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well, and where is it written that life is fair?

So. Scooter Libby is guilty. Hurray. I mean, he broke the law, and I am happy that he has been convicted for breaking the law. I hope the conviction stands, I hope he is sentenced to a year in prison, and I hope he serves it.

That said, I admit that I feel a bit of sympathy for the man. I mean, all the criminal acts the man undertook were either (a) at the specific instructions of the Vice-President of the United States, (2) with the knowledge and tacit consent of the Vice-President of the United States, or (iii) undertaken with good reason to believe that they were what the Vice-President of the United States wanted him to do, even if the VPotUS was not specifically aware of them. This doesn’t in any way excuse the crimes, but it does seem a bit unfair that he is prosecuted, convicted and (I hope) sentenced and (I hope) punished, while the aforementioned Vice-President of the United States is not.

Particularly at the beginning, where the VPotUS and architect of our national security program tells his Chief of Staff that it is in the interests of national security to leak a bit of classified information. I mean, yes, he oughtn’t have done it, but Our Only President had in fact granted his Vice-President substantial authority over classifying and declassifying state secrets. There’s a sense in which the difference between declassifying and leaking a piece of information is procedural. It’s a wrong sense, that fundamentally misinterprets the purpose and necessity of state secrets in the first place, but fine.

Later, though, when the leak has finally seeped through into the public awareness and now people are hunting for the leakers, Mr. Libby lied, perjured himself and obstructed justice.

Digression: why is perjury reflexive? You can’t perjure someone else, can you? But the verb seems to need a direct object (if that’s the right terminology), and there’s only one possible. It seems odd, though. End Digression

I assume that Mr. Libby was instructed to so obstruct, and he ought to have refused, and when he didn’t, he took on responsibility for the crime. Not sole responsibility, though. Even if Our Only Vice-President didn’t specifically instruct Mr. Libby to lie, he certainly knew that Mr. Libby was lying, and failed to correct that. And he is the Vice-President. That’s in addition to all the stuff we guessed and now know about the way the White House and the OVP work, in violation of any conceivable moral or ethical principle. I’m just talking about the crimes.

Let me repeat: I am happy that Mr. Libby has been convicted. I hope he gets sent up the proverbial, and frankly, the longer he is yarded the better. It won’t seem any more fair if he gets away with it, too. But it sure seems like there’s somebody missing from the dock.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,