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Unacceptable Vacancies Put Us At Risk

gonzales-republican.jpgThe Republican party continues to put lockstep, craven ass-covering ahead of national interest when it comes to the Department of Justice.  But this is simply, flat out, unacceptable:

Notwithstanding Mr. Gonzales’s assurances, other department officials said that, by several measurements, the work of the department has been severely disrupted by his troubles, especially in recent months. There are vacancies through the senior ranks….

Among the 93 United States attorneys, who serve as the chief federal prosecutors for their regions, there are 24 vacancies. The White House has announced nominations for only six of those offices, which means that several of the jobs may remain unfilled for the rest of the Bush administration(emphasis mine)

This is not an approval from Congress problem — there simply have been no nominees put forward by the Bush Administration to fill the jobs.  Out of the 24 open USAtty postitions, only six have potential nominees identified, none of whom have been sent up to the Hill as yet, only announced.  This puts our nation at risk. Period.

Assistant USAttys work very hard on cases for trial, but they do not have the ear of the folks back in DC who make fundamental policy decisions and who can make desperately needed course corrections for the whole of the DOJ when changes are warranted — that duty generally falls to the USAtty or a designated top deputy.  People working in the trenches cannot possibly see evolving national trends, because they are too busy trying to secure day to day trial convictions and plea deals.  Additionally, without people with integrity, with the professional experience to spot the need for changes where they are necessary, and whose opinions are listened to and valued who are in those top positions, we lose a great deal.

24 vacancies out of the 93 total USAtty offices is simply unacceptable.

This is a substantial dereliction of duty by the Bushies who are too stubborn or too shortsighted to know that nominating someone of quality and integrity to the jobs — a decent, hard-working, committed and ethical person that Senators of both parties would find not only acceptable but also substantially so — is essential to restoring the faith of the public in the nation’s judicial system.  Because to do what is necessary right not for the whole of the nation would be to admit that they have been wrong all along about the politicization.  And what are the odds that George Bush will admit — to himself or the nation — that he and his Administration have made a grievous error in judgment?

That the DOJ is being led at this moment by a man whose own integrity and honesty is significantly called into question?  Beyond appalling.  Anonymous Liberal has done some amazing combing through back testimony from Alberto Gonzales and after reading through his findings, I have to say that Gonzales wouldn’t know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth if it stood up and smacked him on the ass.

The fact that we have this very same issue at the Department of Homeland Security?  Where the enormous number of vacancies at top level strategy and implementation/supervisory positions is appalling, and which puts the nation’s security at risk every single day that they are left unfilled.  Sure, George Bush tries to spin a good public game about his Administration being so tough on threats to our security — but when it comes to doing the real, hard work?  They don’t even bother with filling jobs. 

National security is more than some swaggering bravado, a few press conferences, and a photo-op or two.  That’s simply smoke and bullshit.  It is a day to day grind, and the Bushies are not doing the work. 

They aren’t even committed enough to find people with integrity to stand up and do the work for their nation.  The Bushies have become so toxic, so broken, so untrustworthy that Republicans with integrity (there are still a few out there) don’t want to get anywhere near their Beltway circle. 

They can no longer find people to fill these essential positions.  And the nation is put at risk as a result.

That George Bush would rather allow those positions to be unfilled, empty placeholders rather than give up his dream of partisan hacks doing his bidding in them screams out for public outcry.   That he has become so toxic that, even if he wanted to fill them with people of integrity, those same people would not trust him enough to think they would be allowed to do their jobs without White House political interference, needs to be a topic for public discussion.  Regularly.  

George Bush has taken a system that was balanced on integrity and trust, and injected mistrust and political foul play.  And the Republican party, especially the enablers in the House, don’t see anything wrong with that at all.

Unacceptable.  Completely, totally, fundamentally unacceptable.  Bottom line for me:  Republicans see the nation’s government as existing for their own craven, ass-covering benefit — and they are putting the entire nation at risk with their incompetence, and breaking the Department of Justice just like they are breaking the back of the Army and the Marines with misuse and piss poor decisionmaking.  We cannot afford more failure like this — we will be years in the rebuilding.


PS — I don’t get to say this very often, but good for Arlen Specter.  (H/T C&L)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com