Corridors of Power: Foreign Opinion on Libby, Iraq’s Invisible Embassy in the U.S. and More

Corridors of Power: Foreign Opinion on Libby, Iraq’s Invisible Embassy in the U.S. and More

Editor's Note: Corridors of Power is written by veteran foreign correspondent and World Politics Review Editor-at-Large Roland Flamini and appears every Monday.

FOREIGN OPINION ON LIBBY -- Lewis "Scooter" Libby is the Paris Hilton of Washington politics. Luckily for him, his local sheriff was more powerful than Hilton's sheriff, and the commuting of his sentence can't be reversed, as hers was. That view is scattered through foreign (and for that matter, domestic) editorial comment on President Bush's decision last week to quash Libby's jail time. Other points widely made were (1) that Vice-President Cheney's disgraced chief-of-staff had lied to the FBI and to the grand jury "without a doubt to protect his boss," as the French newspaper Le Monde put it, and (2) that Libby's trial was a metaphor for "an [Iraq] policy that had failed" and those who had launched it, as the French paper also said.

"In saving Libby from jail, [President] Bush was symbolically trying to salvage his Iraq policy from being shipwrecked," Le Monde said in an editorial. "To allow [Libby] to serve his sentence would have amounted to an admission that the [administration's] Iraq policy was based on a lie." The Spanish daily El Pais, commented that "in pardoning Libby, Bush was also pardoning all his superiors and collaborators, right up to Cheney and, ultimately, Bush himself."

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