Ashcroft’s Legacy

Salon’s review of Ashcroft’s tenure as AG makes clear his farewell letter’s assertions that we’re somehow safer as a result of his jackbooted tactics are nothing more than wishful thinking:

Being John Ashcroft apparently means never having to say you’re sorry. On Nov. 10, the attorney general congratulated himself in a farewell letter “to the American people” with this assessment: “I am blessed to leave public office in a nation that is safer and stronger than the one I found; a nation in which the flame of freedom illuminates every American and burns a signal fire to a watching world.” In fact, there is little reason to believe Ashcroft’s claim that the nation is safer and stronger; file boxes of evidence to demonstrate that if the “flame of freedom” still burns, it is despite Ashcroft’s efforts, not because of them; and every indication that the “signal fire” America is sending to the “watching world” is not one of freedom.

And, needless to say, Gonzales will almost certainly be no better. At least the Onion got some laughs out of it with its throwaway headline this week: “Ashcroft Loses Job To Mexican”.

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