Monday, July 28, 2003

Bush has never cared to be bored with details

Bush is fond of saying how "confident" he is on almost every topic. I guess confidence is easier to feel when you decide at the outset that you (see earlier post: Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity; Uncertainty avoidance simply) won't entertain any other possibilities than what you believe to begin with. Our current problem of apparent selective attention to intelligence should come as no surprise to anyone.

While Governor of Texas ...George W. Bush [said], "I take every death penalty case seriously and review each case carefully," he said while governor of Texas.

That sounds reassuring. But a disturbing article in the July-August issue of the Atlantic Monthly suggests that Bush and his legal counsel, Alberto R. Gonzales, exhibited a shocking lack of interest in the facts of the execution cases that came before them....

Before each execution -- usually on the very day of the execution -- Gov. Bush received a memo and a half-hour briefing on the case. The first 57 of those memos were prepared by Gonzales, now the White House counsel and a man frequently mentioned as Bush's choice for a seat on the Supreme Court....

"A close examination of the Gonzales memoranda suggests that Governor Bush frequently approved executions based on only the most cursory briefings on the issues in dispute," Berlow writes. "In fact, in these documents Gonzales repeatedly failed to apprise the governor of crucial issues in the cases at hand: ineffective counsel, conflict of interest, mitigating evidence, even actual evidence of innocence."

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