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May 18, 2009
Pelosi Blows Democrats’
Shot at Getting Torture Justice
you were ever looking for a reason the Democratic Party shouldn’t be
allowed to control things, it came last week when the issue of torture
centered on what Nancy Pelosi knew and when she knew it. It was not an
idea that Pelosi knew about torture and did nothing to stop it that is
evidence of Democratic incompetence, but the idea that they’d allow the
story to be turned so quickly and thoroughly from an indictment against
people who actually carried it out to what was at the time the minority
party in every sense of the word.
Think back, if you will, to the time frame relevant to the story –
2002-03. These were the years when the U.S. acknowledges that it
repeatedly engaged in interrogation techniques widely condemned as
torture by practically everyone who knows anything about interrogation
and torture. At the time, the Democratic Party had just completed its
transformation into an ineffectual rump on the American political scene.
It had managed to turn the political capital created by the peace and
prosperity of the Clinton years into two straight election cycles of
stinging defeat. It was such an ineffective organization that it
couldn’t even prevent a new president with low poll numbers and no
mandate due to the highly questionable nature of his election from
enacting tax cuts of a dubious nature or enacting educational reforms
widely unpopular before the ink dried that had the smell of bipartisan
was that old incompetence that resurfaced last week, and that had Pelosi
stammering and sputtering that she knew nothing about waterboarding back
when her party was so deeply in the minority that there was widespread
belief it might never recover. Thanks to her performance, questioned for
its veracity immediately by its target – an agency that very probably
admitted it broke U.S. and international law by saying it had briefed
her on it – made it much more likely that criminal prosecutions will not
be forthcoming. Thanks to Pelosi’s inept handling, today’s Democratic
majority is an equal co-conspirator in a systematic and purposeful
program of torture from years ago and that will leave a dark stain on
the nation’s image for a long time.
Only the Democratic Party could see to it that prosecuting torture is
made politically unfeasible.
The Obama Administration, at least as of this moment (who’s to say from
minute to minute), has earned part of that black mark. Once the
president declared waterboarding to be torture – an opinion consistent
with both domestic legal precedence and international law – it should
have started the machinery of the criminal justice system working. That
is, a nation that hauls its chief executive before a public tribunal for
lying about an affair unearthed during a political witch hunt has no
excuse in not taking to trial people who have violated every basic
concept of humane and decent treatment of others.
That didn’t happen, providing the opening through which Pelosi could be
exploited as if she were as guilty as the administration officials who
ordered it to happen.
The result was a disgraceful positioning of political posturing over
what is right – rather than coming clean, Pelosi sought to cover her own
backside, which allowed Republicans to turn the issue into a political
food fight. How can a nation that treats torture in such a way ever
again expect the world to take it seriously as a champion for human
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