Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Issue of Pardons

Speculation is beginning about GWB's use of pardons at the end of his term. Numerous members of the adminis- tration, past and present and himself included, are in serious legal jeopardy once the Torture Party is out of office.

Will Bush issue pardons? It's hard to imagine he wouldn't.

But to whom?

My guess is there are some scoundrels who will demand preemptive pardons. Cheney, Addington, and Rove will clearly be in this group. They'll have no compunctions about it, feel no shame. They'll see it as a necessity brought on by the curse of living in the same world as lesser beings. They'll see themselves as Ollie North martyrs.

There are some who will beg for pardons. Alberto Gonzalez, Donald Rumsfeld, John Yoo, and Doug Feith would fit in this category. They're out of power now, and don't have the access they once had.

Pardons seem likely for both of the above categories.

But there might be another category. Suppose there were actually members of the Bush Administration whose moral compasses didn't point downward. Suppose there were people who thought, "Oh, my God. These people are lunatics, what should I do?" And suppose they decided, "I need to stay right where I am, because if I leave, I'll surely be replaced by someone with no character at all."

And by staying on, they made themselves vulnerable to prosecution, as well. Powell? Ashcroft? Rice? It would take a mind reader to know for sure.

The same character that caused the best to make themselves vulnerable might keep them from requesting, or accepting, a pardon. How's that for bitter irony?

Finally, where do you stop? At what level of the bureaucracy? At what level of malfeasance? And how do you keep the next level -- the first unpardoned level -- from going before the Senate investigating committees and singing their songs?

It's a dilemma.

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