US Attorney Scandal
Although most people outside America (indeed, maybe most people inside America as well) are unaware of it, yet another storm is brewing in Washington. This time, it's about the firing of eight US Attorneys.
US Attorneys are lawyers appointed by the President of the United States to act as the federal government's lawyers. Their appointments must be confirmed by the Senate, and it is very rare for a US Attorney to resign or otherwise lose his job for reasons other than misconduct.
Last year, the Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, fired eight of the 93 US Attorneys, ostensibly because their work performance was not up to mark. That move is now reverberating and backfiring on the Bush administration, because it is suspected that Gonzales chose to fire these people for political reasons.
These suspicions were confirmed after the Senate launched an inquiry, and documents were found indicating that, contrary to Gonzales' original protests, the firings were indeed politically motivated.
Testimony given by the ex-US Attorneys is quite damning. Several of them testified that they received threatening phone calls from members of the Bush administration and even a Republican member of Congress. In at least one case, the issue was that the Republican congresswoman wanted the US Attorney to dig up dirt on her Democratic opponent for the election last November.
The scandal has led to calls for Gonzales' resignation — obviously well-placed calls, seeing as there's no way for him to wriggle out of the fact that he fired government employees simply for political reasons.
Not too long ago, opinion polls indicated a majority of Americans wish the Bush Presidency was just over. This is yet another nail in the Bush administration's coffin, confirming that all this administration has done is politically polarise the country and squander the golden opportunity it had after September 11 to unite the world behind American ideals and principles.
Indeed, the Bush administration has probably seen some of the worst travesties of traditional American principles. The American ideal of liberty was transgressed by the Bush administration's wiretapping programme, which Bush apparently wanted to continue even after the courts ruled it was illegal. Of course we had Guantanomo, but what made matters truly bad was the Bush administration's support for torture — another violation of American principles.
All these violations of basic fundamental features of American law occurred under Gonzales' watch. Gonzales clearly deserves to be fired, and hopefully this scandal about the US Attorneys will do him in. But that won't be enough. As most Americans understand, this whole Bush administration has wrecked their country and the world. Let's hope the next administration will do better, whether it is led by a Republican or Democrat.