All Attorneys General are political appointments, reflections of the values and judgment of the Presidents who appoint them. To secure confirmation by the Senate, AG nominees are freer than judicial nominees to assure Senators that they, the AG nominees, have the right values for the job. In fact, nominees for Attorney General sometimes figuratively kiss a senator’s …. ring. Not an attractive or impressive or reassuring image for one claiming to have the qualities essential to leading the United States Department of Justice.
Using their mind’s eye, readers can see two such kisses being planted by reading a recent post by Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com. If only this were just political theater, conduct engaged in by consenting adults, conduct that did no harm beyond the dissemination of unsavory images involving adult men. But the kisses were not just an act, they were promises to use the power of the DOJ in a way pleasing to the powerful senator.
Gonzales and Mukasey kept their promises. Read Greenwald’s post about torture, pornography and obscenity. Consider who the DOJ prosecuted and why. Consider the sentence the defendant the DOJ targeted now faces. Consider the difference between what the Bush Administration believed was the lawful infliction of physical harm amounting to loss of a limb or organ failure on one hand and the voluntary playing acting by consenting adults.
A purveyor of pornographic images faces thirty years in prison where anal rape is common while the creators and purveyors of credit default swaps enjoy the unimaginable wealth produced by the sale of their own obscene creations. Hence the title of this post, “The Department of …. Justice?”