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Scooter Libby and the Chickenhawk Defense

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The neocon's blind crusade to land a pardon for Scooter Libby hit a new low last week when Fouad Ajami, the John Hopkins prof and post 9/11 media darling who turned out to be wrong every which way about war with Iraq, wrote a deeply offensive column in the Wall Street Journal beseeching President Bush to let Libby go free.

It wasn't offensive because a conservative Beltway luminary set aside 30 minutes to recite glowing facts about Libby. Dozens of them did that after Libby was found guilty in March of obstructing justice and lying to investigators charged with finding out who leaked Valerie Plame's name to the press. (The letters were to no avail; Libby's looking at 30 months of jail time.)

And it wasn't offensive because Ajami did his best to misstate the facts of the Libby trial and conviction. (Nothing new there; the WSJ editorial page has done that without pause.)

Fouad Ajami's Journal column was offensive because he had the audacity to describe Scooter Libby as a "fallen solider," and citing "The Soldiers Creed," likened the VP's former chief of staff as a "fallen comrade." Ajami urged Bush not to leave Libbby "behind" on the battlefield.

Libby a solider? Just to make sure I wasn't missing something, I checked the Baby Boomer's golden resume, the one his famous pals were reciting in their please-be-nice letters to Judge Reggie. B. Walton.

Phillips Academy? Check. Yale University? Check. Columbia Law School? Check. Managing partner in D.C. law firm? Check? Consultant for the defense contractor Northrop Grumman? Check. Attorney for billionaire fugitive for Marc Rich? Check. Military service for the Iraq war propagandist? No.

Nonetheless, in the world of the delusional chickenhawks, the same misguided men who gave birth to a war that has taken the lives of more than 3,500 Americans, tens (hundreds?) of thousands of Iraqis now think that a white collar attorney like Libby who goes to work for the White House and then lies to federal prosecutors is akin to a soldier being shot in battle.

I hope Ajami is not disappointed if Gold Star Mothers nationwide do not adopt Libbys' wartime cause.

Update: TNR war supporter Marty Peretz declares Ajami's "Fallen Soldier" column to be "ethically unimpeachable" and "a document of our time." Well, that settles it.