Friday, July 06, 2007

no pardon for scooter's commutation

More commentary on de facto President Bush's cynical, self-serving commutation of Scooter Libby's 30-month prison term.

First, the de facto Administration has accused the Clintons of hypocrisy following Senator Clinton's denunciation of the commutation. Again, I don't want to defend President Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich and 139 others in the waning days of Bill's presidency. Such pardon-fests at the last minute are pretty common (and tawdry, no matter who does them), although Rich did NOT deserve one and the Clinton Administration didn't follow usual procedures. It was wrong.

However, it was fundamentally different than what Bush has done. Clinton didn't pardon an official of his administration convicted of crimes related to the governance of the country, and related to the outing for petty political revenge of an undercover CIA agent. Clinton's pardon recipients didn't participate in a campaign of deceit to build support for a war of choice. Libby (and others) did. And by doing a commutation rather than a pardon (coming in early January of 2009 I'd guess) Bush keeps Libby from having to testify before Congress, further strengthening the coverup.

EJ Dionne admits to feeling rage when the commutation was handed down - but no surprise. He also cited the steady retreat from the moral high ground by the Bush regime:
Notice the pattern: When the heat was on in the CIA leak case, Bush issued a strong pledge to fire anybody involved in leaking. He didn't. When Libby was indicted, Bush ducked comment until Libby was at prison's door. Now, by keeping Libby free, Bush can conveniently postpone a full pardon until after the 2008 election. In the meantime, Libby has no incentive to tell prosecutors anything new about what happened in this case. As liberal blogs have noted, since he was not pardoned outright, he can use the pending appeal of his conviction to avoid testifying before Congress.

Eugene Robinson also weighs in today, pointing out the much harsher treatment meted out to Martha Stewart and L'il Kim for much the same offense, obstructing justice. Except again, their cover-ups did not reach to crimes committed at the highest levels of government. Robinson says (half-jokingly) But we can't accept presidential rule-by-fiat as the norm. If we do, our way of life is threatened, and the terrorists have won.

He shouldn't apologize for the joke. This Administration continues to shred our constitution and our civil liberties with its willingness to break laws to spy on us, its willingness to lie to lead us into wars of choice (which they can't even win), its willingness to commit electoral fraud and to suppress the vote, and so much more. The terrorists haven't won because they haven't achieved their goals, in particular the departure of US forces from Saudi Arabia. But we're losing.


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