Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Lock him up and throw away the key?

I'm bemused by all the sympathy for Lewis Libby now that he has been convicted. One actually should feel some measure of sympathy for him, and indeed for all convicted criminals, even murderers, if the consequences of the verdict will cause them to suffer, even deservedly. (As Libby no doubt will, at least psychically, if he goes to prison, even if it's relatively soft time.) Sympathy for human pain should be universal, whether or not one always acts on it.

The sympathy for Libby appears to be comparative, however, as if he, compared to other convicted felons, especially deserves a break. This view I cannot share.

The perjury and obstruction here were part of a conspiracy by a cabal to take the United States to war on false pretenses, and meanwhile to bully and besmirch all whistle-blowers and critics. It was part and parcel of the most gratuitous foreign policy disaster in U.S. history. (Vietnam, by contrast, was more or less bound to happen given the broader public mindset at the time, although it's true that the Gulf of Tonkin episode has elements in common with all this.) The harm these people have done is incalculable. And the conspirators, while hyping phony evidence about WMD, were prepared to undermine actual U.S. intelligence about WMD around the world by outing an important CIA specialist on this topic.


Anonymous said...

He won't get more than five years, because the sentences will run concurrently, not consecutively, according to the experts. Because he does not have a criminal history, he should not get the maximum five years.

Daniel Shaviro said...

I took out the last part of my comment because I agree with "anonymous" that normal sentencing rules should apply.

Anonymous said...

He should be pardoned for taking it on the chin for the administration