It was appalling when Senator Arlen Specter, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, attacked Eric H. Holder Jr., President-elect Barack Obama's pick for attorney general. He suggested that Holden would be too willing to do the president's bidding.
"He's had an outstanding academic and professional record, and I acknowledge that early on," Mr. Specter said. "But aside from these qualifications on Mr. Holder's résumé, there is also the issue of character, and sometimes it is more important for the attorney general to have the stature and the courage to say no instead of to say yes."(NY Times)
At what time during the entire Bush administration did any of his attorneys general ever say no to him or Cheney? In fact Bush & Co. specifically put in place people who not only would say yes to him but would write memos that would "legally justify" them skirting the law.
As Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice, John Yoo co-authored the controversial Legal Arguments for Avoiding the Jurisdiction of the Geneva Conventions. In the 42-page memo, he concluded that neither the Geneva Conventions nor any of the laws of war applied to the conflict in Afghanistan. (SourceWatch)
In other words, the laws governing humane treatment of prisoners as specified in the Geneva Conventions apply to everyone in the world but President Bush. In his memo, Yoo justifies torture of prisoners. In fact, when asked by Doug Cassel, a human rights legal scholar and professor at Notre Dame "If the president deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?'"
John Yoo replied, "No treaty."
Cassel: Also no law by Congress...that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo.
Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.
The infamous memo also concluded that water boarding was not torture, but "just a dunk in water," and only pain resulting in "death, organ failure of the permanent impairment of a significant body function" could be considered torture. (of course by the time someone is dead or has permanent impairment, it's a little too late)
This torture memo written by Yoo, was then signed by Jay Bybee, also an Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Council and Yoo's boss, then passed on to Bush's legal council, Alberto Gonzales who gave it his stamp of approval.
Of course this gave the Bush Administration the legal approval for torture it so wanted. The same legal council also gave its blessing to warrantless eavesdropping.
Talk about yes men.
It was Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the ultimate yes man, and long-time personal friend of "W", who fired 8 attorneys general en masse because they did not pass the GOP loyalty test of the WH.
Where was Arlen Spector when these "yes men" were surrounding President Bush? Why wasn't he complaining then about "the issue of character, and sometimes it is more important for the attorney general to have the stature and the courage to say no instead of to say yes"?
Those who did not find a legal interpretation acceptable to Bush & Co.'s tactics or showed trepidation regarding such lawlessness were soon shown the WH door.