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Monday, January 19, 2009

Bush commutes prison sentences of Ramos and Compean

On his last full day as President of the United States (thank God), George W. Bush commuted the prison sentences of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.

And even with this, the worst President in American history managed to completely screw it up.

The sentences of Ramos and Compean have been commuted: the two former Border Patrol agents have not received full pardon. And it is nothing less than a pardon which Ramos and Compean deserve for doing their jobs as best they could. The fact remains that each of the two has a conviction on his record that will follow them after release from prison. And speaking of which, their release isn't immediate anyway: Bush made it so they couldn't see freedom until March 20th.

And they wouldn't have received a commutation of their sentences anyway had it been left to the "conscience" of Bush. Millions of people and several elected officials rose up to defend Ramos and Compean in demanding their pardon and release. Bush steadfastly refused to free them. Is there any doubt that today's development was motivated purely out of politics, and Bush's frantic desire to salvage his "legacy" as President?

So I won't thank Bush for "doing the right thing" when he should have done it to begin with as part of his job responsibilities. And I can't let it be credited to him as an act of kindness either, when we all know it was anything but that.

And if Barack Obama were smart, he will grant Ramos and Compean their full pardons before the week is out.


Anonymous said...

Bush acted out of self preservation. Without complete pardon this is still back stabbing.

That should be Bush and Johnny Sutton rotting in jail. And for life.

Anonymous said...

Man there just is not anything that Bush can do for you guys to vindicate himself. I dont know what to say.

Chris Knight said...

"...here just is not anything that Bush can do for you guys to vindicate himself."

In another place and time, the honorable thing would have been to perform seppuku.

Anonymous said...

Here's how I see it Chris: Compean and Ramos are good NOT to have received a full pardon, because that would have been officially admitting to guilt (they may have done wrong but in the split seconds they had they were acting out of sincerity to their posts). But not having pardons means they cannot sue Sutton for wrongful imprisonment. I do believe they should have been immediately released however. It's not a win-win situation for anyone. But I do agree with you: this is just cover-my-ass for Bush before he leaves the White House.

Great blog!

Chris Knight said...

I will concede: that is a good point.

In a sane world, Ramos and Compean would never have spent one day in prison. And that would be Sutton (and probably Bush as well) who would have been thrown under the jailhouse.

I do think it should be acknowledged at least, that our border policies at present are not sufficient at all. Bush had eight years to rectify the problem and he failed to do anything about it. I'm not holding my breath for Obama to address it adequately enough either.

Chris Knight said...

Although it could also be noted that Ford pardoned Nixon for any crimes he might have committed... and that certainly didn't hurt him, did it? :-)

Anonymous said...

The first thing that he did marginally right. And it only took him 8 years.

Anonymous said...

I am glad that we will start fresh and get over the past 8 years tomorrow. I am sick of hearing about how bad the president is. Of course who ever is president must be like God since he is supposed to be holy blameless and without fault according to your blog. Oh but didn't someone post a blog entry that says dont judge hmmm what does that say about some of your post folk.

Your friend,
Johnny Y.

Chris Knight said...

Johnny Y.,
I think they should do their best, in spite of their all-human-frailties. Just like the rest of us. That it is asking too much of them to expect perfection.

The real mark of a leader is how much he puts others ahead of him or her self. When the day's done: was that person a statesman, or a politician?

The last time we had a statesman as President, it was Ronald Reagan. And not even George Washington completely escapes criticism: I've never thought much of how he put down the Whiskey Rebellion.

As I've said before: this blog will be as hard on Obama as it has been on Bush, or anyone else. There is no partisan favoritism on this blog.

And I happen to believe the American people are perfectly within their right to judge and criticize those who WANTED to be public servants in the first place.

We're the ones who are the government of this country, after all...

Anonymous said...


I think it is only right for the people to hold political leadership accountable. Just like those that are leaderships of churches, who allow their church to be used for secular parties. I think it is only right that they would expect the church to be using the facilities to serve God's purpose. Once again, The leadership of a church may be held accountable to God for that. Not the members of the Church. But you say it is ok to question our political leaders but it is ok for our church leaders to use facilities as they see fit without regard to the use or to their congregation? That puzzles me.

I am not taking the side of Johnny Robertson who I dont know and I dont care to know, but I am taking the side of the people that give money and put trust to those managing God's house.

Once again I also state that this had nothing to do with anyones eternal destination. I am glad that we can agree to disagree.

Also Chris I was waiting for a statement from you about the village people statement you made earlier.

Your friend,

Johnny Y

Chris Knight said...

You're not making much sense, Johnny.

Anonymous said...

It makes perfect sense when you put the two together.


Anonymous said...

can you look at more than one post list at a time.


Bluegrass Pundit said...

If you shot a drug smuggler in the butt, where I live, you wouldn't get a prison sentence. One of your relatives would take you to a Cracker Barrel for a celebratory meal.
The Intellectual Redneck

Anonymous said...


In a few hours, George W. Bush will walk out of the Oval Office for the last time as president. As he leaves, he carries with him the near-universal opprobrium of the permanent class that inhabits our nation's capital. Yet perhaps the most important reason for this unpopularity is the one least commented on.

Here's a hint: It's not because of his failures. To the contrary, Mr. Bush's disfavor in Washington owes more to his greatest success. Simply put, there are those who will never forgive Mr. Bush for not losing a war they had all declared unwinnable.

Here in the afterglow of the turnaround led by Gen. David Petraeus, it's easy to forget what the smart set was saying two years ago -- and how categorical they all were in their certainty. The president was a simpleton, it was agreed. Didn't he know that Iraq was a civil war, and the only answer was to get out as fast as we could?

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- the man who will be sworn in as vice president today -- didn't limit himself to his own opinion. Days before the president announced the surge, Joe Biden suggested to the Washington Post he knew the president's people had also concluded the war was lost. They were, he said, just trying to "keep it from totally collapsing" until they could "hand it off to the next guy."

The Opinion Journal Widget
Download Opinion Journal's widget and link to the most important editorials and op-eds of the day from your blog or Web page.
For his part, on the night Mr. Bush announced the surge, Barack Obama said he was "not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq are going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse."

Three months after that, before the surge had even started, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pronounced the war in Iraq "lost." These and similar comments, moreover, were amplified by a media echo chamber even more absolute in its sense of hopelessness about Iraq and its contempt for the president.

For many of these critics, the template for understanding Iraq was Vietnam -- especially after things started to get tough. In terms of the wars themselves, of course, there is almost no parallel between Vietnam and Iraq: The enemies are different, the fighting on the ground is different, the involvement of other powers is different, and so on.

Still, the operating metaphor of Vietnam has never been military. For the most part, it is political. And in this realm, we saw history repeat itself: a failure of nerve among the same class that endorsed the original action.

As with Vietnam, with Iraq the failure of nerve was most clear in Congress. For example, of the five active Democratic senators who sought the nomination, four voted in favor of the Iraqi intervention before discovering their antiwar selves.

As in Vietnam too, rather than finding their judgment questioned, those who flip-flopped on the war were held up as voices of reason. In a memorable editorial advocating a pullout, the New York Times gave voice to the chilling possibilities that this new realism was willing to accept in the name of bringing our soldiers home.

"Americans must be clear that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave," read the editorial. "There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide." Even genocide. With no hint of irony, the Times nevertheless went on to conclude that it would be even worse if we stayed.

Mr. Bush's success in Iraq is equally infuriating, because it showed he was right and they wrong. Many in Washington have not yet admitted that, even to themselves. Mr. Obama has. We know he has because he has elected to keep Mr. Bush's secretary of defense -- not something you do with a failure.

Mr. Obama seems aware that, at the end of the day, he will not be judged by his predecessor's approval ratings. Instead, he will soon find himself under pressure to measure up to two Bush achievements: a strategic victory in Iraq, and the prevention of another attack on America's home soil. As he rises to this challenge, our new president will learn that when you make a mistake, the keepers of the Beltway's received orthodoxies will make you pay dearly.

Anonymous said...

I think it is unfair to judge a president over the actions of 20 people. If we did that we would have to blame president bush for the 911 attacks and nobody thats sane really does that. How can we blame the next president when or if the next few people decide to do something stupid. It is almost impossible to stop a patient, intelligent, fanatical cell from doing some form of damage. The man who is willing to die to achieve his goal is hard to deal with. I am looking forward to the Obama presidency because at this time we need a chess player, not a cowboy.