularly disturbing affair.
- He went to the hospital bed of ailing (and not acting) Attorney General John Ashcroft, to convince him to sign off on a 'terrorist' surveillance program that the Justice Department had decided was illegal.
- Of course, he lied repeatedly about the nature of this affair.
- He claimed that habeas corpus (the legal action by which a person imprisoned by the government can petition that their detention is unlawful) is not a right granted in the constitution. (Pretty much every other legal scholar says that it is.)
- Working as legal counsel for Bush while Bush was governor of Texas, Gonzales prepared biased and abbreviated summaries of death penalty cases which Bush was considering clemency on. Bush, as governor, executed 150 men and 2 women, more than any other governor in U.S. history.
- While working on the Texas Supreme Court, Gonzales was accused of favoritism in a case involving (surprise) Halliburton. Gonzales had previously worked for a law firm which had Halliburton as a major client, and he received financial contributions from Halliburton. The Court refused to hear the case, passing (by default) the win to Halliburton.
It is often said that Bush chooses his employees for loyalty above all else. Looking through this list again, I suspect that just as important as loyalty to Bush is a complete lack of principles and morals. I suspect that historians looking back on the Bush administration will be astonished at how many sociopaths were given high positions of power.
Update: Now, this is just schadenfreude on my part, but if you look at the wikipedia link for "sociopath" given above, a sociopath has three (or more) of the following:
- failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
- deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
- impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
- irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
- reckless disregard for safety of self or others
- consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain steady work or honor financial obligations
- lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another
I would say that Abu G clearly satisfies #1, #2, #3, and #7. #5 and #6 are arguable...