Gonzo: I’m A Casualty Of The War On Terror

December 31, 2008 8:34 a.m.
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Looks like Gonzo still doesn’t quite get it.

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales — under whose tenure the Justice Department often appeared to take its orders from the White House political office — sat down with the Wall Street Journal in an effort to clear his name. But we’re guessing he did himself more harm than good.

Gonzo appeared genuinely unable to grapple with why he might be unpopular. “What is it that I did that is so fundamentally wrong, that deserves this kind of response to my service?” he asked.

And he wasn’t above wallowing in self-pity, making a comparison that would likely rankle families of 9/11 and Iraq war victims: “[F]or 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.”

What about that infamous hospital visit, in which Gonzales, at the time the White House counsel, along with White House chief of staff Andy Card, pressed then-AG John Ashcroft to sign off on a secret government program while Ashcroft was hospitalized — and, by some accounts, going in and out of consciousness — after gall bladder surgery? Gonzo has no regrets. “I found Ashcroft as lucid as I’ve seen him at meetings in the White House,” he said.

He also took a shot at James Comey, the respected former DOJ official who revealed details of the hospital visit in Congressional testimony: “He didn’t have the decency to notify anyone what he was about to testify,” Gonzales said of Comey. “That was extremely disappointing.”

And Gonzo put the blame for the memos authorizing torture squarely on John Yoo, the then-DOJ lawyer who wrote them — even though even though there’s no evidence that Gonzo, as White House counsel, raised any objection.

Reports the Journal:

John Yoo, the then-Justice official who had been assigned to draft the memos, had strong feelings and no one could have pressured him to write the memos a certain way, Mr. Gonzales said.

Gonzo also told the Journal he’s at work on a book about his tenure at DOJ to set the record straight. He doesn’t have a publisher, but is writing it “for my sons, so at least they know the story.”

And he’s not having much success in his post-government career. Says the paper:

The Harvard Law School graduate, onetime corporate lawyer and Texas judge also hasn’t been able to land a job. He has delivered a few paid speeches, done some mediation work and plans to do some arbitration, but said law firms have been “skittish” about hiring him.

It’s hard being a casualty of the war on terror.

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