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Commutation of justice

I. LEWIS "Scooter" Libby was indicted by a grand jury. Convicted by a jury of his peers. Prosecuted by a Republican appointee and sentenced by another Republican appointee. An appeals board consisting of two Republicans and one Democrat voted unanimously that Libby should go to jail. Yet President Bush determined this sentence to be "excessive" and set Libby free ("Bush spares Libby from prison sentence," Page A1, July 3). In contrast, Mr. Bush has arbitrarily labeled hundreds of people, some of them American citizens, as "enemy combatants" and locked them up in an extra-territorial gulag, some for as long as five years. That's twice Libby's "excessive" prison term. The president has fought tooth and nail to deny these people access to the same legal system that convicted Libby. The message is clear. There are now two different legal systems in the United States. One for the wealthy and politically connected. Another for everyone else. The Constitution is officially dead. Thank you, Mr. Bush.

BRANDEN WOLNER
Auburn

ONCE AGAIN the Bush presidency proves itself unconcerned with, even spiteful of, the institutions that made this country great. Meanwhile, brave and honest men and women are dying in a foreign land for unknown cause and, at the very least, upholding their oaths and contracts with the nation. From obstructing justice to thwarting justice, when will this brazen administration be brought to book? I think we're all disgusted -- is it any wonder that presidential campaigns are unusually premature? -- and we can't wait to move on. But waiting out a problem is not the same as dealing with it. It is time to impeach President Bush.

ELIAS ROUSTOM
Wareham

I HAVE two words for those Democratic supporters wallowing in outrage and disgust over the president's commuting the prison sentence of Scooter Libby: Marc Rich. You know, the fugitive financier who was pardoned by President Clinton after his wife showered the president with money for his library.

Wake up. This isn't about Democrats and Republicans. Rather, these kinds of shenanigans in many ways are the manifold expression of what most Americans hate about Washington, a partisan place where there are few rules for those who make the rules for the rest of us.

BILL LABERIS
Holliston

IN "BUSH spares Libby from jail sentence," Michael Kranish and Bryan Bender wrote, "While the president has the right to pardon convicted criminals and commute prison sentences, such actions are rare."

I take issue with their assertion. The following is a list of presidential pardons from the last five presidents prior to Mr. Bush, according to the US Justice Department: Clinton, 396; Bush I, 74; Reagan, 393; Carter, 534; Ford, 382. I would not call such granting of pardons rare. How many pardons and commutations has Mr. Bush issued in the past six years?

ANGELOS KOKKINOS
Ayer

I THOUGHT I would be more outraged about Bush's commuting the prison sentence of the vice president's key adviser, Scooter Libby, one of the architects of the Iraq war. Once again, I am not surprised by the president's words and actions.

I have just about seen it all from this administration. After all, the vice president thinks he is in the legislative branch of our federal government. And our president acts as if he thinks he is in the judicial branch. Sadly, both are still in the executive branch .

Each day George Bush, Dick Cheney, and their supporting staff remind me of Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, and their supporting staff. Future historians are going to look at this administration and conclude that the citizens took a shotgun blast to the face.

ED PETCAVAGE
Weston

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