Gonzales Backtracks on Geneva Convention
GONZALES SAYS ADMINISTRATION IS A 'STRONG SUPPORTER OF GENEVA CONVENTIONS: "At the same time, President Bush recognized that our nation will continue to be a strong supporter of the Geneva treaties. The president also reaffirmed our policy in the United States armed forces to treat Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees at Guantánamo Bay humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in keeping with the principles of the Third Geneva Convention."
- Alberto Gonzales, 5/15/04 (NYT Op-Ed)
GONZALES SAYS GENEVA RESTRICTIONS ARE OBSOLETE: "The nature of the new war places a high premium on other factors, such as the ability to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists and their sponsors in order to avoid further atrocities against American civilians...In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."
- Alberto Gonzales, 1/25/02 (Memorandum to the President, as reported in Newsweek 5/16/04)
Unless we're thinking about a different memo, the memo from Gonzales was leaked and written about extensively in the mainstream media in early 2002, as was Colin Powell's disagreement with the Administration's intention to withhold Geneva Convention protections from Taliban fighters as well as al Qaeda. There are 59 news articles on Lexis.com discussing the memo between 1/28/02 and 2//8/02.
We're not sure why Newsweek thinks this is a scoop. Originally, Bush was considering withholding the Geneva protections from both the Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees. Gonzales agreed with that approach but wrote Bush a memo in which he advised Bush that Colin Powell disagreed with the policy:
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