Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Everything that could possibly be said about the commutation of "Scooter" Libby's sentence has been said. Whether or not one accepts the reasons for the President's actions, it is the hypocrisy of those who support it and also sought the impeachment of President Clinton that I find so irksome. President Clinton lied in a civil proceeding in an effort to conceal a sexual relationship. True, his conduct and its concealment demeaned the presidency, but it had no relationship whatsoever to the conduct of his office or his administration. Nonetheless, those seeking impeachment were intent upon causing the President of the United States to be removed from office, humiliated and embarrassed, and the nation disgraced in the process.

Compare that with the subject matter of Mr. Libby's conduct in a criminal investigation and what it was he was trying to conceal. The administration sought to discredit a critic of its justification for the war against Iraq; was willing to use secret information to do so, and as a result outed a CIA agent and endangered other operatives as well as our national security. The cover-up involved an outrageous abuse of power to silence opposition to the war and exposed a willingness to take any action to accomplish it, even if illegal.

The crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice are serious and in these two cases may be the same on their face, but Mr. Clinton's lie was to avoid causing him and his family embarrassment. The lies of the Bush administration brought us to war, killing and wounding thousands of our own soldiers and innocent citizens of Iraq, brought about world hatred against us, the loss of the respect of our allies and a government, apparently so intent in spreading democracy abroad, that it has forgotten to practice it here at home.

The irony is summed up by the fact that no one has been indicted or punished for the outing of Valerie Plame, despite President Bush's assurances that he would do so. The sentence of the one person charged and convicted of covering up the underlying crime has been commuted, and the only person imprisoned as a result, was a newspaper reporter for her stand in protecting the First Amendment.


Shelley said...

I just found your blog and read all of it. I appreciate the format you write in (memories and commentaries). It is much different than the majority of law blogs.

I agree with your opinions about the Libby case. Additionally, it appears that Libby may be trying to avoid probation as well. (see http://thenexthurrah.typepad.com/the_next_hurrah - "Libby's Going to Try to Get Out of Probation, Too" on July 7).

I do wish you would write more about the impacts you experienced during the 1967 New Jersey riots. I lived close to Detroit during the riots here and feel that even today there are ongoing negative impacts from that event.

Please keep blogging and don't be discouraged by the rabid, irrational comments of some of the hoi-polloi. I'm sure you'll build an appreciative audience over time.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100 percent! And, wish that your column was printed in all of the major newspapers .... maybe then all the dispute about President Clinton would be settled once and for all.
Thank you for your analysis and reasoned opinion.

Anonymous said...

I, as did 70% of the American people, never supported the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Even my most staunchly Christian friends thought it was ridiculous. Yeah, the man lied about sex -- as did most of the men seeking to force him from office, i.e., Vitter, Gingrich, Livingston, etc.

Bush and Cheney's, Rove's, Gonzalez' and Meiers' crimes are crimes against the Constitution, international law, the Geneva Conventions and set precedent for future dictatorial powers to be employed against U.S. Citizens.

These are akin to the arguments made by Bruce Fein and John Nichols on the Bill Moyers show of Friday, July 13, 2007. This is a must see for every member of Congress.