Clarice Feldman responds to the appalling Libby verdict with a riff upon this week’s Rome episode:
In this week’s episode of Rome (a superb HBO series which increasingly reminds me of the Nation’s Capital), Servilia, whose son was killed in a power grab, knelt before the door of manipulative Attia, mother of Octavian and lover of Marc Anthony, the two men responsible, calling out in a haunting cry,
“Attia of the Julii, I call for justice.”
She did so because the unavailing legal system was broken, and curses (which were taken seriously in those days) were the one remaining way most people had to redress grave wrongs.
I call for justice for Scooter Libby because he has had none in this ridiculous matter…
This entire process has been an outrage from beginning to end.
How preposterous is it to watch Nancy Pelosi strutting about the forum today-her record filled with appointments like William Jefferson’s to head Homeland Security and John Conyers to head the Judiciary? A Speaker who has the chutzpah to say,
“Today’s guilty verdicts are not solely about the acts of one individual. The testimony unmistakably revealed — at the highest levels of the Bush Administration – a callous disregard in handling sensitive national security information and a disposition to smear critics of the war in Iraq.”
And I explode with laughter at the Cassius-like Kerry who sneered,
“This verdict brings accountability at last for official deception and the politics of smear and fear…. This trial revealed a no-holds barred White House attack machine aimed at anyone who stood in the way of their march to war with Iraq. It is time for President Bush to live up to his own promises and hold accountable anyone else who participated in this smear. It is also well past time for Vice President Cheney, who according to the testimony was protected by Scooter Libby’s lies, to finally acknowledge his role in this sordid episode.”
Sordid the episode is, but not because of anything Libby did. And “a troubling picture” of Washington it is-but not of this Administration. The Bush crowd is guilty only of terminal naiveté and the foolish idea that high standards of probity will ever beat the opposition’s utter unscrupulousness and willingness to misuse the legal system to their own partisan ends, even if it means the ruination of an innocent and capable man and enormous hardship to his family.
The Rome metaphor certainly fits the corruption of the political processes of today’s American Republic, and invites the question: how soon before our own Octavian arrives?