Quote: “I believe I crossed the line, but I didn’t mean to.” Monica Goodling, former Justice Department liaison to the White House.
Figure of Speech: dicaeologia (di-kay-o-LO-gia), the figure of excuse. From the Greek, meaning “defensive argument.”
“Did you break the law?” a representative asked Goodling, who was granted immunity for her congressional testimony on the firing of U.S. Attorneys. Her answer is a pretty good example of the dicaeologia, the short and sweet excuse.
This figure of thought usually comes into play when the facts of the case and the definition of the terms are going against you. Yes, I did it. Yes, it’s a crime. But I had to! Or, in Goodling’s case, “I didn’t mean to!”
This excuse rarely works when a child uses it on a parent. But then, parents rarely grant immunity.
Snappy Answer: “Does that explain Iraq, too?”