Speaking of war crimes, nobody in the Bush administration has done anything on a Karadzic scale, but we've had a number of clear violations of domestic and international law -- most notably on the issue of torture. Under the circumstances, you've got to think it's pretty considerate of conservative lawyers to be urging Bush to offer preemptive pardons to his lawbreaking subordinates, since without pardons they could probably get a lot of work doing legal defense for these crooks.

From Bush's perspective, however, pardons make a lot of sense. The relevant precedent would be his dad, who pardoned people for breaking the law preemptively in order to prevent any investigation from muddying his reputation too badly. Judging from the coverage of the Marc Rich pardon and the Scooter Libby commutation, I feel like Bush would be hailed as a hero by the mainstream for ensuring that nobody is called to account for his administration's crimes. Basically, some small-time cash-for-favors is the worst thing in the world (big-time cash-for-favors is the legislative process at work), but wholesale violations of the constitution are just a policy fight.

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