Seeing Dick’s crooked smile again on talk TV. Watching Nancy parse, fumble, flip, fluster, clarify and accuse. Hearing the Newt call for a leader to step down for something other than sex, racism or corruption. Watching liberal pundits be interrogated night after night by the gleeful wing nuts.
It was cruel. I just wish it was unusual for there to be more outrage at someone who is presumed guilty of not doing than those proven guilty of the most heinous crimes.
House Majority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D) of California, stands accused of having attended a highly classified intelligence briefing in September 2002 (Republicans held the majority in the House at the time and she was not in the minority leadership) that included a description of the “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs) used by the Bush Administration – and not doing much as a result. Further, at different times this week, she denied she was briefed on water-boarding, accused the CIA of not being truthful about the information presented, and had great difficulty describing her role without betraying the secrets of the briefings.
What did she not do and when? Who else knew and didn’t act?
Beginning in 2002, the CIA held 40 separate intelligence oversight hearings that included information on EITs. It is believed that at least 65 members of the House and Senate attended at least one of these meetings including John McCain (R, AZ), Pat Roberts (R, KS), John Rockefeller (D, WV), Carl Levin (D, MI), Dianne Feinstein (D, CA), Evan Bayh (D, IN), Barbara Mikulski (D, CA), Russ Feingold (D, WI), Lamar Alexander (R, TN) and Richard Shelby (R, AL).
Pelosi was included at one of those briefings along with Porter Goss (R, FL)) who later became head of the CIA. The subject of the briefing was the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah who had been captured in Pakistan in 2002. The interrogation techniques used on him were discussed and the representatives were reassured that was legal. Most of the focus is presumed to be about Zubaydah’s confession (later proved to be phony) that Al Qaeda terrorists use chemical weapons, helping justify invading Iraq.
I’m not here to be an apologist for any of them. What they did not do is disgusting. It was September of an election year. The first anniversary of 911. The Rove propaganda machine was at full tilt. Bush, the decider, had decided to go to war. No one in Congress had facts. The Misleader-in-Chief and his dark sidekicks, Dick and Don, had threatened the patriotism of any one that wasn’t for them. It is easy to look back and see how convenient it was for our leaders to be informed, but not have the courage to martyr themselves just because it was the right thing to do.
Even if she knew of the water-boarding, just remember the controversy that surrounded Pelosi after her election two months later as the first female Minority Leader (of the lame duck session). It is pretty easy to see why she would might been reticent to stand up in January as House Majority Leader and throw away the Democrats’ promised agenda by announcing the Bushies were war criminals.
Bring on the Truth Commission. The tortured truth needs it.