Torturing Alberto - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Torturing Alberto

The platform of the Democratic Party is built on a human rights abuse — abortion. Yet Democrats still pose as champions of human rights. Today Senate Democrats will saddle up on their high horses to trample Alberto Gonzales for allegedly sanctioning human rights abuses against terrorists and detainees. The party of abortion will inveigh against “torture.” Democrats who rationalize the near-infanticide of partial-birth abortion will accuse Gonzales of rationalizing detainee mistreatment.

When Ted Kennedy and company are beating their chests in moral indignation, perhaps a Republican on the Judiciary Committee could ask: Does your definition of torture cover abortion procedures? Will the protections you extend to terrorists ever be extended to unborn children? Do your friends at Planned Parenthood observe the Geneva Conventions?

The moral authority of Democrats who give more rights to terrorists than unborn children is nil. But desperate to regain “values” ground on Republicans, the Democrats will make a show of treating Gonzales as their moral inferior. The same Democrats who couldn’t abide John Ashcroft’s piety at the confirmation hearings last time will appear quite pious themselves, chastising Gonzales for a lack of moral delicacy.

If Gonzales had written a memo endorsing free abortions at Abu Ghraib and military hospitals, the Democrats would hail him as a sophisticated legal mind. But since he won’t extend habeas corpus to al Qaeda, he lacks the “value system” to defend the Constitution. Gonzales shouldn’t feel too bad: none of the framers of the Constitution were they alive today would get confirmed by the Democrats either. Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t get confirmed either. After all, he suspended habeas corpus too. Thanks to judges appointed by the Democrats, terrorists enjoy more rights than did American spies during the Civil War.

The charge that Gonzales will damage the Constitution is buffoonish coming from Pat Leahy. Damaging the Constitution is the official policy of Democrats like Leahy. It falls under their understanding of the Constitution as a “living” document, which just means a dead document — a blank piece of paper on which they seek to scribble every fad and trend and invented right that appeals to them at the moment. The Americans who wrote the Constitution would not recognize the Constitution of which Leahy speaks. Did they write the Bill of Rights for terrorists? Did they expect American presidents to conduct war by judicial review?

The Democrats’ idea of protecting the Constitution is to extend its liberties to terrorists who seek to destroy the Constitution. Between the survival of America and the imagined rights of terrorists, Democrats will choose the latter. Which is why they were willing to release Jose Padilla on what at best amounted to a legal foot fault.

Suspending habeas corpus for Al Qaeda doesn’t threaten the Constitution; it protects it. We wouldn’t have a Constitution to defend unless American leaders possessed constitutional powers to win wars. It makes sense to suspend habeas corpus to save the Constitution from its enemies; it makes no sense to lose the Constitution in a war so as to save the habeas corpus rights of Al Qaeda.

While terrorists are killing American soldiers, the Democrats are smearing Gonzales for not extending the Bill of Rights to beheaders. Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum writes that “anyone who has ever wanted the United States to play a role in promoting and supporting democracy and human rights around the world” must oppose him. You would think from some of the comments and headlines that Gonzales is a torturer himself.

To get Gonzales to cry uncle, the Democrats are trying to pin Abu Ghraib on his very sane judgment that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to terrorists. As if the deranged soldiers responsible for that debacle were carefully sifting through his legal opinions for permission to construct human pyramids of prisoners. The Democrats still act as if Abu Ghraib was the byproduct of a strict, right-wing military culture when it reality it reflected the libertine Clinton-era policies that the Democrats won’t let the military discard — unisex policing and training, a don’t ask, don’t care ethos, a relaxation of military discipline and recruitment standards in the name of making the military “more like America,” etc.

The demented hijinks at Abu Ghraib didn’t reflect the strictness of Donald Rumsfeld or the legal judgment of Alberto Gonzales but the looseness and sickness of a pop domestic culture the Democrats have worked hard to smuggle into a military they regard as reactionary. If soldiers at Abu Ghraib were more interested in the Tailhook Convention than the Geneva Convention, that is the libertine left’s fault, not Gonzales’s.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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