January 16, 2009 5:00 PM
Laura's E-Blast - January 16, 2009
Posted by Staff
Like every history-conscious president before him, President Bush has spent his final weeks in office shaping what he hopes to be his legacy. In short, he wants to be remembered for advancing America's security. In last night's final primetime national address, he described how after al Qaeda attacked America, "most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before Nine-Eleven. But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our Nation. And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe." He's taken this message of protecting Americans to interviews with Mike Wallace, Brit Hume, and Sean Hannity.
He even sat down with Larry King.
Yet there's one thing he's still not done: Commute the sentences of U.S. Border Patrol Agents Ignacio "Nacho" Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean.
As Laura Ingraham Show listeners already know, Ramos & Compean were arrested and jailed after shooting an illegal alien along the El Paso border in 2005. The victim, not that he deserves such a label, was a drug smuggler fleeing for Mexico. He wasn't badly hurt, yet after a problem-riddled trial, the agents received 11- and 12-year sentences. (By comparison, radical attorney Lynne Stewart received 28 months for providing material support to anti-American terrorists.) Since then, Ramos & Compean have been locked up in solitary confinement; Ramos has been beaten by fellow inmates, his home has been burglarized and vandalized; both agents' children are being raised without a father, and their wives have been deprived of their husbands.
Again, all of this comes as payment for their attempts at securing America. Commuting Ramos and Compean's sentences would hardly be partisan or even controversial.
Democrats like Reps. Bill Delahunt (D-Ma.), Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) support commutation, as do all but three of Texas's 34 congressmen. Even Johnny Sutton, the U.S. Attorney who tried the case, has said the decade-plus sentences are excessively harsh.
Last night President Bush acknowledged the importance of immigration and border control (homeland security) to American security: "America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil. This is a tribute to those who toil day and night to keep us safe - law enforcement officers, intelligence analysts, homeland security and diplomatic personnel, and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces."
President Bush has shown, time and again, his reservoir of compassion for U.S. troops is bottomless. Yet the Border Patrol is no less deserving. Already Ramos and Compean have served three years behind bars. Before departing, Bush must right this grave wrong - by issuing a final reminder that he always stood behind those serving on behalf of America's security.