Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Jail time for Scooter Libby? How about instead . . .

So Ted Wells, Scooter Libby's attorney, has offered the predictable post-verdict statement that his client remains "totally innocent and that he did not do anything wrong."

A jury of seven men and four women, all of whom were insulated from the cesspool that is the relationship between the political and media elite in Washington, thought differently. And correctly. The comments of various members of the jury after the verdict's announcement indicate that the jurors took their responsibility very seriously, and arrived at their decision after careful deliberation of the evidence before them. Sure, they felt that Libby was being hung out to dry on behalf of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. But Cheney and Rove's roles in the Wilson affair were not before them. The only matter for the jury to consider was whether Libby obstructed justice and lied to the FBI, federal prosecutors and the grand jury about his role in going after the Wilsons. An post-trial interview with juror Denis Collins is available here; it makes for very interesting reading.

Libby currently faces a jail term of up to 25 years and a possible fine of up to $1.25 million. Neither will happen. In lieu of jail time, I propose that Scooter Libby be sentenced to work at the Walter Reed hospital in Washington, D.C., for 60 hours per week for a period equal to the duration of the Iraq War retroactive to March 2003. On weekends, Libby can work with other Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans who are transitioning back into civil society. Libby can attend group therapy sessions so that he can explain why these men and women went to war and lost their limbs and, in some cases, their minds. Libby can work as an aid to physical therapists and mental health professionals, provide child-care for the children of military families who are now destitute and run errands for single parents who have spouses serving abroad. Libby can offer a much greater payment to society for his transgressions than hanging around Club Fed for two or three years. Better yet, he can live on the Walter Reed grounds under military supervision.

Lamenting the verdict of Libby in what it called a scandal about "nothing," the Washington Post editorial page this morning referred to Libby as a "skilled" and "long-respected" public servant. The Post's position is no surprise; it is always reluctant to marshal serious criticism of powerful political figures because they travel in the same social circles as elite journalists. For the most part, the Post views itself as part of the governing class, not an oppositional force (the outstanding recent reporting by Anne Hull and Dana Priest on Walter Reed is a rare exception). But, taking the Post editorial page at its word, is there any better way for a "skilled" and "long-respected" public servant like Libby to repay society than to put him in a position to really, really, really . . . support the troops?

1 comment:

Laura l said...

Very funny: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDaRFf7Cd6M

That juror in the Libby trial asked the right question: where's Karl?