President Bush has commuted the prison term of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, facing 30 months in prison after a federal court convicted him of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators.
Earlier Monday, a federal appeals court unanimously ruled that Libby could not delay his sentence.
The charges relate to the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity.
Bush released a statement that said that the sentence handed down on Libby of two and a half years was excessive. This is coming from the man known for frying as many people as he could when he was governor of Texas. But never underestimate the ability for all "values" and "tough on crime" and "national security" rhetoric to fly out the window if it hits too close to someone in power.
Remember Shaka Sankofa who was executed almost seven years ago today in the state of Texas? He was convicted with almost no evidence and garnered the support of the UN, Amnesty International, the Reform Jews, several European counties' governments, among other organizations and people. He was seventeen when the alleged crime was committed, and the case came to highlight many of the the injustices of the US criminal justice system against Black men.
Well, George W. Bush was listed by Sankofa as one of his requested witnesses. And guess who didn't show up?
So a punishment so horrific that one of the men behind it wouldn't even show up when it was imposed on a 17-year-old, whether he was innocent or not, isn't considered excessive next to a two and a half year jail sentence for someone convicted of covering up a conspiracy to put national security at risk for political gain?
To add even more contradiction to this, this Administration has been harping on the nuclear threat that is Iran for years now. It's even the reason that Bush says he wants to build that missile defense system in Poland. Well, if you're willing to spend an inordinate amount of money on a missile defense system against a country, shouldn't someone who covers for someone else's outing of the agent in charge of investigating that country's nuclear program at least serve some time?
So that's it. It's been over for me for a while, but now every time Bush comes on the TV telling us about all the liberties we need to give up and all the people of color who need to be killed for our security, I think it would be appropriate just to burst out laughing. This is a man who doesn't care at all even about his definition of national security.
And every time one of those "tough on crime" folks starts talking from both sides of his/her/hir mouth about using prisons to deter crime, all we have to remember was how someone who broke the law and ostensibly put the country at risk of a nuclear attack was being too excessively punished with two and a half years.
Considering how many people are serving time for nonviolent drug offenses, it's hard to calculate a proportionate sentence for this man. Then again, to calculate that sentence in our criminal justice system, you'd have to subtract a whole lot of years for "rich, well-connected, white man privilege", and maybe the answer would be "zero".
Charles Gibson on ABC News tonight asked White House correspondant Martha Raddatz if Bush commuted Libby's sentence because his poll numbers were already so low, and Raddatz actually started laughing. But this was the president who received more votes than any other presidential candidate in the history of the country, so I guess we know where we stand.