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Alberto, Alberto, Alberto. Please, just go away.
Alberto Gonzales, I mean – George W’s devious White House counsel and attorney general. He sullied both offices by repeatedly and secretly striving to shred our Constitution and defy the rule of law on everything from torture to illegal wiretapping. Finally, having misled Congress, he was forced to resign in 2007.
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But he won’t go away! He’s recently been on a pity tour of media outlets, trying vainly to portray himself as an abused public servant. In one interview, Gonzales did show remorse – not for anything he did, but for actions of subordinates. “I deeply regret some of the decisions made by my staff,” he wormed.
He’s not alone in his public display of smug, self-serving, delusionment. Bush himself asserts that he did no wrong in his eight-year term: “When I … look in the mirror, I am not going to regret what I see.” Dick Cheney, too, is full of conceit, saying he’s writing a book to show that everything he did – including okaying torture – was beyond reproach.
What’s at play here is far more than the usual effort by politicos to put a shine on their records. These are politicians who knowingly violated our nation’s laws and who secretly asserted a politics of executive supremacy that unilaterally overthrows the Constitutional mandate for separation of powers. If there is no true accounting for what they did, then their actions become a legal precedent, sanctioning other White House inhabitants to do the same.
This is why America needs a fiercely-independent review commission to reveal the details of their executive excess. The point is not to prosecute someone, but to uncover the truth and make clear that America will not sanction an autocratic power grab – even one disguised as a “war on terror.”
“Alberto Gonzales, the Sequel,” www.nytimes.com, January 27, 2009.
“Do what must be done,” Austin American Statesman, January 25, 2009.