Alberto Gonzlaes has decided to write a book. It will consist of several hundred blank pages, as he simply doesn’t recall much of what he did during his tenure in the Bush Administration. What is pitiful is that Gonzales compares himself to victims of the War on Terror, because the Senate picked on him, I suppose. Shameful and pitiful.
Commentary By: Steven Reynolds
Republicans have been unable or unwilling to protect their own, and have not found a nice, cushy job for amnesiac and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Poor Alberto Gonzales. He’s whining to the Wall Street Journal about his treatment on Captial Hill and et cetera, and has now decided to write a tell all book. (OK, the jokes about how he could possibly write a book if he ‘can’t recall’ are cheap, if accurate.) Gonzales, famous for tracking down John Ashcroft in order to justify violating the constitution with the NSA domestic surveillance program, is now whining because, as a lawyer charged with knowing the law, he’s got a track record of not recalling how he violated the constitution. But the whiney complaints are good reading, at least when in a Wall Street Journal blog:
Mr. Gonzales has been portrayed by critics both as unqualified for his position and instrumental in laying the groundwork for the administration’s ‘war on terror.’ He was pilloried by Congress in a manner not usually directed toward cabinet officials.
‘What is it that I did that is so fundamentally wrong, that deserves this kind of response to my service?’ he said during an interview Tuesday, offering his most extensive comments since leaving government.
During a lunch meeting two blocks from the White House, where he served under his longtime friend, President George W. Bush, Mr. Gonzales said that ‘for some reason, I am portrayed as the one who is evil in formulating policies that people disagree with. I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror.’
This is pretty much the most clueless statement I can imagine. The treatment Gonzales received concerned the program of politicizing the department he was in charge of, the Department of Justice. It came after a string of answers which showed Gonzales either didn’t know at all what was happening in his own DOJ, or was purposely misleading Senators with a string of ‘I do not recall’ answers. Gonzales now doesn’t just fail to recall, he fails to understand the enormity of his incometencies. Look for no responsibility taken in this book.
Worse here is that Gonzales compares himself to the real victims in the War on Terror, the men and women who died on 9/11, the soldiers who died because of Bush’s policies, the tens of thousands of Iraqi dead. . . those are victims of the ‘War on Terror.’ Mr. Gonzales is at worst complicit in some of those deaths in that he helped justify some ugly policies. At best, Gonzales is merely a bumbling incompetent, and thus his is not a tragic story. Tragedy requires one fall from great heights, after all, and while Gonzales’ role in the Bush Administration was a high-ranking one, it was still a role in the failed and incompetent Bush Administration.
The interview with the WSJ is a bit pitiful and self-serving, of course. Gonzales is a Republican, after all. Here’s another excerpt:
Among other things, Mr. Gonzales said Tuesday that he didn’t play a central role in drafting the widely criticized legal opinions that allowed the Central Intelligence Agency to use aggressive interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects and expanded the president’s power to hold ‘unlawful combatants’ and terrorism suspects indefinitely. He also said he told the truth to Congress about a classified eavesdropping program authorized by the president, and admitted to making mistakes in handling the U.S. attorney firings while maintaining that he made the right decisions. He says that while he bears responsibility as former Attorney General that ‘doesn’t absolve other individuals of responsibility.’
Mr. Gonzales, 53 years old, doesn’t have a publisher for his book. He said he is writing it if only ‘for my sons, so at least they know the story.’
This last bit seems a bit poignant. Gonzales gives excuses about his behavior concerning the NSA program and the torture policies of the Bush Administration, and then cops a little responsibility about the US Attorney scandal. I’m surprised he admits to anything, really. This guy is universally considered a liar and an incompetent, after all. But it is poignant because it appears Gonzales knows that the only ones he can convince about his good name and reputation are his own sons. How far he has fallen.
Let’s not let Alberto Gonzales off the hook, though. He was a lawyer with a degree from Harvard when he was hired by President Bush. He’d worked for Bush in Texas, so likely knew what he was getting himself in for. There are no excuses for the damage he did to our constitution, and while Alberto Gonzales’ sons may indeed believe his accounts, it is unlikely anyone else will. I’m just wondering where the man finds a publisher who will touch the book.