Commentary: Alberto Gonzales and those U.S. Attorney firings

The Fort Worth Star-TelegramDecember 15, 2009 

Faux talk show host Stephen Colbert runs a hilariously subversive, sort-of educational segment on Comedy Central's Colbert Report called "Better Know a District" that features sit-downs with members of the U.S. House.

Colbert starts out providing tidbits of information about a congressional district then shows himself interviewing its elected representative. Those members of Congress who consent to be a target and actually get the joke play along gamely, understanding that even humiliation equals national face time. The interview video inevitably is edited to make the officials look ridiculous and draw laughs.

Point is, you never quite know how the original interview went or what was left out from the publicly presented version.

Esquire magazine is no Colbert Report. But a new interview with former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales makes a reader want to know what else he said.

Titled "What I"ve Learned," the piece is presented strictly as quotes from Gonzales on controversies during his 31-month tenure as the nation's top lawyer, from the Geneva Conventions and Abu Ghraib photos to Washington politics and the removal of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006. (Read it at Esquire.

But it’s not clear that Gonzales — who resigned in 2007 and now is helping Texas Tech University recruit more minority students — learned at all.

If the quotes are to be believed, Gonzales considers it "totally ridiculous" to suggest that the abuse of Iraqi war prisoners at Abu Ghraib resulted from Bush administration policies.

He believes that "90 percent of what happened to me" stemmed from politics aimed at trying to "knock out" his boss, rather than from his own poor judgment and flawed actions.

And he’s now second-guessing the U.S. attorney firings, but not in a remorseful way.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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