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Torture becomes losing issue for Democrats

By
May 15, 2009

Not that the Democrats need any help from the sidelines but they ought to give up on the torture issue. It isn’t working for them.

The Bush administration is gone. No one on the other side, with the exception of former Vice President Cheney, is speaking up on behalf of brutal interrogation techniques, many of which has since been outlawed.

President Obama has ruled out prosecuting the CIA agents who used them in good faith and, except for the party’s left wing, there is little enthusiasm for going after the Bush administration lawyers for their tortured reasoning in support of torture.

It is hard to see what good a broad congressional investigation into interrogation techniques under the Bush administration would accomplish beyond what a pending Justice department report will do. The Obama administration is visibly unenthusiastic about such a probe, and the two intelligence committees may yet decide against it. Even less desirable is a show-trial event like a "Truth Commission" where witnesses receive immunity in exchange for honest testimony.

Even the debate over a probe has become a political distraction. Republicans are demanding to know when and how much House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew about the interrogation methods when she was a member of the Intelligence committee. One ranking Republican has suggested that she should be the first witness in any investigation.

As a matter of law and policy, the torture issue is settled. The Democrats should let it go.

5 Responses to Torture becomes losing issue for Democrats

  1. Dionysis

    May 15, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    It’s clear the Mr. McFeatters is either terminally ignorant or is trying to help criminals escape accountability. Let me try and enlighten him, if it is the former:

    A Gallup poll done the end of April showed a majority of Americans favor some kind of independent investigation into these CRIMES, so his comment that only “the left wing” is pushing for such investigations is flat-out wrong.

    It doesn’t really matter whether President Obama is enthusiastic about discharging his legal obligations or not; it is not his call, and adherence to the law and accountability for breaking it is transcendent of political concerns, unless you’re one of the un-American pro-torture crowd.

    As for use of the inflammatory and dismissive phrase “show trials,” it might be helpful for readers to understand that this is an corruption of the phrase as it was initially defined, essentially tagged to Staln when he would fabricate ‘evidence’ against those he wanted to purge and ‘find’ them guilty. No one is fabricating anything; these people are (apparently) war criminals, and the evidence just keeps coming.

    Why should we pursue this? How about (1) it’s our legal and moral obligation, (2) international treaties require it and (3) as Rep. Shelton Whitehouse of Rhode Island correctly noted (to paraphrase) “it is dangerous to have a blueprint for this kind of illegal behavior existing, which allows future presidents the opportunity to do the same or worse; only the sunlight of an investigation can fumigate the stench of criminality.”

    And on the last point about the issue becoming a “political distraction,” that is basically due to the efforts of the pro-torture, un-American crowd to make it a partisan issue. Nothing like diversion to avoid accountability. And on that note, it does not matter if Nancy Pelosi and the entire 435 members of Congress knew about this: it is illegal behavior of the most serious kind, and people should be investigated, and if culpable, indicted and prosecuted. No matter who they are or what political party the belong to. Let it all out and let the chips fall where they may.

  2. AustinRanter

    May 15, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    I believe that Dion y sis has made clear and concise comments and opinions below. I don’t think I could add anything more.

    Thanks Dion for your posting.

    “It’s clear the Mr. McFeatters is either terminally ignorant or is trying to help criminals escape accountability. Let me try and enlighten him, if it is the former:

    A Gallup poll done the end of April showed a majority of Americans favor some kind of independent investigation into these CRIMES, so his comment that only “the left wing” is pushing for such investigations is flat-out wrong.

    It doesn’t really matter whether President Obama is enthusiastic about discharging his legal obligations or not; it is not his call, and adherence to the law and accountability for breaking it is transcendent of political concerns, unless you’re one of the un-American pro-torture crowd.

    As for use of the inflammatory and dismissive phrase “show trials,” it might be helpful for readers to understand that this is an corruption of the phrase as it was initially defined, essentially tagged to Staln when he would fabricate ‘evidence’ against those he wanted to purge and ‘find’ them guilty. No one is fabricating anything; these people are (apparently) war criminals, and the evidence just keeps coming.

    Why should we pursue this? How about (1) it’s our legal and moral obligation, (2) international treaties require it and (3) as Rep. Shelton Whitehouse of Rhode Island correctly noted (to paraphrase) “it is dangerous to have a blueprint for this kind of illegal behavior existing, which allows future presidents the opportunity to do the same or worse; only the sunlight of an investigation can fumigate the stench of criminality.”

    And on the last point about the issue becoming a “political distraction,” that is basically due to the efforts of the pro-torture, un-American crowd to make it a partisan issue. Nothing like diversion to avoid accountability. And on that note, it does not matter if Nancy Pelosi and the entire 435 members of Congress knew about this: it is illegal behavior of the most serious kind, and people should be investigated, and if culpable, indicted and prosecuted. No matter who they are or what political party the belong to. Let it all out and let the chips fall where they may.

  3. storky

    May 16, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Torture is a WAR CRIME!

    Americans will not let it go. If we fail to prosecute war criminals, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al, we will have established precedent that only proles can be convicted of crimes.

    That won’t play well at all.

  4. pondering_it_all

    May 16, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    It seems REPUBLICANS won’t let it go: They have accused Speaker Pelosi of being complicit, so now she has the right to demand a full, public investigation of the facts.

    Talk about stupid! They should have just kept as quiet as possible. VP Cheney going on all the talk shows to promote torture is another brilliant idea. It’s like an inept criminal defense where the attorney claims both mistaken identity and self-defense for his client:

    1) We didn’t torture.
    2) Well, we did torture but it was legal because the President said so.
    3) Well, it was a war crime but Speaker Pelosi knew about it…

    This last claim is particularly stupid because even if she DID know, there was not a single thing she could have done about it. Even discussing it with anybody else outside the small circle of “need-to-know” insiders would have been a felony.

  5. bjiller

    May 18, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Torture not partisan.

    Mr. McFeatters:

    Have you become so immersed in partisans politics that you consider torture to be simply a partisan issue to be discarded if it doesn’t work? Torture is wrong, and is a crime. I suppose those who murder should be let off, too, if it isn’t helping the party and if their lawyer told them that murder was legal. Those who ordered or authorized torture should be prosecuted. If we try to ignore it, we as a nation will forfeit the remaining scintilla of moral and ethical authority on the subject of human rights.

    If some Democrats get caught up in it, so be it. If they signed off on torture, they need to be prosecuted, too.

    The Democrats will drop the torture issue at their peril, just as the GOP forfeited its credibility regarding fiscal conservatism during the spendthrift W. Bush years.