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Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Libby scoots out of jail
So President Bush has commuted the prison sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, who was found guilty of lying to prosecutors who were trying to determine if top Bush administration officials leaked the identity of former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson. In light of this event, two "Examined Life" items I've written for Ideas are worth revisiting, I think:
* "The pardoner's tale" quoted a Swedish anthropologist who argued that presidential pardons -- even of Thanksgiving turkeys -- serve to establish a leader's undemocratic power to decide when and where "normality and legality are suspended."
* "Naming names" was an October 2003 item about Barbara Bush's fierce words ("traitorous") for those who'd reveal the name of a CIA agent. Alas, like so many "Examined Life" items, it does not appear to be online. So I've posted it here.
Also well worth checking out: A recent post by Scott Eric Kaufman, the prolific intellectual blogger (at Acephalous and The Valve), who has culled through the '98 and '99 record (i.e., during Monicagate) for the best quotes, from conservatives, about the importance of prosecuting perjurors to the fullest extent of the law.
Here are some delicious examples:
* Robert Bork and James Rosen, writing in the National Review: "Lying under oath strikes at the heart of our system of justice and the rule of law. It does not matter in the least what the perjury is about."
* Representative Henry Hyde of Illinois, who from 1985 until 1991 was the ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Intelligence: "If citizens are allowed to lie with impunity -- or encourage others to tell false stories or hide evidence -- judges and juries cannot reach just results."
* Roger Kimball, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled "Leftists Sacrifice Truth on the Altar of Friendship": "In the culture wars that have been transforming American society since the 1960s, truth has been a conspicuous casualty: not only particular truths but also allegiance to the very ideal of truth as an indispensable component of any just and moral life. The competing, countercultural ideal holds that loyalty to the personal trumps loyalty to the truth...."
Click here for the rest.
"Some people 'vent,'" explains Kaufman, a UC Irvine English grad student, via email. "I 'vent' by researching."