I Don’t Think Bush Will Pardon Libby

Brian Zick

First of all, what would Bush get from a pardon? What benefit would he derive? Not that he isn't the kinda guy who would do it just because he can. And then he would get to say "nyah nyah nyah" to all his critics. But in the grand scheme of things whereby Bush gets to pleasure himself from giving the finger to critics, a pardon to Libby just wouldn't give him much return on his sneer investment.Moreover, Bush has gotta be pretty pissed at Libby - and his boss the Big Dick - for all the trouble they've caused. The Iraq war was the brainchild of Cheney and Rumsfeld. Bush was notoriously uncurious about the world when he entered the White House. He may not have been able to find Iraq on a map. But he is a megalomaniac, and Cheney simply sold him on the appeal of being a "Great Wartime President", and how that would look nice in the history books. To a dullard whose primary care in the world is his high opinion of himself, it was an easy sell. The where and the why and even the what didn't matter to Bush; all he wanted was to bask in the glow of his greatness, and he was an easy mark for Cheney's flattery.But the war in Iraq - being a hideously abominable idea from the get go - hasn't worked out at all the way Cheney had promised him it would. Cheney - and his butt boy Libby - are main causes of Bush's grief. And they compounded the aggravation with their monumental and arrogant stupidity in exposing a CIA agent, for no reason except that Cheney got pissy. Getting pissy like that is Bush's private reserve; his underlings usurped a preogative and then fucked things up awful. And it is not in Bush's character to reward people who make him look bad.And, frankly, Bush could actually turn the Libby conviction into a plus, by rolling out the platitudes about out how "the sytem works." And he can even use Libby as a sacrificial foil for his critics, by staking the high ground claim that although Scooter is a "well-intenioned and honorable man," he made a serious mistake and now he must be held accountable for his wrongdoing. That's A+ public relations material.But I also suspect there may be some far more practical reasons no pardon will be forthcoming. Patrick Fitzgerald ain't no moron. When Fitzgerald took the gig, he was certainly well acquainted with the Iran/contra investigation of Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh. And how it ended with the Christmas Eve pardons by Bush daddy, to Caspar Weinberger et al. Fitz has known all along that a pardon was going to be an issue to deal with. Does anybody think Patrick Fitzgerald didn't plan for the contingency? And perhaps devise a preemptive strategy?Folks will recall that, at the time just prior to Rove getting let off the hook, Fitz had meetings with Jim Sharp, Bush's lawyer. Folks have guessed, but nobody knows exactly what was discussed. The now-famous "cover Scooter's ass too, not just Rove's" note from Cheney, revealed in the Libby trial, has "this Pres" crossed out. Bush himself was implicated.Moreover, Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. The President may well have legal declassification authority, but purposefully declassifying information that reveals the identity of a CIA agent, and thereby puts said agent at risk of harm, arguably constitutes an abuse of authority under color of law. A pardon to Libby might be construed by a prosecutor as further abuse of authority, by a President complicit in the original felonious activity. And once out of office, Bush will be subject to indictment like any other citizen.A tenuous proposition? Does Bush want to take that chance? For a guy who screwed up and made Bush look bad? And although Fitz has said he doesn't anticipate any further charges, he hasn't closed up shop.I'm just pulling all this outta my ass, of course. Sheer unadulterated speculation. But Bush is a coward, and Patrick Fitzgerald scares the holy shit out of him. And it simply stands to reason that Fitz would have considered crafting some means to protect his prosecution from the very easily foreseen pardon potential.

In These Times August 2022 Cover
Subscribe and Save 66%

Less than $1.67 an issue