Either my mother or grandmother used to say about something or someone they really detested: "good riddance to bad rubbish." Well, that’s about how I feel about John Ashcroft. Not only was he a vicious, divisively ideological attorney general. He was especially inept at his job.
The New York Times wrote:
He also frequently went on television to announce the disruption of terrorist "sleeper cells" in the United States and to issue terror warnings.
But terrorism prosecutions in Detroit and elsewhere would crumble or come under withering criticism, and a report from the Justice Department’s own inspector general objected to the department’s prolonged detention – and occasional physical abuse – of hundreds of illegal immigrants with no clear ties to terrorism who were arrested in the period after the attacks.
His staff wrote memos justifying torture of terror suspects and advocating the irrelevance of the Geneva Conventions to the issue (a position soundly rejected by a recent Supreme Court decision which the Department continues obstinately to refuse to implement). His prosecutors successfully prosecuted almost no one suspected of terrorist links. He’s managed to goad his opponents by rubbing salt in the wounds he created–going to far as to say in Congressional testimony that those who raise the fears of the American people that their liberties will be endangered (that’s you and me, the ACLU and countless civil liberties groups) are" doing the work of Al Qaeda." As the New York Times describes it:
Mr. Ashcroft himself set the tone for the division less than three months after the attacks when he said before a Senate panel: "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve.”
With Ashcroft, you can’t have an honest difference of opinion. If so, you’re a traitor. Plain and simple.