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March 7, 2007

Editorial: Walter Reed and 'Scotter' Libby

Editorial: Walter Reed and 'Scotter' Libby



Opinion: The Lebanon (Ind.) Reporter



What links the appalling conditions at Walter Reed Medical Hospital and the conviction of Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, for obstruction of justice?

Both are symptomatic of the deep contempt with which the Bush administration views most Americans.

The on-going scandal at Walter Reed Army Medical Center is a symptom of the disease sickening the administration. Conditions at Reed, supposedly the pinnacle of U.S. military medicine, were physically repulsive; the bureaucratic mess facing wounded soldiers was nothing less than immoral.

President Bush, as commander in chief, is ultimately responsible for the conditions at Walter Reed. He’s “the decider.” He appointed the Veterans Administration secretary. He’s the boss.

Can the administration’s contempt for the public really be so profound?

Yes. And it means that Libby’s conviction should be the beginning, not the end, of an investigation into the administration’s conduct.

Libby is to be sentenced June 5 on one count of obstruction of justice; two counts of perjury and one count of lying to the FBI. He faces up to 30 years in prison.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald told reporters after Libby was convicted that the investigation would not continue.

Fitzgerald has earned a rest. But the federal government does not lack for investigators — nor does Congress.

One of the jurors who convicted Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, Dennis Collins, told reporters Libby’s claim to have forgotten all about Valerie Plame were contradicted by evidence Libby had been told about Plame at least nine times, according to The Associated Press.

Jurors had another question, Collins said:

“Where’s (Karl) Rove? Where are these other guys?”

Rove, President Bush’s political advisor, was one of two sources who leaked Plame’s CIA-agent identity, the AP said. Libby’s lawyers had said by Libby and Cheney would be witnesses — and Rove was a candidate for swearing on a Bible that he would tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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