News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Libby commutation intended to hide executive misdeeds

To The Daily: It was near the height of the Watergate scandal when Martha Mitchell, wife of Attorney General John Mitchell, told the news media should her husband go to prison that she will expose the wrongs of White House officials. Thirty-four years later, as Lewis “Scooter” Libby, former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, left the federal courthouse after his guilty verdict, his wife spoke faintly if her husband goes to prison others will follow. Mrs. Libby is no Mrs. Mitchell by any stretch of the imagination. However, these two wives knew of an evil connection in the executive branch of the federal government. History repeats itself.

From mere observation, President Bush had to commute Libby’s sentence in order to squash further media coverage and close the curtains of White House involvement. Libby may have been the “scapegoat,” but the suspected image of a cover-up will continue through a congressional investigation of U.S. attorneys’ dismissals.

Some citizens have come to Mr. Libby’s defense, saying he had not committed a crime in the Valerie Plame “leak” case. Perjury or lying is a violation of the law, of which the accused, upon conviction, is subjected to prison time. I was taught that all deceptions, the intentional overstatements, suppression of truth, misleading information, exaggerated impressions, erroneous facts and misrepresenting documents fall within the sphere of lying and falsehood.

President Bush, who speaks much of his Christian faith and favors the commutation of a former, friendly staffer, should rise above partisanship, go beyond polarization, and leap over marginalization of the American people by pardoning his political enemies, such as Don Siegelman and Richard Scrushy. Now, that would be real Christianity in action (Bush following his spiritual leader), but it won’t happen in the current administration.

Isaiah J. Ashe

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