Torture becomes losing issue for Democrats

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.