'Dear Friend' Gonzales Is Expendable to Bush

Could President George W. Bush get away with fingering the wrong guy again?

He's sure trying to in the scandal surrounding the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. On Wednesday, in his first comments, Bush criticized Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, expressing annoyance that questions about the scandal were intruding on his Latin America trip. Bush was feeling so much heat he couldn't even wait to clear Mexican airspace before separating himself from the first Mexican-American attorney general in history.

If the firings weren't looking like a White House operation, Bush wouldn't have criticized the man who must be among the most pliant attorney generals in history.

His ``dear friend'' Gonzales has been a cog in the Bush wheel since his earliest days in Texas. As Bush's counsel, he rejected death-row appeals at a pace that won Bush first place in speed and number (119) of executions in the country.

Gonzales, who once described the Geneva Conventions as ``quaint,'' has rubber-stamped every incursion into due process for detainees and enemy combatants. He approved the ``torture memo'' out of the Justice Department that changed techniques permitted in the interrogation of enemies captured in the war against terrorists. He hasn't met a civil right he likes.

But forcing Gonzales's resignation isn't enough, just as it's not enough to have Scooter Libby alone take the rap for the CIA leak investigation.

Read the whole column here.