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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Culpability

Jesus H. Christ. Is there really someone over the age of, say, ten who believes Pelosi on this shit? Probably the same sort of numbskull who seriously thinks that the Cheney administration invented torture, or that it has since been completely and utterly discontinued in every way, shape, and form by ourselves and our proxies. As Gob Bluth might say, "Come on!"

The furor was heightened on Friday when the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon E. Panetta, pushed back against an assertion by Ms. Pelosi, a Democrat who is the House speaker, that she had been misled by agency representatives seven years ago about harsh treatment of terrorism suspects, a claim that struck a raw nerve at the spy headquarters.

Mr. Panetta, a former Democratic congressman from California and a longtime associate of Ms. Pelosi, issued a statement that said the agency’s “contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that C.I.A. officers briefed truthfully,” a rebuttal of Ms. Pelosi’s claim on Thursday that intelligence officials had lied to her.

The deepening dispute over what Ms. Pelosi was told in September 2002 has challenged her credibility and raised new questions about whether she passed up an early opportunity to expose the Bush administration’s harsh treatment of detainees.


Let's recap where Democrats were in 2002, shall we? Operationally, it was essentially an extension of where they were in 2000 -- they fielded a dreadful, awkward candidate who got rope-a-doped by a complete dipshit, they failed to fight sufficiently for what was theirs, preferring to occasionally emit some puling noises from the peanut gallery as Cheney and Bush literally rewrote the country's energy and financial securitization policies.

Then 9/11 occurred, and the Democrats immediately reverted to their natural stance -- a defensive crouch, terrified that any reluctance to go along with the Cheney administration's plans would be perceived as treasonous. The CIA could have told Pelosi straight up that at that moment they had Abu Zubaydah's balls wired to a car battery and half his fingernails removed with pliers, and she would have been both okely and dokely with all that. Anyone really doubting that needs to immediately dismount the unicorn they're riding around Rainbowland, and get in touch with the real world.

Bob Graham, a former Democratic senator from Florida, who as the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee underwent a briefing similar to Ms. Pelosi’s about three weeks after hers, sides with the speaker. He said he recalled a “bland” session.

“I do not have any recollection that day of there being a discussion of something that would have been as neon as waterboarding or other torture techniques,” Mr. Graham said.

He said his confidence in the C.I.A.’s account of the briefings had also been shaken by what he said was an incorrect assertion by the agency that he had been briefed on four dates. Mr. Graham, who famously keeps a detailed record of his daily activities, checked and determined that the agency was wrong about three dates and that he had attended only one session before leaving the Intelligence Committee.

“This is just a small chapter of a long, long book of C.I.A. inaccuracies, particularly in the early part of this decade,” he said.

But Mr. Graham was not present for the briefing with Ms. Pelosi. The only other lawmaker present, Porter J. Goss, then a Republican congressman from Florida who was the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and later became the C.I.A. director, has contradicted her account. He said he and Ms. Pelosi were told that the agency intended to use the harsh methods.


Well, if you can't trust the two men who had breakfast, as the towers were coming down, with one of the motherless fucks who took down the World Trade Center, who can you trust? It is pointless to get into a he said/she said pissing contest between Pelosi and Goss and Panetta or whoever. The fact of the matter is that while we have typically relied on our authoritarian proxies to carry out the real wet work, America's (and Americans', for that matter) discomfort with torture has always been more a matter of circumspection than morality. Obama tacitly admitted as much last week, understanding intuitively that beyond the high-minded rhetoric, the average 'murkin is more worried about photographs than actionable offenses.

You would think that in a country that never misses an opportunity to tout its exalted status with Jebus, the Golden Rule might have a higher priority, that the most pragmatic and patriotic argument against (and barometer for detecting) torture is that we would not tolerate these actions being committed upon an American (though of course, in Pinochet's Chile for example, we did), that we actually executed enemy soldiers in World War 2 for using waterboarding as an interrogation tactic. But the fact of the matter is that we could be using pears on people, and not only would there be animals like Cheney announcing that it was absolutely necessary to do so, but craven opportunists like Pelosi would sit there and parse their own words and actions, when they know full well that they knew what they were doing, and chose to remain politically viable.

This would be one thing if it were in the service of an actual formative change, or even the mildest of retributive action against the actual perpetrators, but neither of those are any more forthcoming than Pelosi suddenly forgetting to look out for number one, even as she steps into number two.

2 comments:

The Vile Scribbler said...

Well, I haven't exactly been looking hard, but you're the first non-right-winger I've seen who isn't trying to find some way to make excuses for Mrs. "Fuck Buddha and that goddamned 1st Amendment".

Joe Blow said...

Good to see a new post.

"The CIA could have told Pelosi straight up . . . and she would have been both okely and dokely with all that."

I actually like Pelosi. I agree that she and the dems have been spineless losers who rolled on their backs for the Bushists. BUT I still think she "wanted" to resist but was unable to stop the power of the force.. of being called a wimp.

so.. to not be called a wimp they were wimps. But look at Reid, Rockerfeller, Harman, and the rest of them. arguably worse I say.

So who do I trust more? Rove and the CIA vs Pelosi? errr... well like the lady said let's have a truth commission, and then I would add, a spl prosecutor..

she also said

"I unequivocally oppose the use of torture."

so that is some small thing.