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Fri

23

Feb

2007

Rightwing Perjury Doublespeak
Friday, 23 February 2007 14:45
by Larry C Johnson

Boy, what a difference six years makes.  The Wall Street Journal online edition shed crocodile tears today over the suffering of poor Scooter Libby.  The Journal lamented:
The trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is the closest version of a Red Queen trial this country has had in a long time. One says that knowing it might start a stampede from past defendants laying claim to the most upside-down prosecution. . . . The trial of Scooter Libby in Washington, the national capital of illogic, has been exemplary. In December 2003, the prosecutor purports a crime has been committed by revealing a "covert" CIA agent's identity to the press--despite knowing then what the outside world learned nearly three years later--that the revealer of the agent was a State Department official, Richard Armitage. With the "whodunnit" solved on day one, the prosecution follows the Red Queen's script by taking the nation on a useless, joyless ride through the opaque looking-glass of Washington journalism.
Somebody track down the author of the editorial, Daniel Henniger, and let him know that Libby is charged with PERJURY and OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE.  Henninger must be a new guy and completely unaware or misinformed about the Wall Street Journal's stand on issues of PERJURY and OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE.  Yes sirree.  The Wall Street Journal certainly sang a different tune way back in 2001.

Reacting to Bill Clinton's complaint in Esquire Magazine that his Administration had been repeatedly investigated (Whitewater, Travelgate, and Filegate) and nothing illegal was uncovered, the Wall Street Journal countered:

Here's one: lying to a federal grand jury. Perjury by a sitting President, not only the chief law enforcement officer of the nation, but sworn to preserve and protect the Constitution. Mr. Clinton will leave office in a few weeks, but his campaign for exoneration is in full swing--in the face of history and in the face of an ongoing inquiry by Independent Counsel Robert Ray. Mr. Ray says he will move swiftly in deciding whether to seek an indictment for perjury in the Lewinsky matter after the President leaves office. . . . But as demonstrated in his Esquire remarks above, and elsewhere, Mr. Clinton is making magnanimity anything but easy. He is manifestly guilty of perjury in his Paula Jones testimony, but even today clings to the "what the meaning of 'is' is" defense. So consider Mr. Ray's dilemma: If he should decide to give the President a pass in terms of a larger public interest, the President will surely then claim his preposterous defense was vindicated, that he was the victim. This continuing corruption of our national discourse certainly serves no larger public interest.
Let's get this straight.  Lying about a blow job is an impeachable offense.  But lying about the leak of a covert agent's secret identity is silliness?

Here's my position--perjury, regardless of what you are covering up is wrong.  That was a position I thought that genuine conservatives touted.  But now I know that is wrong.  After watching the spectacle of apologists for Scooter Libby insist "no harm, no foul" we are now asked to conclude that charges of perjury and obstruction of justice are meaningless.  If that's the case we owe Bill Clinton a big apology and the tax payers deserve a rebate for any money spent to impeach a President over an act (perjury) that the rightwing and neocons now concede is simply abuse by an overzealous prosecutor.

We cannot change history.  President Clinton ultimately took responsibility for his actions and was punished.  The future is before us.  If Scooter Libby is found guilty will he be man enough to take responsibility?  I doubt it. 
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