The noise finally registered among higher-ups in Washington, and late last week, the Bureau of Prisons fully reversed itself. Its announcement read, "In response to concerns expressed by members of several religious communities, the Bureau of Prisons has decided to alter its planned course of action with respect to the Chapel Library Project. The bureau will begin immediately to return to chapel libraries materials that were removed in June 2007 "
The bureau said it would not return materials that "incite violence." That's fine; courts have long recognized prisons as a special case where some liberties obviously are lost. We can contain the bad without abandoning the good. And that leads me to a concluding note about the overall posture of conservatives toward the Bush administration.
Sure, we've all had disappointments, particularly on domestic budgetary matters, education and the wrong turns of the faith-based initiative. But the administration should be credited with the ability to respond to errors on the biggest issue, the Iraq war, and to develop a winning strategy at last. The same holds for its response to some relatively small matters such as religious books in prison libraries.
Some conservatives give the Bush presidency an F, but in Washington's difficult terrain, it probably deserves a C. We hoped for more, but we probably will miss it when it's gone.a