Friday, March 9, 2007

A History of the End of the World

A week ago Wednesday I left on a six-mile run at noon from in front of the Georgetown Law School. (I work in a building nearby.) I ran to the Lincoln Memorial and back again, running up Capitol Hill on the return trip to get in some hillwork. I was gone about 52 minutes, an 8:40 pace, not too bad.

As I ran down Constitution Avenue past the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. District Courthouse, I saw a large press contingent lounging around out front in the cold, gripped in the throes of ennui. This told me without resort to a radio or the Internet that there still was no verdict in the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff for the Vice President. Scooter was on trial for lying and obstructing the investigation into who illegally outed CIA operative Valerie Plame in 2003.

Plame was exposed in the press and her career destroyed shortly after her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, had poked the bear by stating publicly that "some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons programs was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat." Wilson had dared to criticize the phony WMD bugaboo propounded by the White House that led us to ensnare the cream of our military in the bottomless morass of Iraq, so the crew that "won" the White House "twice" meted out some of their special brand of ham-handed retribution. They retaliated against his wife by outing her, using the press corps as their dupes.

Scooter’s jury had been out for a few days by then. Courthouse convention says that if a jury comes back too fast, or takes too long, it’s bad for the prosecution. At the time of my noontime run, the abbreviated period was over and deliberations weren't stretching out yet, so it still looked like a conviction was possible.

But then last week stretched past the weekend. The jury was out too long. First Florida, then Ohio. Was the administration going to get away with Plamegate too?

And then this week, the denouement. After long and careful deliberation, the jurors’ unanimous judgment of Scooter was guilty, guilty, not guilty, guilty and guilty. Sounds pretty guilty to me. Maybe the system works after all, eventually.

Some jurors wondered why Karl and that great bird hunter, the Vice President, weren’t in the dock alongside the liar, obstructionist and perjurer already there.

How in the world did these people come to Washington?

I have a distant relative who was barely of voting age in 2000. He lived in Florida then. He told me he voted for Dubya but later regretted it because, he said, he had been "misled."

He is now a party animal living in an east coast city. Whenever I see him, I look at him in wonderment because you could say that he is one of only 537 people in the whole world who, by their vote for Dubya in 2000 in closely contested Florida, immeasurably altered American history, probably for the worse. These 537 persons, out of billions in the world, undoubtedly changed world history, maybe catastrophically so. It's possible their votes will lead to the destruction of the personal liberties enjoyed in our great country for the last two and a quarter centuries. They gave us Dubya and his minions, like the Great Bird Hunter, Karl, Scooter and "Quaint" Alberto.

Remember I left on my mid-day run that started this entry from in front of Georgetown Law School? I see its law students walking around practically every weekday. They all pretty much look like they'll make typical lawyers. You know, full of ideals until corrupted by money. Alberto went to Harvard Law and he is different. He gave us torture memos, rendering and indefinite incarceration without access to courts. What in the world do they teach those law students at Harvard?


Danny said...

thanks for stopping by. i appreciate the "coming out of the closet"! (and do you really stop by ATM's in races???)

jeanne said...

Wow, that's the most succinct and coherent summary of the whole affair that I've read yet. It's just screaming Hollywood!