Monday, 9 July 2007

No Quality of Mercy

July 9, 2007

No Quality of Mercy

The Atlantic Online

Just worth remembering, given the president's recent burst of compassion for
a man facing thirty months in jail:

In the weeks before the execution, Bush says, a number of protesters came to
Austin to demand clemency for Karla Faye Tucker. "Did you meet with any of
them?" I ask. Bush whips around and stares at me. "No, I didn't meet with
any of them", he snaps, as though I've just asked the dumbest, most
offensive question ever posed.

"I didn't meet with Larry King either when he came down for it. I watched
his interview with Tucker, though. He asked her real difficult questions
like, 'What would you say to Governor Bush?'" "What was her answer?" I
wonder. "'Please,'" Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation,
"'don't kill me.'" I must look shocked - ridiculing the pleas of a condemned
prisoner who has since been executed seems odd and cruel - because he
immediately stops smirking.
Thanks, Tucker. Odd and cruel. Sister Helen Prejean wrote a good essay on
Bush's record in Texas here. Money quote:

As governor, Bush certainly did not stand apart in his routine refusal to
deny clemency to death row petitioners, but what does set him apart is the
sheer number of executions over which he has presided. Callous indifference
to human suffering may also set Bush apart. He may be the only government
official to mock a condemned person's plea for mercy, then lie about it
afterward, claiming humane feelings he never felt. On the contrary, it seems
that Bush is comfortable with using violent solutions to solve troublesome
social and political realities...

At the time of the thirteen death row exonerations in Illinois, Bush stated
publicly that although states such as Illinois might have problems with a
faulty death penalty system, he was certain that in Texas no innocent person
had ever been sent to death row, much less executed. That remains to be
seen. What is clear is that he had, as governor, no quality of mercy.


Source : The Atlantic Online

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