But none of this exonerates the commutation [of convicted felon I. Lewis "scooter" Libby]. Perjury is a serious crime. This newspaper argued on behalf of its seriousness in the 1990s, during the Clinton perjury controversy, and today is no different. We'd have hoped that more conservatives would agree. The integrity of the judicial process depends on fact-finding and truth-telling. A jury found Libby guilty of not only perjury but also obstruction justice and lying to a grand jury. It handed down a very supportable verdict. This is true regardless of the trumped-up investigation and political witch hunt. It is true regardless of the unjustifiably harsh sentence.
"We'd have hoped that more conservatives would agree." Ha! Conservatives have the moral compass of a ___________.
Basically it flips the debate from anti-war activists somehow being guilty of not supporting the troops to the reality that places that accusation at the door of the White House.
Here's a snip:
If the Democrats truly want to succeed in forcing President Bush to begin withdrawing from Iraq, the first step is to redefine "supporting the troops" as withdrawing them, citing the mass of accumulating evidence of the psychological as well as the physical damage that the president is forcing them to endure because he did not raise adequate forces. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress could confirm this evidence and lay the blame for "not supporting the troops" where it really belongs – on the president. And they could rightly claim to the public that they are supporting the troops by cutting off the funds that he uses to keep U.S. forces in Iraq.
FP Passport Blog put together a list of President bush's top 10 achievements as CEO (of America).
1. Boosting aid to Africa threefold 2. Preventing a nuclear war between India and Pakistan 3. Taking down the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network 4. Getting Libya to give up its weapons of mass destruction programs and renounce terrorism 5. Turning independent-minded India into a strategic ally 6. After a rough start, sticking to a pragmatic China policy 7. Getting North Korea to shut down its nuclear reactor ... eventually 8. Decapitating some two thirds of al Qaeda's top leadership and not having a second 9/11 9. Giving immigration reform the old college try 10. Challenging his party over harmful agricultural subsidies while pushing free trade
Besides being an enormous departure from precedent, the extraordinarily special treatment of convicted felon I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Jr. shows a President who was and is hiding something. Article Two gives the President the right to grant clemency, true. But typically they follow the stated guidelines. In this case however, the executive has ignored numerous standards and guidelines. These 2 points, however, stand out and deserve to be noted.
First, this is where the president likely saw light for Libby:
Section 1-2.113 Standards for Considering Commutation Petitions
... Generally, commutation of sentence is an extraordinary remedy that is rarely granted. Appropriate grounds for considering commutation have traditionally included disparity or undue severity of sentence, critical illness or old age, and meritorious service rendered to the government by the petitioner, e.g., cooperation with investigative or prosecutive efforts that has not been adequately rewarded by other official action. A combination of these and/or other equitable factors may also provide a basis for recommending commutation in the context of a particular case. ...
You can't find too many people willing to make this argument but when you're this president, what do you have to loose? Popularity? Credibility? The location of Saddam's WMD???
Some people are quick to add that "service rendered" is grounds for petition as well. But I read the guidelines as meaning "services rendered" pertaining to the case (and obstruction doesn't count). The case which is still open. Which brings us to this portion of the guidelines
Sec. 1.3 Eligibility for filing petition for commutation of sentence.
No petition for commutation of sentence, including remission of fine, should be filed if other forms of judicial or administrative relief are available, except upon a showing of exceptional circumstances.
So isn't this case still under appeal? Heck, the case is still open. There is still plenty of "relief" available. And if the case was final and all avenues for relief were exhausted, reducing his sentence would have been the just response, not terminating it outright.
But hey, let's just have Congress investigate and debate this pardon gift of clemency on TV everyday and/or the Grand Jury continue to search deeper into the underlying crime; perhaps by granting immunity.
Noah, over at Danger Room, hints at what I suspected Saturday, that the two "bombers" from Friday's botched attack on Glasgow's airport were the same men who planted crude car "bombs" at two points in London.
Bruce Schneier sums up why I call these attacks crude and not the deadly weapons some might want you to think:
...putting a propane tank into a car and driving into a building at high speed is the sort of thing that only works in old episodes of The A Team. On television, you get a massive explosion. In real life, you only get a small localized fire.In the movies, such an act results in a massive, extensive explosion; in real life you get localized fire.
That said, terrorism works with or without spectacular explosions and mass death. This was certainly not al Qaeda's finest. Had it been, they would have used some form of high explosives (as usual). TNT, et cetera, has a detonation velocity that is nearly an order of magnitude higher than an inefficient explosive such as propane and gasoline. The nails wouldn't have made it much farther than the exterior of the car.
I'll throw another suspicion out there: The latest attempts to make petrol, propane and nails into a MacGyveresque and amateur weapon were more of a repercussion from the knighting of Muslim poet Salman Rushdie than the usual offensive actions of al Qaeda proper.
Although I'm not entirely convinced of this yet.
[UPDATE] "So incompetent as to be almost laughable" is the way a former Scotland Yard detective spoke of the recent failed (to detonate) terror attacks in the United Kingdom. He also speculates that 'al Qaeda' should not be receiving credit for these attacks. TPM has the video, watch it: