Friday, May 08, 2009

Pelosi and Torture

The Washington Post reports that a newly released memo indicates that Nancy Pelosi was briefed on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques in 2002. Now, some on the right and left will say this explains the Obama administration's hesitance to prosecute the writers of those memos. That may be the case. I hope, instead, it serves as an impetus to get the ball rolling on prosecutions for all the people responsible. After all, it's a win-win for the administration; it gets to uphold the principle that torture is unacceptable by holding those responsible accountable (something I've argued for before), it could show the country that this isn't a political witch-hunt but a principled stance, and it gets to remove Pelosi. Let's face it, she's a liability to the President and the party. Ignoring her heavy-handed mismanagement of Obama's first attempt at reaching across the aisle to bail out the financial system, she's from San Francisco. If she goes, the party could find leadership from somewhere that doesn't scream lefty-pinko-commie, while retaining the seat (it's more likely to go to a Green than a Republican, if I'm not mistaken). If she knew about the torture, she should go down because it's the right thing to do. If it's the right thing to do, that principle should cross party lines. Herbert Hoover said "Honor is not the exclusive property of any political party," and he was right, but dishonor isn't either, and torture shames us all. The fact that dealing with this dishonor is also politically expedient for the Obama administration is just icing on the cake.


@bdul muHib said...

Hold on. That almost sounded like you think Lefty Pinko Commies are bad!

See, I don't think it's the same deal. Pelosi may have known about the torture, but was protesting it, and wanting it to stop. That's a world of difference from encouraging it, doing it, coming up with an all-encompassing plan to make it happen. I think she should just get a mild penalty- after all, we *all* have known about the torture since 2003, and all of Congress should have done something to stop it- and didn't (with some notable exceptions). Congress bears a certain culpability, sure, but not to the extent that we should throw all incumbents out of office. Better by far to prosecute the real criminals- those that worked hard to try to torture others.

Benjamin Gorman said...

Oh, I agree that if she was protesting it she is far less culpable, but that's what an investigation should be allowed to find, and this revelation might allow such an investigation to get underway. From what I've read since, it sounds like her chief staffer was the one who was briefed rather than Pelosi herself, so he/she will probably fall on his/her sword, but if that part gets the ball rolling and puts the real culprits in jail (not even the torturers but the ones who gave them legal cover and the ones who gave the orders) then that's fine with me.