Thursday, June 07, 2007

Scooter Libby's Halloween

Does Judge Reggie Walton have a heart of stone? Reading the sentencing letters written by Scooter Libby's friends, how could one not be moved? If a man can be judged by the friends he has, then it is difficult to look harshly on someone who numbers among his friends such stalwart men of impeccable reputations as Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Henry Kissinger, John Bolton, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith. (Vice President Dick Cheney did not get around to writing a letter for his former aide, but I'm sure he was very busy.)

It is beyond me how Judge Walton could ignore the pleadings of Henry Kissinger, for example, who wrote, "Having served in the White House and under pressure, I have seen how difficult it sometimes is to recall precisely a particular series of events." Just think of all the deeds that Kissinger has had to block from his mind and you can see that Libby's small lapses of memory were minor in comparison. Paul Wolfowitz wrote about how Libby worked late into the night to protect the identity of a covert CIA agent, whose name had not yet been leaked to Robert Novak. But there was no more affecting letter than the one written by Mary Matalin and signed by her husband James Carville, who apparently was so moved by Libby's plight that he was willing to sacrifice all credibility he will ever have with Democrats.

Matalin tells us of an occasion when she accompanied the Cheney family to one of the "undisclosed locations" they had to escape to in order to flee from the terrorists:

"One of my many enduring and endearing memories of Scooter is of his universal love of families. While on one of our early "undisclosed location" work trips (which were always driven by unfolding threatening events and were therefore unscheduled and unanticipated by our families and us), coincided with Halloween, which I am sure you know is the favorite event of most children's lives. The Cheney grandchildren were required to accompany us on this particular trip, yanked out of school and away from their much-awaited night of Trick or Treating. Their disappointment at being trapped in the desolate, nothing-to-do location was heartbreaking, as was our own, missing our small children that night. While I was working up a pretty annoying whine, Scooter flew into action, finding treats, creating costumes and arranged an ad-hoc trick-or-treat and Halloween games for the kids. This was no small undertaking given our removed location and minimal resources. It took hours of creative effort on his part. And when the little ones finally trotted off to bed full of candy and stories, Scooter went back to work, as was always the case, late into the night."

It is an image I will not soon forget: Scooter Libby in a remote military installation scaring children. Matalin does not tell us what kind of Halloween costumes Libby found or what kind of scary stories he told, but I already have a picture in my mind. I imagine Matalin in a witch costume, Carville dressed as a scarecrow and Libby playing Death, dressed in long black robes and a black hood with only his eyes visible when the candlelight hit them in the dark caverns of the secret underground military installation. Dick Cheney probably wore a Dick Cheney mask.

How the children must have screamed with delight as he regaled them with frightening tales of the torture chambers of petty dictators, mushroom clouds in American cities and liberals hiding under their beds. I can almost hear their piercing screams when he shouted, "It's coming from inside the house!" It must have brought him great joy to see them shiver with fright as he told them of villages reduced to rubble, burying some of the inhabitants alive while others dragged themselves through the destruction like zombies with missing limbs and eyeballs hanging from their sockets. Or perhaps he read Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart," looking slightly mad as he told them of the murdered man's heart beating "louder! louder! louder! LOUDER!" and the guilty protagonist's agonized confession: "Dissemble no more! I admit the deed! -- tear up the planks! -- here, here! -- it is the beating of his hideous heart!"

As he looked into the eyes of the children, giddy with terror, munching on the bits of candy he was able to scrape up from military rations, I'm sure he thought of the poor little children halfway across the world in Iraq who would not be celebrating Halloween that night because they lived under the yoke of a dictator in a benighted society that knew nothing of the joys of Halloween. They lived in a place where children were deprived of the pleasure of going from house to house once a year to beg for candy or of being scared to death by tales of terror. When he went back to work that night, I'm sure he toiled with a renewed vigor, as he dedicated himself selflessly to his mission--to bring Halloween to all the children of the world.

"Kids are the most true and honest evaluators of people," Matalin wrote in her letter, documenting the devastating toll the prosecution of "Mr. Scooter," as her children called him, has had on her family. I hope that Judge Walton will reconsider the harsh sentence he has imposed on Scooter Libby or that President Bush will pardon him. I hope that they will think of the children.

Photo by A Look Askance.

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16 comments:

Doodle Bean said...

Mr. Swift,

Thank you once again for pointing out the elegant principles in our confusing little world!

Of course someone who can organize a kid's Halloween party would never ever ever ever ever ever EVER EVAH betray the public's trust in its government.

Without you, I'd be ever so confused all the time.

Quiddity said...

I read that letter by Matalin (& Carville) and was amazed. Thanks for giving it exposure.

darrelplant said...

What I want to know is, what happened to Jon Swift's letter to the Judge? Did the dog eat it or something? Isn't it time it saw the light of day? Better late than never, I say. What?

jurassicpork said...

What is with this jihad against the rich, powerful and limitlessly privileged? Is nothing sacred? First Duke Cunningham, then Bob Ney, Tom Noe, Jack Abramoff, the persecution of Tom DeLay, Kucinich's articles of impeachment of Dick Cheney, the witchhunt involving virtually the entire Ohio GOP, the hounding of Paul Wolfowitz and Alberto Gonzales, now Scooter Libby.

THEN... Then, I read today that Paris Hilton's sentence got bumped back up to its original Draconian 45 days because she chose house detention in her 2700 square foot mansion.

My God, people, is nothing sacred, anymore?!

OutOfContext said...

Mary Matalin is simply brilliant. It's no wonder she was so far up the Cheney administration.
Most real Americans are quick to invoke the words "nine-eleven"--We can't say them enough as far as I'm concerned. Here, Mary Matalin is able to evoke the spirit of September eleventh without actually writing the words. "Hmm...why were the in those undisclosed locations?" thinks the judge. "Ah yes, we were under attack. Scary soulless people were after us. I could sure use some candy." Scooter was a hero in hiding. And then there is the metaphor of the War On Terror as Halloween, and Scooter organizing the chaos, making it right, rolling up his sleeves and getting back to work. It is subtle and elegantly expressed. Well, done Mary.

Phydeaux Speaks said...

Mr. Swift,

I am so glad you're back "on the air" exposing the horrors that today's conservatives face in today's world.

As always, a joy to read.

Anonymous said...

"It is an image I will not soon forget: Scooter Libby in a remote military installation scaring children."

This ought to rank up there with some of your best work!

willis said...

On a completely different subject, It didn't go unnoticed that you were first to comment on the subject of the day over at 6MB blog...It was well said.

Anonymous said...

It is SO great to have you back. I was having withdrawal symptoms without your incites to help me "get" this crazy world.

Mission Man said...

Thanks Mr. Swift -- there's now no chance of me getting any sleep in the near future.....

sunrunner said...

I was really hoping that you would comment on Alan Simpson's letter. In my opinion it was the very best of them all. As Simpson made a compelling argument that Bush should pardon--well strike that--the judge should to easy on Scooter because he is so Loyal and such a good soldier.

alton said...

I found pictures of the Halloween costumes.

2004's Scariest Halloween Costumes

Anonymous said...

Libby lied under oath. Doesn’t Bush think much of an oath to God? I guess not.

Poetry said...

By the way, what is Cheney’s Borg Identity? FUtus of Borg. In Borg lore FUtus is often depicted as offering the Borg symbol of unity to the masses.

Who else in the administration has a Borg identity? Why there’s Alberto Gonzalez whose Borg identity is Refutus which means: It’s not my fault.

What about Bush himself? He is known as BigDoofus of Borg. Well actually BigDoofus of half wit because the Borg refused to give Bush a Borg identity. Even the Borg failed to find a brain in that head. Since they could find no brain, the Borg implants failed to take root in BigDoofus of halfwit. Nevertheless, the Borg in an uncharacteristic show of compassion allowed Bush to glue “falsies”—fake Borg implants onto his person after he let it be known that he thought Borg implants “looked cool.”


Note there are other Borg identities out there.


Rush is known as BigGlutus of Borg.

Ann is known as ShrillShrewtus of Borg.


All of those senators who are crying over their recent losses in the immigration battles are collectively known as BooHootus of Borg.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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Madelyn said...

For my part every person ought to go through it.

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