I'm a bit behind-hand with this, but someone sent me this
regarding the Scooter Libby affair and the Bush administration generally, and someone else told me she thought it was the best speech she'd ever heard. I was less than impressed myself, as I find much of this kind of American grandstanding acutely embarrassingly more than anything else.
To my mind, the Scooter Libby ‘pardon’ doesn’t so much expose Bush’s corruption as it exposes a glaring flaw in the US political system. As one US pundit pointed out, the Clinton pardons at the end of his incumbency were also sleazy. The bleedingly obvious question is surely why Presidents have been given the power to over-rule judicial decisions. Does it happen anywhere else in the world, outside of dictatorships? I know that governments have leaned on the judiciary to review decisions, usually under pressure from a public wanting them to stick to their law and order agenda, but no government in Australia has ever stepped in and directly changed or reduced a sentence. The idea just seems outrageous to me.
I just wonder where accountability comes in with the US political system. Take the Iraqi death toll due to the US invasion, which has been estimated so variously, from more than 600,000 to as little as a few thousand. When Bush actually gave a figure in response to questioning on this matter, his figure was around 30,000. From all I could gather, nobody asked him where he got this figure from, or what the basis of the estimate was. I tried to find something out through the news agencies, but couldn't turn up a thing. Again it seems to me outrageous that a head of state [of all people] can get away with apparently plucking figures out of the air in such a deadly serious matter. It happens in Australia too, I admit, but not so much as in the US. Their head of state seems to be quarantined from criticism and scrutiny [I mean in the sense of being directly questioned or challenged] to a shameful degree, and it makes me very uncomfortable. It goes along too with the immunity from prosecution that heads of state have enjoyed in the past, and are still enjoying. This really has to change.