I didn't get around to posting about the commutation of Libby's sentence at this blog. I was surprised that I couldn't muster any outrage about it. It was too expected. I felt resigned and had this sense of deja vu I couldn't quite put my finger on until I read this post. Read it in full, it's short, but here's the key grafs.
I don't know if it counts if you only said it in a bar and never wrote it down anywhere, but back in 1988, when it became plain that absolutely nobody was going to pay a price -- criminal, civil, or in the case of the senior Bush, political -- for the staggering mess that was Iran-Contra, I was in the late, lamented Eliot Lounge in Boston, chewing it over with a friend who'd reported extensively on the scandal. I told him that the country was going to pay a fearsome price one day for having let these crimes go unpunished. That the whole business lodged something malignant deep in the government that needed to be roughly, and bloodily, excised.
Tell me that Bush presidencies don't invariably come down to buying the silence of the people who can put you away. Tell me Alberto Gonzales isn't Edwin Meese, except less competent. Tell me that Elliott Abrams, John Negroponte, Michael Ledeen, and the rest of the Iran-Contra Legends Tour ever would have found their bloody hands back on the levers of government if we'd done what we should have done as a nation 20 years ago. Jesus, even Ghorbanifar's back in the news.
That said, what happened with Scooter Libby this week didn't surprise me at all, or even horrify me. I've seen this movie before.
It was one of those slap your forehead moments. Of course. This wasn't Watergate. It wasn't Clinton. It's like Iran-Contra all over again. And it's the same gang of thugs who are running the show behind the scenes. Small wonder we're in such a mess.