January 06, 2005

Followup on the Death of the American Justice

Posted at January 6, 2005 11:05 AM in Society .

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/06/opinion/06danner.html

We Are All Torturers Now
By MARK DANNER

AT least since Watergate, Americans have come to take for granted a certain story line of scandal, in which revelation is followed by investigation, adjudication and expiation. Together, Congress and the courts investigate high-level wrongdoing and place it in a carefully constructed narrative, in which crimes are charted, malfeasance is explicated and punishment is apportioned as the final step in the journey back to order, justice and propriety.

When Alberto Gonzales takes his seat before the Senate Judiciary Committee today for hearings to confirm whether he will become attorney general of the United States, Americans will bid farewell to that comforting story line. The senators are likely to give full legitimacy to a path that the Bush administration set the country on more than three years ago, a path that has transformed the United States from a country that condemned torture and forbade its use to one that practices torture routinely.

Through a process of redefinition largely overseen by Mr. Gonzales himself, a practice that was once a clear and abhorrent violation of the law has become in effect the law of the land.

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