Okay, we didn’t want Libby, we wanted Cheney – or, at the very least Rove. After all, men like “Scooter” Libby and Richard Armitage are but pawns in a metaphysical chess game the hands-beneath-the-puppets of the current administration are content to employ with impunity against the rule of law and the aspiration of decency in this country.
However, we didn’t get Cheney – not even close – we didn’t get Rove; we got Libby. And we accepted this sacrificial offering with the enthusiasm of a populace starved for accountability, prepared to endure the weight of the plow another year at the dangling of this pathetic carrot.
Inarguably someone was, at long last, made to answer for the contemptible crime of outing a CIA operative as a matter of retribution for her husband’s accurate denouncement of the president’s false allegation that Saddam Hussein sought large quantities of uranium from Africa.
Yes, it is true that Libby was not technically charged with the leaking of Ms. Wilson’s name but rather of obstructing the subsequent investigation into this treasonable crime. Nonetheless, he stood as the only person charged (and convicted by a jury of his peers) in connection with the incident.
Now, heedless of approval ratings at irrevocable lows, Mr. Bush, a second term president mindless of succession and without the necessary check of concern for public opinion, saw fit to commute Mr. Libby’s prison sentence – a term of 30-months; well within federal sentencing guidelines.
Mr. Bush feels the sentence is “excessive.”
Of course, the president was not ready to pardon Libby outright at this point, opting to hold a full pardon over Scooter’s head until just before the administration’s exeunt omnes in 2009.
This means that Mr. Libby – for the moment a convicted felon – is responsible only for a $250,000 fine, which, almost certainly, will be paid by the Libby Legal Defense Trust (a group of powerful conservatives whose goal is to make sure none of this obstruction of justice nonsense inconveniences “Scooter” in the least).
Incidentally, last year approximately 650,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana possession. Of those fortunate enough to avoid jail time, most were forced into treatment, put on probation and made to pay thousands of dollars in fines – and it is fair to assume the majority of those marijuana smokers did not have access to a legal defense trust supported by the likes of billionaire Steve Forbes and 2008 presidential hopeful Fred Thompson standing by, checkbook in hand, as Mr. Libby does.
Oddly enough, the federal sentencing guideline for the cultivation of any amount of marijuana under 50 kilograms is remarkably similar to that which Mr. Libby faced: up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Yes, a man who grows a plant could quite easily find himself sentenced to the same prison term and fine as a man who has been convicted of lying to investigators and the FBI in order to cover up a treasonous act. The difference being, of course, when compared to Mr. Libby’s case, the man growing the marijuana would actually have to serve the sentence handed down.
Placing the crimes side by side by way of examination, the rational mind knows which is the greater cause for societal concern, which the more immediate threat to the safety of our country.
So where is Mr. Bush’s compassionate commutation or outright pardon in these cases of minor marijuana cultivation? Surely five years in the stir for growing pot is ‘excessive.’ Isn’t it?