It didn’t have to be this way. If liberals in congress and the media had only acted like grown ups instead of losing their minds about “torture”, we could have avoided this whole messy thing. Instead, as soon as they took power they started calling for President Bush’s head on a platter over the torture issue. With no small amount of moral superiority I heard, time and again, how the Democrats allowed us to be proud to be American’s, and proud of our President again. Taking on the tenor of a moral crusade, torture became the cause du jour for those perched on the left. It seemed that the torture issue was a picture of everything that was wrong with the Bush administration: he was mean, hateful, self-interested,dumb, and unenlightened. The cry went out for America to return to the place of moral leadership in the world again. Thank God that the Democrats, those watchdogs of civil liberties, were once again at the helm.
Certainly if they had known about something so ugly as TORTURE, they would have vociferously objected.
As of May 9, the Times Online reported that Nancy Pelosi, then House Minority Leader denied being briefed on torture, saying,
Nancy Pelosi is still insisting that she knew nothing about the CIA’s use of waterboarding, despite the release of intelligence documents showing that she had been briefed by the Bush Administration on details of its harsh interrogation programme.
Torture is a brutal, sub-human practice and if it had gone on, surely the Speaker of the House would have stood up and decried the practice. The Wall Street Journal on April 22, 2009 reported on Pelosi’s desire for a “Truth Commission to investigate the interrogation of terror suspects during the Bush administration.” As it turns out, she could have just browsed the notes from her briefing on September 4, 2002.
What to do now?
The left has taken a very public and outspoken stance against what they call torture, and what others are calling “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” or “EIT’s”. Setting aside the fact that the techniques worked, we’re still faced with the situation of what to do now that Speaker Pelosi was clearly briefed on enhanced interrogation techniques which places here diametrically in opposition to where her very own party has placed themselves.
Well, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who said in 2004, “I think there are very few people… in America who would say that torture should never ever be used, particularly if thousands of lives are at stake.” That doesn’t sound like the current line from the left.
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) seemed to backtrack when she said, “I think it’s a tempest in a teapot really to say: Well, Speaker Pelosi should have known all of this, she should have stopped this, she should have done this or done that,I don’t want to make an apology for anybody, but in 2002, it wasn’t 2006, 07, 08 or 09. It was right after 9/11, and there were in fact discussions about a second wave of attacks.” That’s pretty much the point that we’ve been making all along. Now that Speaker Pelosi is implicated, that argument carries weight with the left.
Nancy Pelosi’s argument has been decidedly less nuanced, if not more difficult to follow & pin down. Glenn Thrush reported at Politico on May 8 that Pelosi admitted she was breifed, but not about Waterboarding. Then she went one step further and claimed that the CIA misled her.
It’s still no fault of hers, however. That should be clearly stipulated. At this point in the dog-and-pony show, I’m not surprised at the mid course rhetoric correction and passing of the buck. It’s become a party wide mantra. Before every press conference or any news that could slightly be tinged negative, we’re reminded that the problem was inherited from the Bush administration. There’s no personal responsibility whatsoever. Pelosi lies, repeatedly, on camera, and doesn’t think twice about it. She stammers like the chess team captain proposing to the prom queen, but she pins it on someone else.
Interestingly enough, that seems to be the underlying policy principle on the left. If you are poor, it’s not your fault, it’s because Warren Buffet makes too much money. If you kill five fellow soldiers in Iraq, it’s because the military is hard on people. If you can’t pay for yourself, someone else should be made to pay for you. It’s a life philosophy that doesn’t work. If you do not take responsibility for your self, someone else can not be made to take responsibility for you.
This is also the danger in big government programs, from a nationalized government health care option, to a nationalized banking industry, to Government Motors and her soon to be associates. Government officials are people, as prone to and likely to abuse their power as any. This is not exclusively a problem on the left. The right would get us into the same issues, it just seems that those on the right are more aware of their propensity, so they hold to a small government philosophy.
The problem with government isn’t in the theoretical. It’s in the practical. On paper, communism is a beautiful system, ensuring that everyone receives equally. The unfortunate reality is that there are no perfect people to administer such a system. Nancy Pelosi lies to us, on television, without batting an eye. What makes anyone think she would be more honest or forthright when it comes to administering any government program?
Nancy Pelosi’s recent problems illustrate the reason that government isn’t the solution to our problems, government is the problem. At play in every step and decision on this way was gaining or keeping political power. When she was briefed in 2002, she was interested in preserving power for herself (and protecting the United States, undoubtedly). When she stood with Democrats against President Bush on torture, there were political implications. When she blames the CIA, she is undoubtedly trying to position for political power. Who can fault her? She’s in a powerful position, and she likes it. Anyone would. There are benefits to a system like that. At the end of the day, however, they are just not ultimately beneficial for the general population of Americans.
So here’s to Pelosi’s call for a Truth Commission. I just wonder if she’ll be one of the ones being investigated.
Crossposted with updates at realityunwound