High-Ranking Democrats Approved of US-Sponsored Torture as Early as 2002

This WaPo story is certainly making the round, with most folks condemning the Dems involved and at least one person defending them. First, the story:

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.


This does not actually surprise me – but it does disappoint. I would have hoped that the Dems in the room would have at least raised objections in private.

Aravosis at Americablog
has a decent counterpoint:

It’s also clear that had Pelosi raised any private objections during the meeting – remember, it took place in the first year after September 11 – Bush and the Republicans would have leaked that fact to the public (like they just did) and destroyed her career and marked her publicly as a traitor. No member of Congress, no American, could have spoken up about anything in the months after September 11 and survived. It’s patently unfair to suggest that somehow because Pelosi didn’t object then that she doesn’t have the right to object now.


I’m not sure I agree with Aravosis about the potential for a career-destroying leak; this presupposes the Dems would continue to give in to the narrative regarding the necessity of the War on Terrah in the first place. I don’t want to see recent history rewritten that way; it was not a foregone conclusion that anyone who differed from Bush was going to lose. Please.

Second, Aravosis conflates two things: He claims that we shouldn’t deny Pelosi her chance to object now because she didn’t object then, but I think the point most people are making is that she (and the other Dems in the room) should have objected then on moral, not political, grounds. Torture is immoral in any political environment.

Lambert at Correntwire makes the semi-obvious point:

Well, I guess now I know why impeachment was “off the table.”


Meaning, of course, that since the Dems were in on it too, they could not reasonably expect to pin the whole thing on Bush.

He then proceeds to call Jane Harman (who I despise) a c***, meaning I’m not listening to him – or her – anymore. That’s way beyond the pale (yes, this is coming from someone who other four-letter words on a regular basis).

The point: This is another reason why I think the Dems are marginally – if at all – better than the Republicans. They have failed to raise any serious objections to the prospect of the U.S. torturing people since 2002, and to this day have failed to act on the moral imperative that their position creates.

Go Ron Paul!

(That’s a joke, by the way. He’s insane.)

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