George W Bush has decided that if you happen to work in the White House a two-and-a-half year jail sentence for intentional obstruction of a federal investigation and four counts of perjury is “too harsh”. As a result the President has commuted the sentence of convicted felon Scooter Libby and sent him home with a pat on the back and orders to put his feet up.
Amid all the frothing media terror hype, the fact that the Bush administration has once again declared itself above the law has been relegated to the “and also in the news” sections.
The decision came after a federal appeals court refused on Monday to step in and delay sending Libby to prison.
“My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr Libby,” the president said. “The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged. His wife and young children have also suffered immensely … The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant and private citizen will be long-lasting.”
Someone should tell Bush exactly how justice is supposed to work, if you willingly attempt to pervert its course and are discovered you do tend to end up with a bad reputation, this is not a punishment, it is merely a by product of your criminal actions.
In addition Bush has not ruled out a total pardon for Libby.
Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, described Mr Bush’s action as “disgraceful”. Charles Schumer, a Democratic senator, echoed this: “As independence day nears, we’re reminded that one of the principles our forefathers fought for was equal justice under the law. This commutation completely tramples on that principle.
Perhaps the real reason behind the Libby decision is that fact that the Bush administration knows full well that Libby took the rap for his criminal masters.
Back in March a spokesman for the jury that convicted Libby told reporters immediately afterward that many felt sympathy for him and believed he was only the “fall guy.”
Denis Collins said that “a number of times” they asked themselves, “what is HE doing here? Where is Rove and all these other guys….I’m not saying we didn’t think Mr. Libby was guilty of the things we found him guilty of. It seemed like he was, as Mr. Wells [his lawyer] put it, he was the fall guy.”
He said they believed that Vice President Cheney did “task him to talk to reporters” and out Valerie Plame as a CIA agent.
At Libby’s trial it was revealed that he lied about leaking undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame’s identity in 2003 because Cheney’s office wanted to discredit Plame’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was a strong public critic of the administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq.
Wilson had traveled to Niger in February 2002 on a CIA-sponsored mission to investigate allegations that Saddam Hussein’s regime had attempted to procure weapons-grade uranium from the African nation. Wilson reported to the CIA that from what he could learn the allegations were almost certainly untrue. In a July 6, 2003, op-ed in The New York Times, Wilson charged that the Bush administration had “twisted” intelligence information when it cited the alleged Niger-Iraq connection in the president’s State of Union address earlier that year.
As one part of an effort to counter Wilson’s allegations and to discredit him, Libby and other Bush administration officials told reporters that Wilson’s wife selected him to go on the CIA mission, suggesting nepotism.
Libby’s trial has also brought Cheney’s role to center stage. According to evidence and testimony, Cheney selectively leaked and declassified intelligence information to bolster the administration’s case for war and later to defend against charges that he had misrepresented prewar intelligence.
Even former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham has stated:
“It’s hard to believe that the chief of staff to the vice president was acting as a rogue agent. What we have learned from the trial validates the suspicion that Libby was not just operating as a lone ranger. He was carrying out what the vice president wanted him to do, which was to besmirch Joe Wilson. I think Libby has been a conspirator in one of the most reprehensible and damaging breaches of American security in modern history.”
However this will all seemingly go down the memory hole. Libby will skip jail and Cheney will face no recrimination.
And what of Bush? While Libby takes the fall over the Wilson/Plame affair, will anyone remember that at the very core of it was the speech that Bush gave to the nation in 2003 whereupon he announced that Iraq had sought to buy uranium from Niger, a claim the CIA had informed the administration was based on falsified documents ten months before it was included in the speech.
This is just one of the many instances where Bush has committed an impeachable offense by knowingly lying to the American people.
In recent weeks we have been reminded time and time again by the criminals in office that they consider themselves subject to no law or oversight.
Last week the Vice President and the President casually declared their offices to be independent of the executive branch and completely autonomous, with revelations also emerging that Dick Cheney has attempted to abolish agencies his office is supposed to be accountable to.
Previous to this Dick Cheney declared both himself and Bush unaccountable to Congress, stating last year that “vice president and president and constitutional officers don’t appear before the Congress.”
It is also now clear that Bush and Cheney have broken literally hundreds of laws because they see themselves as outside of their reach.
The Constitution assigns power to Congress to write the laws and asserts that the president has an obligation ”to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ”execute” a law he believes is unconstitutional.
Bush and Cheney are vastly expanding Presidential power and creating provisions that set their offices up as dictatorial bodies.
It has now become chillingly clear that the President and the Vice President believe that they have absolute power over the Government of the United States and cannot be held accountable to anybody.