Cynical Synapse

Fri, 15 May 2009

Ring Around the Pelosi

Filed under: Congress, Legal, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 7:08 am

I know she’s the Speaker of the House, but I’m not sure what’s caused Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to be so in the press of late. The issue at hand is did she or did she not know that, uh, “enhanced interrogations” were taking place with enemy combatants, which we now call detainees. Generally, “enhanced interrogations” refers to waterboarding, the most talked about method in the debate on whether or not the techniques constitute torture. Pelosi seems to be quite vocal about waterboarding being wrong, especially now that President Obama has declassified some Bush Administration memos with opinions on what was permissable and in view of Obama’s clear limitation to interrogation techniques in the Army’s interrogation field manual.

Problem is, it seems, as a member of the Intelligence Oversight Committee, Rep. Pelosi is complicit in the very acts she now huffs and puffs in condemnation of. At first, she denied knowledge and even claimed the CIA misinformed Congress. Does it sound sorta like, “They told me they did not waterboard that terrorist”? Bring another famous Democrat to mind?


Her initial denial is just the beginning of Pelosi’s efforts to dance around her role. While acting as though she has the moral high ground, the tightening circle of facts strongly suggest a deepening spiral of enabling, at the very least.

Seems the Washington Post published an article about that very 2002 briefing Pelosi claims CIA said they were not waterboarding. In the article, two officials said “enhanced interrogation” was described in detail and Pelosi and colleagues raised no objection at the time. People wonder how ordinary Germans permitted the Holocaust to occur; this is how. When folks could take action, but don’t, immoral or illegal methodologies gather momentum. It becomes too easy to stick your head in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist or rationalize it’s for a better purpose.

We expect our elected representatives to speak for us, to provide checks and balances on the other branches of government. That’s the fundamental basis of the US Constitution. To that purpose, our representatives have access to information the rest of us don’t, such as all those CIA briefings Pelosi sat through. We expect them to not sit quiet when things are not right. To do so is not unlike the common defense presented at the Nuremburg Trials—”I was just following orders.” Just as that was not a valid defense then, neither is “they don’t come in to consult, they come in to notify” or “it’s secret.”

Hat tip to theblogprof on the Jon Stewart vid. Check out Politico for an overview of the did she or didn’t she know. Oh, and is anybody else distracted by Pelosi’s gestures when she speaks? Is she trying to emulate a concert conductor? Maybe an NFL referee; she just hasn’t figured out how to signal the play is dead.


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