Tuesday, July 03, 2007

President Bush Right In Commuting Libby Sentence

Written from San Carlos, California--

Many of the comments on President Bush's decision to commute the 30-month sentence of I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, are predictable. Democrats are most often against it, Republicans for. Some Republicans wish the President had gone further and pardoned Libby.

It will probably come as no surprise to readers of this blog that I'm with the President, as I usually am when it comes to the fundamental issues of war and peace. I think, in contrast to a majority of Americans, that Mr. Bush has been straightforward with the American people, within his understanding of the situation, as to what the issues of the war are. I think he has made some mistakes, but that by and large he has done a good job at defending the interests of the country. For the most part, I've agreed with his decision to go into Iraq and stay there, although I don't share his views on every twist and turn of strategy.

In the matter of leaks to reporters on war questions, or any serious questions, I think it is best simply to accept that they have occurred and go on from there. A huge investigation by a special prosecutor, dragging officials and reporters in to testify, is not in order.

Specifically, I believe the special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, was wrong to force reporters to testify in the Libby case, and to jail one of them , Judith Miller, when she initially refused to testify. I don't think he should have charged Libby, particularly after it became evident that not Libby, but Richard Armitage of the State Department, was the one who leaked the news that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative. (Armitage was not charged). I don't think Libby should have been prosecuted for not being candid on all matters with Fitzgerald, and I viewed the finding that Libby was guilty of lying to be out of context with the whole case and really a miscarriage of justice. So naturally I thought the 30-month jail sentence for Libby by U.S, District Court Judge Reggie Walton was grossly unfair.

Like Ken Starr, when he viciously persecuted President Clinton, I believe Fitzgerald vastly exceeded the boundaries of good taste and decorum in going after Libby, and the judge was disproportionate in the way he sentenced him.

Libby, at the most, is guilty of following orders. It is fairly certain that those orders came from Cheney, although it is possible President Bush was involved as well. Libby was by many accounts a conscientious aide who tried as best he could to implement the policies set down by superiors. And I believe -- again in contrast to many -- that those policies were honestly developed, that they were not some kind of plot to take America to war unnecessarily.

Wth all these views, it is natural that I believe the Presidewnt did the right thing yesterday. He is respecting the justice system, in all its faults, but at the same time he is standing by a trusted subordinate who should not have had to spend 30 months in jail for doing his duty as he understood it.

This won't make me many liberal friends, but so be it. Under the Constitution, the President has the power to commute sentences, and he has used it in this case.


It is most interesting that the British have discovered that several doctors and other medical personnel -- Muslims from the Middle East living in Britain but not citizens there -- were apparently involved in the weekend's attempted terror attacks in the United Kingdom. This is not the first time that the terrorists amongst us have turned out to be well-educated people with fanatic beliefs.

The investigation must be carried on no matter where it leads. Our safety may well depend on it, because our enemies are prepared to use the most brutal tactics against us and our allies, not to mention their co-religionists, and they must be countered with all the diligence we can muster.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

For someone who has been so quick to label other people unAmerican for failing to agree with your retrograde views, I find it rather pathetic that you would still dimiss vox populi re its overwhelming disdain for George W. Bush and still maintain that he has been "straightforward" with the country. This is one of the most secretive administrations in U.S. history or haven't you heard?

7/04/2007 5:50 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home