Sunday, May 17, 2009

Blaming Pelosi

Gotta love the latest rethug (Gingrich/Boehner) torture strategy: It's all Nancy Pelosi's fault. She was briefed by the CIA (maybe kinda sort of) that "enhanced interrogation" might be used, so she's responsible for everything that followed. When in doubt, blame a Democrat.
Of course this is ridiculous. Pelosi was House MINORITY leader in 2002-2003. She didn't (and couldn't) authorize, justify, or initiate torture. Shrub and the Cheney bear the sole responsibility for the appalling violations of national and international law, human rights, and the commission of war crimes. The Pelosi diversion is an attempt to distract the public away from the prosecution of the actual criminals; a variation of the childhood excuse "Johnny did it, too" defense. It didn't work with Mom when we were kids, and it shouldn't work in the "adult" world, either. Especially when we're talking about the most horrific crimes ever committed in the name of "America".
Even the most basic issue of Pelosi's possible complicity is rather weak. She says the briefings were vague and unspecific, that waterboarding could be used but not saying that it was already in use. Which makes sense. I doubt that the CIA came right out and said "we're torturing people", but rather left an opening for "plausible deniability" for all parties. Does this clear Pelosi? No. If she were a truly moral leader, she should have been screaming "STOP" at the very thought of America engaging in torture. But Nancy Pelosi is NOT a truly moral leader. She is a creature of congress who long ago sold out any principles she might have had in her pursuit of position and power on capitol hill. She is guilty of standing silent while the crime was committed, but that in no way absolves those who actually committed the crime.
Torture is wrong. Torture is always wrong. The (totally unrealistic) "ticking time bomb" scenarios DO NOT justify torture, nor does the patent lie that "it works". And the Shrub/Cheney torture program wasn't even focused on preventing another terrorist attack (which still isn't justified), but rather to promote a war with Iraq. A key revelation in last month’s Senate Armed Services Committee report on detainees — that torture was used to try to coerce prisoners into “confirming” a bogus Al Qaeda-Saddam Hussein link to sell that war — is finally attracting attention. The false confessions extracted from detainees were used by Shrub, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Powell,et al.,as "evidence" of the need to invade Iraq and remove Saddam. It was all a pack of lies, and it is the greatest crime in the history of American government. It is our international shame, and that shame will remain until the guilty are held accountable.
Pelosi may be guilty of complicity, but she is not the party responsible for the crime. Don't let the guilty use her to distract you from that basic fact. The Shrub administration is guilty of committing war crimes including torture. They are the ones who need to be tried and convicted.

Added: No doubt that Obama is trying to take the easy way out; doing nothing and hoping the issue will just go away. I'm not in any way surprised, but I think he's wrong. The enormity of the crimes demands investigation and prosecution, regardless of what Obama wants, and a "truth commission" or congressional investigation are likely inevitable.

Added2: See also Marcy Wheeler "Dick Cheney, Torture, Iraq, and Valerie Plame", and Think Progress "a disgraced Republican is attacking Pelosi". I'm not alone in my opinion.

Added3:Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) has written a poem "Fancy Nancy," to cast blame on Pelosi. It's as bad, or even worse, that you might have expected.

No comments: