THE NEW FACE OF ALBERTO R. GONZALES,
HERE AT LAST FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE.
by Kathryn Joanne Dixon © 1/10/05
President George W. Bush's nominee Alberto Gonzales will become the next Attorney General of the United States -- a done deal no Senator dares really resist. But whenever I and others in this wide world see Alberto Gonzales' cute cheeky boyish unstrained face, we will remember Lynddie England. Yes, we will see perched upon that fine Texas Hispanic lawyer's neck, the face of the poor white girl from West Virginia who joined the military to escape a night job in a chicken-processing factory and earn money to go to college. Lynddie England, private first class in the 372nd Military Police company of the Army Reserve -- she followed orders from her immediate superior who took orders from "someone" higher up in the command to torture, torture, torture prisoners in Iraq. When Alberto Gonzales places his hand upon the Bible and swears the oath as Attorney General, he will have a problem -- he won't be able to wipe it away -- that female face just as cute as his, just as cheeky, much younger, too impish, not Harvard educated. Of course, his face seems superior -- that of a calm lawyer and former judge, unperturbed even when equivocating before the Senate. And hers is strained by a court martial and years in the brig she didn't expect, for crimes of having tortured Iraqis. Where is equal justice under law? She followed her immediate superior's orders. Thus, she followed White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales' "memos", some still not disclosed. His client, President Bush relied upon these memos to make orders, yes, orders to torture certain prisoners in the war on terror. She obeyed although she, having attended high school, should have known better. The court of public opinion metes out its own justice. The force of human conscience makes its a mark upon Gonzales' visage. He wears Lynddie England's face and he can't wipe it off.
Alberto, do you enjoy your Lynddie Gonzales face? Put it on with a little more makeup for the television cameras! Announce the newest policy of the Department of Justice to CNN! Don't forget to mention your new big arrest in the war on terror! The world watches you -- our Lynddie Gonzales, the great U.S. Attorney General. True, as you speak to the world as Attorney General, we still see you holding a leash of a hooded Iraqi prisoner who is crawling upon Abu Ghraib's floor. We still see the cigarette hanging from the corner of your mouth, just lit up for a little break during the tortures. We see you pointing at the genitalia of naked Iraqi prisoners. In fact, we can't say the words "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales" without stammering to a halt. We can only say Attorney General Lynddie Gonzales. Lawyers, litigants, observers and reporters from all corners, will mutter your true name "Lynddie Gonzales" behind your back in the halls, inns, benches and bars of court and outside, each time an injustice is perceived as created by your office in the military courts, the federal courts, the courts of appeal and the Supreme Court. Yes, there are still people who think: How can a torturer administer justice? However, it is true, as you, shyster Gonzales, may in fact desire, that when people say Lynddie Gonzales behind your back, their blood will turn to ice, and their hearts stop in fear of you. You expect that, don't you? After all, you got the ball rolling with your "memos" which counseled that torture could lawfully be ordered by the Commander in Chief George W. Bush. You are, shall we be direct, bloodthirsty. The people in the courts, high and low, do have some reason to be terrified by your face. They perceive the blood of men and women dripping from your clever twisted mouth which spouts odd law. From the day September 11, 2001 to the day of your nomination, United States troops and other personnel tortured five inmates to death. 23 others died in United States military custody under suspicious circumstances. Abu Ghraib, Tikrit, Mosul, Basra, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay -- all venues for United States' sanctioned torture and abuse of detainees, that is men and women, some who could be charged with murder or terrorism if ever charged, but many who are innocent. And don't forget the "ghost detainees" hidden from Red Cross officials. Ah, Alberto, the murder, the beatings, the quasi-crucifixions. Don't forget the rape. Now Lynddie Gonzales, you don't really like this stuff, do you?
During the next four years of all our lives, Lynddie Gonzales will decide which people to prosecute under United States law for such matters as drug dealing, bank robbery, violations of the Patriot Act, or engaging in terrorism. Will he have the appearance of a prosecutor seeking justice? Who will think he seeks justice, not merely convictions without due process when he is responsible in great part for the tortures at Abu Grhaib? Who will think he desires punishment for crime, not just cruel and unusual punishment amounting perhaps to torture, when he is responsible in great part for the beating and humiliation of prisoners in U.S. custody at Guantanamo? Who will think he will not cause prejudice and bias in the administration of justice? One look at Lynddie Gonzales and a reasonable person may think a prosecution he initiates, is not brought on behalf of the United States of America, the just, the noble, yes, the merciful nation. Instead, they may reasonably conclude the prosecution is brought by Lynddie Gonzales, the face of tortured justice, or justice tortured. When he speaks as the highest prosecutor in the land on behalf of the Department of Justice and as "supervisor" of the FBI in his capacity as head of the Department of Justice, even the judges may ask: "Isn't this the guy who said in his February 2002 "memo" to President Bush that the Geneva Convention is `obsolete' and `quaint'? Isn't this the guy who cleared a 2002 Justice Department 'memo' that stated pain caused by interrogation must include `injury such as death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions' in order to constitute torture? Gees, we members of the judiciary, must duly hold on to our kidneys, livers and spleens when Lynddie Gonzales is in court! Moreover, we must consider one thing. If this guy tries this torture stuff on a white male who is a member of the higher class in this country, we will smack him down. Or is it too damn late? Quick! Who are those 'ghost detainees' really? Did we lose America in that cell when Lynddie put the leash on the Iraqi man like he was a dog and smiled as innocently as Alberto as a camera clicked?"
Hold on Judges, do not philosophize about the long range future. Immediate concerns present themselves. Soon, those claiming they were tortured will sue the United States and its citizens for damages or institute adversary proceedings in court by habeas corpus or other means to obtain hearings. They, foreigners and yes, a few American-born "test cases", will pursue release from detention and relief from torture including relief from "indefinite" detentions forever without any hearings and relief from the new "diesel therapy" which takes a person via a CIA-fronted jet to foreign climes where torture is legal, so those foreigners may torture him in those ways the United States can't even quite torture...yet. Judges, please don't fret that that the ghost detainees are getting more ghostly to the point of disappearance as time goes on! Judges, these pressing concerns will be addressed. Attorney General Lynddie Gonzales will sign all necessary papers to oppose all claims for any relief those detained seek whether ghost or human. Each and everyone who protests, he shall squash by the law's delay, if not by its mountains of papers and tsunamis of ink. Don't fear! No balanced and unbiased prosecutorial judgment here! Rather, Lynddie Gonzales will sign the papers to deny relief, faster than Rumsfeld's automatic signature pen has comforted widows. We know him, our Attorney General, very well now, so thoroughly has the Senate vetted him. The memos he wrote or cleared that he would not give to the Senators for their review are mere trifles. Don't be quaint and obsolete! He is, after all ,Lynddie Gonzales, the one who believes in torture, despite his tortured promises to the Senate on the eve of his confirmation that he doesn't believe in it. Flip flop? Don't blink an eye. Lynddie Gonzales is on top of it, baby, like that girl soldier smiling over the top of a pyramid heap of Iraqi prisoners, buck naked to the world! Above all, if a torture case comes up for a little adjudication, you can depend on Lynddie Gonzales to be true to his past -- torture is the name of the game, even if justice is forfeited.
It is time to charge ahead, great Senate, Democrats and Republicans all! Vote for this person or do not! But if you vote for him, know this well. No one in this divided America or this warring world will ever look upon the new Attorney General's face without see Lynddie's grin, the Marlboro falling from her smug red puckered lips, her leather leash at the ever ready. Her thrill! Go ahead, Senate, give this cartoon of twisted justice, the highest position in the Department of Justice! No one will take him seriously as a good minister of justice to the people. He has no capital of justice to spend. Never earned any. Torturers born or bred can't.
Now I tell you there is a rumor in this great land that will not end. It is said by reporters' anonymous sources, not subpoenaed yet to reveal themselves on penalty of contempt and even jail, that just before the Senate approves his nomination for Attorney General, this person with his two heads, Alberto and Lynddie in his two hands, will fall to his knees and weep as he pleads, "Senators, do not put this crown on either of my heads! I confess. It is I who should be standing where Lynddie England stands. Take me to Fort Hood for a good court martialing!. It is I who should rot in the brig for the next 15 years, not Lynddie England. For I am a liar. And I do not want to walk the primrose path to perjury. Thus, I say to you now, just before you vote, it is true that I wrote the memos upon which the Commander in Chief George W. Bush based his orders to the troops, on the sly of course, to engage in torture, and these orders were intentionally, on the sly, filtered down to Lynddie. My God, yes, in the name of patriotism, I did love to torture, torture, torture until blood was drawn! And that stain has not been washed from my hands. Not yet. I can only pray there is enough water. Or that your votes will make it all 'okay'"
The Commander in Chief George W. Bush, it is also rumored, is prepared to tell Lynddie Gonzales, "Get over it! Continue on! Love your unusual face! There is brush to be cleared. Do not be misunderestimated."
The Senate is prepared to tell Lynddie Gonzales, "We're over it. Now we're not saying `continue on', but the implications are the implications, and that is a tough little fact."
The Senate will vote. The magic morphing of the phony face of Alberto Gonzales into the true one will become permanent.
Senate approval is as official as it gets. Lynddie Gonzales will represent the United States -- a world-wide symbol of American justice and the stuff of history books. Will his face become as famous as the grizzly faces of the GI Joes who passed out food and water to the inmates of Auschwitz after pulling them out of ovens, all in the name of American justice? Perhaps he hopes so. Nonetheless, his official high position will cause his face to be recalled, for good or ill, when people in the halls of the Capitol think of the work of his colleagues such as Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy who prosecuted the mob, or Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who resigned rather than follow President Nixon's illegal order, or Attorney General Francis Biddle who, in his retirement, served as the senior American judge of the Nuremburg Tribunal.
Observe! There! It is s a parade! The newly sworn Attorney General is doing the Texas swagger in his new shiny black boots, He is marching out of the Senate to his new high office. He is marching, though he need not say it, for the new justice by torture -- and he is ours, our very own Lynddie Gonzales -- the happy face that launched the awful fall of America, from the country striving to be the just, the equitable and the merciful to the country torturing and torturing and still torturing around the world (if not at home?) He is marching to make America into a country striving for justice no more or only faintly in an old fashioned memory. Little does he know. He is marching for the greater glory of those he doesn't know -- the people who are going underground right now to survive among the few who will dare one great and shining day to completely cleanse torture from America's laws and practices,