At Long Last, Mr. Cheney


On June 5, Lewis "Scooter" Libby will face a probable prison sentence of around two years. He should not stand alone.

As the apparent fall guy in the perjury case over the outing of a CIA agent, he deserves a personal and forthright appearance by his former boss, Vice President Cheney.

Cheney's fingerprints are all over the attempt to discredit and smear the reputations of Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame. It's not a secret that Cheney was furious about their actions.

Libby did not testify on his own behalf at the trial. His defense team did not think it was necessary, or he knew too much about others involved and did not want to perjure himself again.

Now Cheney needs to step up and say more in Libby's behalf other than argue that he is a fine man and a good public servant. Libby deserves more from the vice president.

The presiding judge in the formal sentencing should hear directly from Cheney–in person and not in writing. Don't tell me that a vice president can't do this. He can and should.

Perhaps Libby is willing to fall on his sword, accept a couple of years in confinement, and watch Cheney head toward a plush retirement in a few homes he owns.

Cheney is a bewildering figure. He is best known to many of us as the administration official who insisted there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and al Quada.

The problem is that it is flat wrong, but he keeps repeating it over and over as if he can wish it as true.

Cheney should at least be willing to put in that personal plea for Libby before his former chief of staff is led away to jail.

As Joseph Welch, the articulate lawyer, said in the Army-McCarthy hearings so long ago: "Have you no decency, sir, at long last?"