Open Letter from September 11th Advocates
September 11th Advocates
For Immediate Release
July 27, 2007
Watching Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testify before Congress
on July 24, 2007, for the third time, was excruciatingly painful.
During Gonzales’ testimony, it became abundantly clear that Americans
were witnessing the unraveling of the fabric of America. We do not feel that
this is an overstatement.
The Attorney General, a man who supposedly personifies America’s rule of law,
obfuscated, committed perjury, and belittled the very institution, the Congress,
which makes America a great Democracy. Over and over, we publicly witnessed
Gonzales’ refusal to answer the questions posed by you – a Committee
authorized to conduct oversight duties. You were made to look frustrated and
foolish as your attempts at Executive Branch oversight were thwarted by the
bizarre, circular non-answers of Attorney General Gonzales. For the third time,
you were unable to penetrate his stonewalling.
We want to know, is it not a crime to mislead and outright lie to the
Congress? How many more opportunities will you give Attorney General
Gonzales to make a farce of our system by denying Congress information that
would allow you to do your job and properly perform your oversight role?
The Bush Administration has repeatedly told us that American troops are fighting
to spread democracy in Iraq. Ironically, here in America we seem to be losing
the core principles that make us one. Mr. Gonzales’ testimony and the
Administration’s refusal to have key people testify at the hearings, without
any accountability, make a mockery of our system of checks and balances. We
are supposed to have three equal branches of government: the Executive, Judicial
and Legislative. While they are often on opposite sides of an issue, the three
branches are to be unified in the maintenance of American civil liberties, not
working in concert to covertly undermine and rescind them. Again, no one branch
is supposed to have absolute power, nor should any combination of the other
two be cowed or manipulated into consensus against the interests of the American
And, while we support these inquiries and applaud your patience and attempts
to solicit truthful and substantive answers to your questions during all of
the Gonzales hearings, it was disconcerting to watch the disdainful contempt
that the Attorney General exhibited for the entire process.
Sadder still, it appears that you are becoming unwittingly complicit in your
own undoing. It is evident that what we are watching is the U.S. Congress in
the process of making itself irrelevant. When the Executive Branch alone
is allowed to act without any oversight, or any accountability, then what we
will become is a dictatorship. And once all Americans realize that
Congress is unable to perform any oversight, whether it is due to lack of will
or complicity, you will no longer be needed. Once it becomes apparent that the
Executive Branch is not only making the laws but also deciding which laws to
follow, the Congress will be just a quaint, unnecessary and useless artifact.
This Administration, aided and abetted by some members of Congress, has repeatedly
deceived the American people by allowing the Executive Branch to ignore the
rule of law and divisions of power specifically stated in the Constitution.
This Administration’s “constitutionally and legally challenged”
activities include, but are certainly not limited to: taking America into a
pre-emptive war on false pretenses, warrantless wiretapping, illegal torture,
and the political firing of attorneys. Where are those who took an oath to uphold
the Constitution and are supposed to represent us in our government …
While we understand that you only have limited tools in your arsenal to address
these matters, what we don’t understand is why you have yet to use them. We
also understand that using these tools may involve a lengthy and highly contentious
process that we will all have to endure. Yet in the annals of history, the only
thing that will count is whether or not you upheld the rule of law and fulfilled
your Constitutional responsibilities. The mere countenance of argument and eventual
capitulation will only ensure our collective demise, and the continued abuse
of power by others in the future. But by seeking the truth and reestablishing
the balance of power you can negate the current Administration’s unilateral
quest for domination, and hopefully, begin to restore the United States’
international and regional standing in the world.
Thus, all options for achieving these goals should be put back on the
Show the American public and the world that our democracy has been reinstated.
That the system put in place by our forefathers, the system that this Administration
says it wants to spread throughout the world is once again viable and indeed
worth saving. Fight with all that you have to save our democracy here in America.
You owe it to every American, but most of all you owe it to the men and women
in the military that have been repeatedly put in harm’s way attempting
to establish a democracy overseas.
The future of our Democracy is in grave danger. It is imperative that
you act immediately.
September 11th Advocates–July 26, 2007
Lorie Van Auken
Source URL: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/coleen-rowley/september-11th-advocates_b_58141.html