Distinguished?

More

I guess I'm glad that after relentlessly propagandizing on Scooter Libby's behalf, Fred Hiatt has decided that commuting the entirely of Libby's sentence was the wrong thing to do, but I would have traded that small concession to reality for them not making reference to Libby's "long and distinguished record of public service." What record? What distinction? As best I can tell, Libby has done exactly two things in government service -- he's worked for Paul Wolfowitz and he's worked for Dick Cheney.

Wolfowitz performed so poorly at the job of Deputy Secretary of Defense that George W. Bush decided to bump him to the World Bank in order to get him out of his administration, from which post he was later fired due to a combination of corruption and mismanagement. Hilariously, of Libby's two patrons Wolfowitz is the less embarrassing one. Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Libby were all, of course, intimately involved in the fraudulent selling of the Iraq War and the idiotic "planning" for the post-war occupation of Iraq. In their most noteworthy previous collaboration, Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Libby all collaborated on the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance that proved to be so addled that President George H.W. Bush disavowed it.

There's a record of service here, but it's not distinguished. Indeed, at 11-12 years it's not even all that long. Joe Wilson had a long career of distinguished service. Valerie Plame had a long career of distinguished service. Libby had a medium length career that mostly lacked distinction and involved the occasional -- but extremely accute -- lapse into catastrophe, before he found himself resigning because he'd been caught breaking the law.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Time JFK Called the Air Force to Complain About a 'Silly Bastard'

51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In