Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A Tale Of Two Politicians

"Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation." ~ Henry Kissinger

Today, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, received two and a half years in prison after he was convicted in March of lying and obstructing an investigation into the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity.

At almost the same time, William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana has been indicted on charges of bribery, more than two years after he was seen on videotape accepting bribes, and after authorities found $90,000.00 in cold hard marked cash hidden in his freezer.

Caveat: An indictment is not a finding of guilt. In this country, a suspect in a crime, even one as obvious and well documented as this one, is considered innocent until proven guilty.

It's sort of like, "Who are you gonna believe? Me? or your lyin' eyes?"

What do you want to bet that Jefferson, if convicted, gets less time than Libby, if any time at all?

What is incredible to me is that there is a lot of hard evidence that Jefferson actually committed the crimes of which he has been charged, (in fact, he will be, if convicted, officially the most corrupt politician in modern history) but there is quite a lot of doubt that Libby did anything wrong. There wasn't even enough evidence to try him on the crime for which the Democrats wanted him to be convicted, the outing of a "covert" CIA agent.

And of course, unlike Republicans who get caught doing something unethical or downright illegal, he will stay in the House and fight, claiming complete innocence despite the mountain of evidence against him. Republicans, as we know, will resign immediately upon the mere suspicion of impropriety.

And Jefferson's behavior is likely what Speaker Pelosi was referring to when she said hers would be the most ethical Congress in history, no?

There will be more, much more, on this as time goes by.

Also, I have added another blog to my high quality but not so short blogroll. It is DUmmie Funnies, a blog devoted to taking comments directly from Democratic Underground and the daily Kos and making fun of them. It's pretty good comic relief, although not side splitting humor. That's probably because the DU regulars are more irrelevant and pathetic then they are funny.

But I have added the blog to my blogroll, nonetheless. Go there and see what you think.


Dan Trabue said...

"in fact, he will be, if convicted, officially the most corrupt politician in modern history"

By what measure?

Francis Lynn said...

At least Jefferson was charged. What is apallingly egregious is the failure, or the "look the other way" treatment, by the Justtice Department to do anything about the Sandy Berger situation.

Berger is a dishonorable, lying thief of national security documents that are irreplaceable, & in fact no one knows what this clown stole & destroyed. For the same Justice Department to aggressively pursue the Libby case while giving Berger a pass shows that something is seriously wrong with our government.

You try stealing classified documents & destroying them & you'll wind up in a gray bar hotel faster than your head can spin.

Abouna said...

For what it is worth, I hope Bush does the right thing and pardons Libby.

Marshall Art said...

It's a sad day when someone can get two and a half years for not having a perfect memory. It's sadder still when others also questioned used "I don't remember" to get by the sticky questions asked of them. This is not to say that they DID remember and lied, but that their memory lapses were judged differently than Libby's. And as if that isn't enough, this memory lapse (and if you can remember exact details about a conversation you had two months ago, much less a couple of years, and a conversation of no great importance to you, join the circus), this memory lapse which was called a lie by the prosecutor, was in regards to 1. A crime that wasn't committed, and 2. A crime not only committed by someone else, R. Armitage, but also known to the prosecutor attempting to "get" Libby more for the fact that he works in the Bush administration, than for the leak for which he's been accused. And they bitched about the money Starr wasted.

Mark said...

Dan, I knew you would challenge that statement, but it didn't originate from me. It came from red State blog
, in these words:

"It could well be that Congressman William Jefferson (Democrat-Louisiana) could set the record for the most corrupt acts carried out by a member of Congress. He may be the most corrupt politician ever, far outdistancing Randy 'Duke' Cunningham, who was indicted on four counts. This is 16. Jefferson's 16-count, 94-page document for which he could serve more than 200 years in prison if convicted, eclipses the legal troubles of Randy 'Duke' Cunningham, Bob Ney, and Jim Traficant. Cunningham pleaded guilty to four counts, sentenced to eight years in prison. Bob Ney pleaded guilty to two, received a 30-month sentence. If convicted, Congressman William Jefferson (Democrat-Louisiana) would face sentencing on as many counts as Cunningham, Ney and Traficant combined,"

But remember, he is a Democrat, meaning he has to actually be convicted before he is regarded as corrupt. Republicans only have to be suspected.

Erudite Redneck said...

Republicans don't even have to suspected.


Sorry, you left yourself open.

Dan Trabue said...

So, I'm not entirely sure which way you all want to have it... Should convicts be pardoned or should they be sentenced?

If we should pardon Libby, (and Poindexter and North and Abrams and - all for lying to Congress about war crimes! - and Delay and on and on), should we also pardon Jefferson (IF it turns out he's guilty)?

Or should people convicted of crimes serve their time? I thought conservatives were tough on crime?

For me, I DON'T want to convict people in the press. But I also certainly do not want a president (or governor) to overturn a jury's conviction of someone they legitimately found guilty of a legitimate crime - and especially if the pardon is a pathetic politically-motivated "taking care of my croneys" kind of pardon.

In fact, I would give some serious consideration to changing the laws that allow a president to pardon political henchmen/partners convicted of crimes in which they have a personal stake (ie, they're covering for the president). That reeks.

Mark said...

Dan, I think what's sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander, so with that in mind, with Bill Clinton's documented perjury before a Grand jury serving as a precedence, Libby shouldn't even have been tried for lying.

As far as your implied contention that Libby was legitimately convicted of a legitimate crime (Are any crimes really legitimate?) I would submit that there was no crime committed in this case at all. Be that as it may, he was convicted, and should at least have the right to an appeal based on grounds of politically motivated bias.

I think some people convicted under dubious circumstances should be pardoned by the President.

I think I agree with you, though, about not allowing Presidents to pardon "political henchmen/partners", assuming, of course, that the same rule of law would apply to Democrat Presidents. Aye, there's the rub! No Democrat would ever agree to that.

Dan Trabue said...

"assuming, of course, that the same rule of law would apply to Democrat Presidents. Aye, there's the rub! No Democrat would ever agree to that."

You may be right.

As would no Republican. (Insofar as it's the Republicans who've made most use of the politically-motivated pardon - that's my guess, I don't have documentation).

Marshall Art said...

"Insofar as it's the Republicans who've made most use of the politically-motivated pardon"

Are you including all those pardoned by Clinton as he was leaving office? There were a lot of 'em. He may have put it over the top for Dems all by himself. I don't recall hearing anyone of either party pardoning so many, though I may be mistaken.

Dan Trabue said...

Clinton's pardons would be a great example of why this practice should be questioned, if not ended. He indeed pardoned some of his croneys.

While I don't know enough about the pardons in question to have a valid judgement on them, I find that such pardons stink. Not pardons in general, but the more blatantly political ones.

According to this site, Clinton had 456 "clemencies" - which include pardons - as compared to Reagan's 406.

Now, what I don't know definitively, is how many of either of these were politically-motivated and especially pardons of croneys of the president.

I DO know that several of Reagan's staff who were convicted for offenses related to lying about Congress about war crimes committed in the Iran Contra affair - some of whom went on to serve W Bush! - and I find that even more disturbing than the pardoning of "merely" corrupt croneys (which is bad enough).

As I stated, it's just a hunch based on my memory, but I'm thinking Republicans are worse on this count - or at the least comparable to the Dems.

Which was my point - to rebuke Mark for suggesting this was restricted to the Dems.

This is something that we, the People - left and right - should be able to unite behind and tell our politicians that these sort of politically-motivated pardons won't be tolerated.

Marshall Art said...

How would you determine "politically motivated", Dan? Isn't that rather subjective? As mentioned before in discussions surrounding Iran/Contra, moral and legal aren't always synonomous. A review of each and every pardon would still not give us all the details that a president would have. Yet even if we did, it would still be a judgement call for the president based on HIS idea of whether the "crime" in question was serious enough to warrant keeping the perp on ice.

Personally, I find it less objectionable than for the judge and/or jury to make such a decision. They have the duty to weigh the evidence and testimonies in order to assess guilt or innocence and then to pass sentence. Here I'm thinking of the OJ case and the case of those two kids in California who wacked their parents. They had a Spanish name as I recall, and listening to the jurors who voted against capital punishment, they were definitely going by their personal feelings instead of the evidence.

With a presidential pardon, you've got a third party not involved in the case making an assessment. Can there be a bit of cronyism? Sure, but we're generally not dealing with crimes like murder or grand theft, and it's just as likely that the person being pardoned was convicted for political reasons, as I believe was the case with Libby. Thus, the presidential pardon stays. I hope Libby gets one quickly.

Dan Trabue said...

"How would you determine "politically motivated", Dan? Isn't that rather subjective?"

If the President is pardoning someone from his team, who may have covered up for him, it is quite likely politically-motivated.

If Clinton pardoned folk who were guilty of some crime that was to Clinton's benefit, it would be wrong for him to pardon them. Same for Reagan/Bush.

This sort of self-serving protectionism is spineless, sleazy and disgusting, whether done by a Dem or Republican. If you're going to break laws because you think it's the right thing to do (as Team Reagan did repeatedly), then have the balls to admit guilt and your time.

But some of leaders have thought it's okay to be above the law. They are wrong.

Surely we could unite on this?

Marshall Art said...

It was the Menendez brothers. Just wanted to point that out.

"If the President is pardoning someone from his team, who may have covered up for him, it is quite likely politically-motivated."

Again, that would still be a matter of your own opinion of the matter, not a necessarily a reflection of the reality of the situation. This doesn't really match what you've said regarding judgement and who one determines right and wrong. We can have our opinions of what we perceive is happening with these pardons, but we can't know the hearts of the people involved.

Libby committed no crime. Your opinion of him and his actions might differ, but it's pretty clear that no crime was committed. If the leak of Plame's identity was a crime, then Armitage should be on trial as well. What Libby was accused of didn't actually happen, so how could his "lie" be truly a lie? Others questioned struggled remembering details. Why aren't they going to jail for lying?

Dan Trabue said...

"Libby committed no crime."

A judge and jury apparently disagree with you. If Congressman Jefferson is convicted of stealing the money as he's accused of, he should not be pardoned merely because he's a Democrat. Libby was convicted. Short of evidence that there was something wrong with the trial, he should serve his time.

As to "knowing the hearts of the people" involved, I don't give a dang about their hearts. If Ollie North illegally sold weapons to Iran then funneled the money to terrorists in Nicaragua - EVEN IF he thought he was doing the right thing - I want that man sitting in jail. I don't want to see a pardon.

If Bill Clinton had an funder who stole money, I don't want Bill Clinton pardoning that crony, merely because he gives him money. I want that man in jail.

Laws are laws. I'm surprised I'm having to argue law and order with a "conservative," I thought y'all were supposed to be all about law and order.

Leave worrying about their intentions to God and their own personal community.

mom2 said...

I notice Dan always talks about Dem problems after the fact. He knows nothing will be done about it then. Do we ever hear him condemn any wrong doing that the Dems may be involved in at the present time? He's too busy conjuring up some imagined or possible corruption against the Bush Administration, like all the leftist blame America first gang.

Dan Trabue said...

You know, I typically prefer to let these cases make their way through the system and let the system do its job before making much commentary. I really don't care for armchair lawyering.

So, I haven't followed the William Jefferson bribery case that closely. I was wondering, for anyone out there who may have followed it closely, if anyone knows how Jefferson explains the money found in his freezer?

Does he claim it was planted? Or that it was his own? Or something else?

Just curious.

Marshall Art said...

Laws are laws. Presidential pardons are a part of our federal legal system. There is nothing illegal, immoral or unethical about presidential pardons, except how they might be used. YOU can't know enough to judge whether a given pardon is any of the above. It is within the president's power to pardon anyone he sees fit. If you want to question the intelligence of a particular pardon, that is your right. But as long as the president has the power, he has the right. As a conservative, I tend to go with the Constitution as written. But I'm NOT surprised that I'd have to point out such things to a liberal.

Marshall Art said...

Oh yeah, Dan. I almost forgot: Free Scooter!

Dan Trabue said...

"There is nothing illegal, immoral or unethical about presidential pardons, except how they might be used."

And how they are being used has been often immoral. But I'm NOT surprised I have to point that out to a so-called "conservative..."

(if you want to be snarky.)

Trader Rick said...


Marshall Art said...

"And how they are being used has been often immoral." Even this is judgemental. How would you know which ones and how many were immoral?

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said:

"Even this is judgemental. How would you know which ones and how many were immoral?"

You don't believe in morality? Well, I do. As do 99% of the US. And clearly, pardoning folk who've been lied to our nation about war crimes is immoral according to most folk.

You, of course, DO believe in morality, so I'm not sure what you're even getting at here, Marshall.

I'm suggesting that these sorts of pardons as done by Reagan/Bush and some of those by Clinton are repugnant to the US population and I suspect we'd favor changing the laws so cronyism is disallowed from the presidential pardon process.

I'm not so cynical that I don't think such a law could be written.

Jason H. Bowden said...

"You don't believe in morality? Well, I do. As do 99% of the US."

Your number is too high-- my personal experience with the left suggests a large percentage of the population unfortunately consists of moral relativists who think there is no difference between what we like and the good.

Dan Trabue said...

My experience with everyone - Right and Left - suggests that we are all moral relativists about one thing or another. Killing innocent people? Always a wrong, says the Right…UNLESS the US needs to drop a nuclear bomb on a civilian target as we did in Hiroshima.

Let’s be fair, we all believe in having moral values – Left and Right. And we nearly all – Left and Right – are moral relativists about one thing or another – maybe justifiably so at least in some cases (which would be a bit of moral relativism on my part perhaps?)

The myth of immoral and/or amoral Left is just that – a myth.

Marshall Art said...

"The myth of immoral and/or amoral Left is just that – a myth."

Only to the left. It's a more tangible truth to the right, who've had to spend an inordinate amount of time defending traditional definitions of morality to a nation to heavily influenced by immoral lefties.

mudkitty said...

The best wisdom I can glean from republicans and rightwingers here, is that Burger's inadvertent crime makes Libby deliberate crime(s) OK.

Marshall Art said...

I would also like to remind Dan that it has been the belief of those who would know, that the nuclear drops on Japan, which ended the war, resulted in far fewer deaths than what would have taken place had they not dropped them. Assuming for the sake of argument that that is true, would it have been a better moral choice then, to not have dropped the bombs?

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall asked:

"Assuming for the sake of argument that that is true, would it have been a better moral choice then, to not have dropped the bombs?"

Much evidence contradicts that supposition, but assuming that it is true, then you're advocating an ends justifies the means position - moral relativism, might makes right... all sorts of ideals that True Patriots(TM) and Terrorists can agree upon, right?

A validation of my point that even good conservatives are moral relativists.

As to the Myth of an amoral Left, we should believe that you're correct that it is NOT a myth because, why? Because you say so?

No thanks. I and my so-called leftist friends shall retain the reality of our morals whether you believe it or not. We shall continue to love our families, care for our friends, join in solidarity with the poor, give a cup of cold water to the thirsty, etc, etc, etc, whether you believe we're moral or not.

Or do you have some definition of moral other than the normal one?

mudkitty said...

Far fewer deaths? Not when it came to the Japanese.

The far fewer deaths myth is pro war, pro bomb, pro death propaganda.

mom2 said...

that Burger's inadvertent crime>

Hahahaha! And you expect us to take your seriously? Yeah, it's pretty inadvertent to stick papers down your britches and socks!

Marshall Art said...

"Far fewer deaths? Not when it came to the Japanese.

The far fewer deaths myth is pro war, pro bomb, pro death propaganda."

Sez you. Back it up. As for the Japanese, they supported their emperor. Imagine that. A people supporting their leader.


I'm not dealing in relativism in the least. I put it to you directly, if killing tens of thousands of the enemy's people prevents the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people from both sides, where's the relativism? Are you that warped in your thinking as to be confused about such a slam dunk choice? I'll say it again, if you want to allow a nasty scumbag to kill you rather than risk killing him, that's your choice and I hope you never have to make it. Because if you do, it's quite likely he'll kill someone else and if you had the ability to stop him, even if it meant you had to kill him, the second death is on your hands as much as the scumbag's. Do every member of your family understand that their lives are at stake if you are all assaulted together? Do they realize you won't lift finger one to prevent their deaths if it means you have to kill the attacker(s)? One who lays down his life for another may be blessed, but I don't think the same goes for one who throws his life away and lets others die as well.

mudkitty said...

Imagine that Marshall - you make my point.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall asked:

"if killing tens of thousands of the enemy's people prevents the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people from both sides, where's the relativism?"

1. We deliberately targeted and killed ~140,000 men, women and children - the vast majority of them citizens - at Hiroshima, breaking a Japan that some say was already prepared to end the war. THEN, we deliberately targeted and killed ~70,000 citizens at Nagasaki. An estimated ~230,000 died eventually and horribly from radiation poisoning.

We did so on an unconfirmed HUNCH that it might save more lives. Or maybe not. But clearly, we deliberately targeted and killed all those citizens - I could be wrong, but isn't that the largest single act of mass killing of citizens ever?! If we want to talk terrorism, let's be honest with ourselves.

2. As to the "lives saved" by targeting and killing hundreds of thousands of citizens, well we can't really know, can we? But many leaders of the time didn't think that was the case:

"The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan."
~Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

"The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender."
~Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman.

Eisenhower and Hoover were also critical of the attacks, as were many conservatives of the time.

3. Where's the relativism? You condemn the "terrorists" for killing innocent people - rightly so - but you say it's okay in some circumstances to target and kill men, women and children! I say it is always, always, always a wrong to target and kill civilians - and especially two whole cities of men, women and children.


That's where you're proving to be a moral relativist.

I'd think this is something we could all agree on. (And more and more, people do agree. While there are still die hard modern "conservatives" and especially those older than I am who still buy into the horror that was Hiroshima as legitimate, increasingly, young people reject the bombing of Hiroshima/Nagasaki out of hand as obviously wrong.)

4. The damage done by nuking cities goes beyond the "mere" hundreds of thousands killed and maimed. By committing such a blatant crime against humanity, we demonstrated that one of the leading voices of morality in the world (and the US has been able to claim that at least at times) says that the mass killing of civilians is an acceptable means to an desired end.

Apparently, that message has been read loud and clear.

Not to say that we're the only ones in history to attack civilians, but America stands for something beyond expediency and brute force, or at least she has in the hearts of many around the world. We stand for decency, justice, fair play, law and order, morality.

We lost a large part of our collective soul with that bombing and the support of it from at least half of our citizenry. Lord have mercy.

Marshall Art said...

"Imagine that Marshall - you make my point." If you say so, Muddy. You're the only one who knows what your point is.


Yes, of course it was a hunch. The guy in charge has often a hunch to bring him to his final decision. That others involved had an opposing opinion is irrelevant, particularly since they were not the Commander in Chief who bears all the responsibility. If the Japanese were truly ready to surrender, if that info was considered solid, I doubt there would have been any bombs dropped. I'd have to assume that it wasn't solid, though I don't know Truman's mind on the matter.

But that hunch was solid enough to push that move. Of course we can't know for sure what would happen if we went another direction. It's just as possible that the war could have worsened. Second guessing is for whiners. Men make a decision and live with the consequences. I don't recall Truman ever being accused of passing the buck. Didn't he say it stopped with him? So he made what he as president thought was the best decision based ont the info he had. Sound familiar?

It still comes down to what you are willing to risk, or more precisely, who. Truman wasn't willing to risk any more American lives or the lives of allies or allies citizens. If you want a people to effect change in their government, the government that has declared war on your people, make the people suffer and they will relent. Sounds harsh, but it's the decision Truman felt necessary, just as Sherman did in the Civil War. Frankly, it's what needs to be done now, but the exact target is too iffy.

Here's another way to look at it: I study ju jutsu. In this style, the idea is to end the fight as quickly as possible with the least amount of damage and/or risk to one's self. If an attacker is set on kickin' my ass, I could use the techniques I developed from years in karate and if he's a big dude, I might have to punch and/or kick him repeatedly. This action can cause lasting damage to his brain. A fall could injure his spine. In any case, if he's a good fighter and can take a hit, I'm more at risk the longer the fight goes. In ju jutsu, joint breaking is a large part of the style. The pain and disability from a broken joint can end the fight without any lasting damage to the attacker. Blood loss is also minimal or non-existent. A broken joint is far more devastating than a series of blows, but the fight is over. He'll heal, I'll be safe.

This is the basic idea of warfare. Deliver the most devastating blow right off the bat in order to end the war with the least risk to your side. This, of course, is if one wants to win. In any war in which my country is involved, I want to win. Period. For the sake of my people.

In addition, any critiques by the young on the decisions made by those who went before are a complete waste. They have no concept of what was before Truman and the nation. None. They cannot grasp the feelinf of dealing with an enemy that has resorted to the blatant sacrifice of their own people in order to win. It's stupid to think they understand it now, as so many who teach them don't get it either.

So answer the question. What are you willing to sacrifice for your beliefs? To refresh you memory, it's kill or your people die, and/or, kill then thousand to save one hundred thousand. I'll wait here.

Marshall Art said...

Oh, just to be fair, I'll give you my answer.

I kill the scumbag.

I kill the scumbag's people.

Result: The threat is eliminated and my family and/or friends live, or, my nation's people live. I've saved lives.

Seems really easy to me.

Dan Trabue said...

And so the ends justifies the means in your mind. I call that moral relativism and immoral.

I will not sacrifice my family, friends or neighbors in order to ignore a threat. But neither will I sacrifice my values nor my enemy's children and innocent people around my enemy in order to try to stop them.

Marshall Art said...

So you won't sacrifice your family and friends. That's great, Dan. But why would you sacrifice a greater number of people for the sake of the people of the enemy, and a smaller number of people as well? I don't get it. You'll let MORE innocent people die for some lame principle, rather than kill those aligned with the enemy. How does that make sense? You can sit there and waste time talking about moral relativism and ends justifying the means, while you let a greater number of people die. That's perfect. How is that moral? It's not like you have a choice. If there's other options, then there's obviously no need to bomb the enemy's people.

Here's how it would probably go down. Someone from your cabinet would let on that you had the opportunity to prevent the deaths of so many of your own countrymen because of some principle of yours. Somehow the word would get out. You're ejected from office, rightfully so, and the next guy retaliates. Even if that doesn't happen, there would be a definite call for retaliation, and rightfully so. If you don't retaliate, the enemy strikes again and more of your people die. If you do retaliate, you'll end up killing many, if not more, of the people you didn't kill originally, plus the people the enemy killed added to it means your principle resulted in even more death.

You seem to have this idea that the willingness to war implies a desire to war. I can't imagine too many of our people desire war, even if they're politicians who'd never go. But there is a time for everything under heaven. It's good that you aren't leading the nation during this troubled time. We don't need a leader who's unable to pull the trigger to save his own people.

Dan Trabue said...

"You seem to have this idea that the willingness to war implies a desire to war."

I don't know how to say it any more clearly: I'm not implying anything, I'm stating unequivocally that it is wrong to bomb civilians.

If I were told that I might (MIGHT) be able to save the world if I just slit the throat of one child, I would not do so. Why? Because it is wrong.

So, returning to the topic at hand, I'll stand by my position that we ought not allow politically-motivated pardons. We ought to change our laws if necessary, to stop such activity. I suspect the majority of folk would support such a change because most folk find such pardons distasteful.

Dan Trabue said...

"We don't need a leader who's unable to pull the trigger to save his own people."

Neither do we need a leader who's willing to target and kill innocent people. If a president did THAT today, he'd be impeached out and tried for crimes against humanity.

And rightly so.

Marshall Art said...


I applaud your sense of conviction. I shake my head at your lack of logic, rationality, and perspective.

"If I were told that I might (MIGHT) be able to save the world if I just slit the throat of one child, I would not do so."

Wow. I don't know if I would have ever come up with a scenario like that, you sick puppy, but you changed the dynamic with the word "might". My hypotheticals had no such ambiguity. "Might" leaves open a range of degrees of what "might" might mean. Just how likely would be the saving of the world? Likely? Very likely? 99.999% likely? Somewhat likely? The more likely it is that you'd save the world, means the more likely that you would condemn to whatever type of death your scenario had in mind millions and millions of other little girls. Don't you believe that the little girl you have to kill will be with God? Don't you believe that God would acknowledge the weight and difficulty of your choices? Don't you believe that God would recognize the intent of your action, to save the world, and the regret and remorse you'd have over the means to do so?

I think most folks WOULD respect the difficulty of such a decision if it was shown in it's unvarnished truth. At the same time most folks would regret that it had to happen. I believe most people faced with such a decision would act as I would for the greater good.

And yes, you ARE implying something when you use phrases like "targeting civilians". That implies a specific intention and desire. The desire is to end the war. The means is by inflicting as much suffering upon the enemy and it's people so that they terminate their aggression. It is NOT "targeting civilians". You need to cut a little more slack for the people whose task it is to protect their people and country. You can stand there and say, "My entire family is dead, but at least my president didn't bomb civilians." I'd prefer to say, "It's too bad the enemy didn't love their families as much as I love mine."

As to the topic at hand, you've recently given me crap with the example of pardoning prisoners. I don't recall which side of the equation you were on (and I don't feel like finding it). But presidential pardons seems to be Biblically sound practice if done properly. So I say, tweak the policy maybe, but do away with it? No.