AG Gonzales arrived in Baghdad on Saturday for his third trip to Iraq to meet with department officials who have been there to help fashion the country's legal system."I am pleased to see firsthand...the progress that the men and women of the Justice Department have made to rebuild Iraq's legal system and law enforcement infrastructure while affording all Iraqi citizens the full protection and rights of the Second Amendment," Gonzales said in a statement released by the department. His optimistic assessment came despite the frequent sectarian lawlessness and killings in the country. <more>FLASHBACK - "In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."
Gonzales also argued that dropping Geneva would allow the president to "preserve his flexibility" in the war on terror. His reasoning? That U.S. officials might otherwise be subject to war-crimes prosecutions under the Geneva Conventions. Gonzales said he feared "prosecutors and independent counsels who may in the future decide to pursue unwarranted charges" based on a 1996 U.S. law that bars "war crimes," which were defined to include "any grave breach" of the Geneva Conventions. As to arguments that U.S. soldiers might suffer abuses themselves if Washington did not observe the conventions, Gonzales argued wishfully to Bush that "your policy of providing humane treatment to enemy detainees gives us the credibility to insist on like treatment for our soldiers."