May 08, 2009

It seems the national commentariat is obsessed with the subject of torture, and there is talk of a “€œtruth commission”€ to investigate and hold the Bushies accountable, up to and including The Decider himself. This is nothing but a lot of posturing on the part of liberals who know nothing will come of it: it was clear from the beginning that holding anyone accountable, never mind prosecutions, would never happen, and that the revelations of “€œenhanced interrogation techniques”€ are merely the occasion for the release of large quantities of hot air. That’s because both parties knew about the “€œEIT”€s (that’s government acronym-ese for enhanced interrogation techniques, i.e. waterboarding, beatings, sexual humiliation, etc. ad nauseum.) As I wrote in my “€œBehind the Headlines”€ column on April 20:

“€œThe whole thing was hidden from the public”€“but not from congressional leaders, who were informed of the harsh interrogation methods and never objected or revealed what they knew.

“€œThis last is key to understanding one good reason why no one is being prosecuted, and why the top Obamaites (although not their rank-and-file followers) are generously declaring it’s time to “move on.” Going after the torturers, we”€™re told, would be too divisive. Well, yes, it would divide the Democratic Party, first and foremost, as the complicity of Pelosi & Co. is made all too clear and it turns out that torture is a bipartisan sport.”€

Just about two weeks later, in Friday’s [May 8] edition of the Wall Street Journal, we read:
“€œCongressional leaders were briefed in detail about techniques used in the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation program, according to a new intelligence document.

The document appears to conflict with recent statements from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was then the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee. Ms. Pelosi has said she hadn’t been told that the CIA was using the technique known as waterboarding, or simulated drowning. According to the document, Ms. Pelosi was one of the first lawmakers briefed on the interrogations in 2002….

“€œThe document lists 40 briefings provided to lawmakers on intelligence, judiciary and other panels, the first of which was provided to then-House intelligence committee chairman Porter Goss, a Florida Republican, and Ms. Pelosi of California on Sept. 4, 2002. That briefing is described as covering “€˜enhanced interrogation techniques.”€™ It included the use of the techniques on detainee Abu Zubaydah, background on legal authority, and “a description of the particular [enhanced interrogation techniques] that had been employed.”€™

“€œA recently declassified Justice Department memo on the CIA program dated May 30, 2005, states the CIA used waterboarding to interrogate Mr. Zubaydah “€˜at least 83 times during August 2002.”€™”€

What did Pelosi know and when did she know it suddenly becomes an important issue: will she be a victim of the Democratic-run “€œtruth commission”€? Like the French Revolution, will the Obama-ites wind up turning on their own leaders (except, of course, for the Dear Leader)?

It’s not like suspicions of Democratic complicity in use of torture are anything new. In a televised interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, broadcast earlier this year, Pelosi denied having been briefed on EITs employed against “€œenemy combatants”€ by US government personnel:

“€œNo.  No,—the fact is, they did not brief…well, first of all, we’re not allowed to talk about what happens there but I can say they did not brief us with these enhanced interrogations that were taking place.  They did not brief us.  They were talking about an array of interrogations that they might have at their disposal.

MADDOW:  Techniques in the abstract, as if they were not being used?

PELOSI:  We were never told they were being used.

MADDOW:  You were told they weren’t being used?

PELOSI:  Well, they just talked about them, but—the inference to be drawn from what they told us was that these are things that we think could be legal.  … But I can say flat out, they never told us that these enhancement interrogations were being used.“€

Caught in a web of lies, Pelosi is going to make quite a spectacle of herself trying to claw her way out of it. She”€™ll probably do no better than Calamity Jane Harman, whose recent outing as a would-be obstructor of justice in the AIPAC espionage case has the bigmouthed Democratic hawk spluttering with rage and phony indignation. Pelosi will no doubt be less theatrical, certainly less articulate—and it looks like Lanny Davis has another client. While Harman and her supporers are yelping that the charges against her are the concoction of Republicans such as Porter Goss, the former CIA director and very partisan GOP congressman, it was Leon Panetta’s CIA that released the documents fingering Pelosi, albeit at the request of congressional Republicans.

Suddenly, the idea of prosecuting high government officials for war crimes under the statutes prohibiting torture is a lot more appealing”€“providing, of course, that we can get all those who were in the loop and said nothing. The trial of Nancy Pelosi for war crimes”€“now that’s a prime candidate for Court TV.


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