Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bush Pardons Many, But To His Continuing Shame, Not the Border Patrol Agents

The Associated Press reports today (link) that rudderless President Bush has granted 19 pardons. Not included, unfortunately, are United States Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Alonso Compean, who are serving 11 and 12 year sentences, respectively, for shooting a drug-smuggling suspect in the buttocks in February, 2005. They made the mistake of trying to protect our borders against a drug smuggler during the presidency of an “open borders” advocate, and were made a lesson of. The case is a travesty, a huge and horrible moral stain on George W. Bush, his former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and the man he appointed as the federal prosecutor for the region, one Johnny Sutton.

I wrote about this case 20 days ago (link) in a post titled “George W. Bush & His Political Persecution of the Border Patrol Agents – He Can Lessen His Disgrace with a Pardon Now.” I said then:

George W. Bush can make a small but morally-significant step in softening what will be the cold, harsh stare of history on his presidency by pardoning the two Border Patrol agents persecuted by his administration in what can be seen as a political gesture to the Mexican government, which does not want enforcement of our immigration laws. The case is difficult to understand otherwise.
United States Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Alonso Compean are serving 11 and 12 year sentences, respectively, for shooting a drug-smuggling suspect in the buttocks in February, 2005. They were convicted, as I read, of assault with a dangerous weapon, discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, obstruction of justice (for allegedly lying about the incident in an attempt to cover it up), and a violation of the 14th Amendment right to be free from illegal seizure….

The drug smuggler’s mother, an excellent judge of the political gestalt in general and of George W. Bush in particular, then had the temerity to complain about the incident to the United States government, which proceeded to spend time and money tracking him down in Mexico and granting him immunity for his testimony against the agents. The Bush Administration, including the now-controversial prosecutor who brought the charges, one Johnny Sutton, U.S. Attorney for West Texas… chose to believe the drug smuggler, as did the jury, against the word of the two agents. Defenders of this travesty, who also believe O.J. was innocent because the jury said so, say this jury spoke and would not have convicted if the charges weren’t true….

Contrast Bush’s aggressive activity in this case with others – say, for example, those cases of anti-Bush federal employees who in recent years have deliberately and repeatedly violated the law in leaking important state intelligence secrets to newspapers in order to compromise our anti-terror national security. These leaks have put every American at greater risk. Has Bush prosecuted even one of them, or even made an effort to publicly expose them? No, for to do so would incur more wrath from Democrats, who hate him already. Prosecuting two law enforcement officers who were intercepting a drug smuggler was cowardly; perhaps Bush sought the encomiums of the Mexican government and a respite from Democrats.
I am very much reminded here of the defining line from the movie Night of the Generals, the story of an officer with a conscience in the WWII German military police who is doggedly pursuing the murderer of a single person, a murderer known to be a German general. The officer is asked why this politically-risky case is so important, since thousands are being killed every day in the war. I write this from long memory: the officer replies saying that what can seem acceptable on the large scale is often barbaric on the small.
This too will be George W. Bush’s moral legacy.

Wikipedia has articles that outline the basics of this case, and contain useful links: on Ramos (here) and Compean (here).

Here is the disgraceful US Attorney Johnny Sutton

John M Greco