They Still Think This Is About Politics

Rep. Peter Hoekstra writes in Pravda the WSJ op-ed pages:

Congress Knew About the Interrogations

It was not necessary to release details of the enhanced interrogation techniques, because members of Congress from both parties have been fully aware of them since the program began in 2002. We believed it was something that had to be done in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to keep our nation safe. After many long and contentious debates, Congress repeatedly approved and funded this program on a bipartisan basis in both Republican and Democratic Congresses.

At some point they are going to figure out that for most of us, we don’t care if the person has a ( R ) or (D) behind their name when they were instituting a policy of torture. That is what is so depressing (to me, at least) about the Ari Fleischer’s and the Thiessen’s of the world. They honestly seem to think this is nothing more than a partisan witch-hunt, the same old Washington gotcha poltics. It isn’t. When you torture people, you have crossed a really clear line. Innocent people are dead. Lives have been ruined. Our international reputation has been destroyed. Yes, the Bush administration will get most of the blame, but that is because they were in charge and they did this, not because of what party they happen to belong to. If Jane Harman and Nancy Pelosi knew about this and ok’d it, they are just as culpable.

129 replies
  1. 1
    Fencedude says:

    Exactly.

    If we lose some congresscritters and a senator or two over this, then well, tough cookies.

  2. 2
    gwangung says:

    If Jane Harman and Nancy Pelosi knew about this and ok’d it, they are just as culpable.

    Hell, yeah.

  3. 3
    Darius says:

    They honestly seem to think this is nothing more than a partisan witch-hunt, the same old Washington gotcha poltics.

    They don’t actually think this; it’s just a convenient way to spin things. And the media buys it, hook, line, and sinker.

  4. 4
    jenniebee says:

    If we lose some congresscritters and a senator or two over this, then well, tough cookies.

    I hope they keep pushing this argument. Outside the Village, this is a feature, not a bug.

  5. 5
    Lola says:

    The right is trying to make this about politics but I think the Obama administration is rightfully resisting. I think that is why they are not all over the TV defending the release of the memos. President Obama is not treating prosecutions or investigations as a political fight where he has to sell his position to the American people. If all goes well, this will be decided in the courts and not public opinion. We should expect the Republicans to try to win the daily media battle like they did in the campaign, but we should remember they have already lost the war. The Justice Department is in charge now and they are on the wrong side of the law, morality and history.

  6. 6
    Dave S. says:

    @Darius: It’s not just a convenient way to spin, it’s the way to spin to stay out of court.

    I’m with the other commenters on this. Whoever broke the law should face the consequences. Will it be traumatic? Yep, but that’s how it’s got to be if we want to actually learn anything from this.

  7. 7
    Lilly von Schtupp says:

    Agreed. I want the rule of law back. If that means losing some dems, so be it.

  8. 8
    JohnR says:

    Republicans are copyrighted? How oddly appropriate! Anyway, I completely agree. Incidentally, listening to that known left-wing hack Diane Rehm on the radio I got to hear this fellow Marc Thiessen opine on the issue. In all seriousness, it is hard to listen to listen to this man talk without forming the conclusion that he is simply insane. He sees a reality that is simply not visible to me, and is not recognizable. I don’t claim clairvoyance, and I tend more to the Cassandra than to the Pollyanna approach, but the way he sees things makes me wonder how he functions in any day-to-day manner.

  9. 9
    Fencedude says:

    Also any chance we could get Reid to take part of the fall for this?

    Pretty please? With a cherry on top?

  10. 10
    r€nato says:

    Wow, 7 comments and most of them saying what I was going to say. Hoekstra thinks he’s issuing a threat. I, too, agree that it would not necessarily be a bad thing for Democrats who went along with the Bush regime on this, to lose their seats to better Democrats who will stand up for Democratic policies rather than going along with Republicans when they are advocating illegal wars, unconstitutional search and seizure and torture.

  11. 11
    Gus says:

    They honestly seem to think this is nothing more than a partisan witch-hunt, the same old Washington gotcha poltics

    That’s because they are pathologically unable to think outside of that frame. Everything is politics to them.

  12. 12
    Ajay says:

    Its amazing how illogical and mostly dumb most americans are. Each time I say this is wrong or equivalent, I am labeled as a liberal/D because you have to be one in order to criticize actions of Bush/R. To me it made no difference whether it was R or D next to the name. Media is so dumb that it wants to show that its all partisanship and nothing else. By this core definition, anything that R does just cant be wrong becuase you are not one of them and hence unable to judge them. They expect justice to be as partial as they are.

    I am thankful I wasnt brought up here(Red/Blue divide) but I am scared what would be my kids like.

  13. 13
    Marcus says:

    And when will the talking heads acknowledge that it was a Freedom of Information Act request that finally brought this stuff to front and center? If the FoIA request had not been made, I doubt that this stuff would have come to light — ever.

  14. 14
    Ugh says:

    Congress repeatedly approved and funded this program on a bipartisan basis in both Republican and Democratic Congresses.

    Yeah, cause even granting that the Bush administration was completely honest with the Congresspeople who were briefed and divulged every single detail, there were, what, 8 of them that would have full knowledge of the program? Thus, the fact that some of the rest of the 528 senators/representatives voted to fund the CIA means torture was “approved and funded on a bipartisan basis.”

    There’s no editorial and op-ed page in America that has more contempt for its readers than the WSJ’s. They just sit around and say “I wonder what kind of bull shit we can spew today in support of the GOP.”

    Wankers.

  15. 15
    Nim, ham hock of liberty says:

    Well, you see, that’s why we don’t prosecute child abuse, as long as Mom and Dad – who don’t usually get along these days – both agreed that they needed to beat the child.

  16. 16
    Mike S says:

    So is he saying that congress approved torture?

    After many long and contentious debates, Congress repeatedly approved and funded this program on a bipartisan basis in both Republican and Democratic Congresses.

    I don’t remember any of those votes. Nor any debate.

  17. 17
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    Here’s something Pelosi did know:

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was notified that intelligence agents had eavesdropped on Rep. Jane Harman’s conversations three years ago.
    This means the Speaker knew about the wiretap when she decided to stop Harman from becoming chairwoman of the House Intelligence Committee.
    It also blunts Harman’s (D-Calif.) allegation that her eavesdroppers acted improperly.

    Linky
    And here’s something Jane Harman knew but she omitted to better suit her narrative:

    Rep. Jane Harman was promised the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee, according to a letter obtained by The Hill. But the promise was made by former House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt, not Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
    The Hill obtained a copy of the letter Thursday as it became a point of disagreement between Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

    Linky

  18. 18

    If Jane Harman and Nancy Pelosi knew about this and ok’d it, they are just as culpable.

    Congress has no authority over this interrogation program. It was performed under the authority of the President, without Congressional authorization, and he asserted his authority to conduct such actions without any Congressional authorization. Not to mention, the Congressional leaders informed about the program were given the information in a classified briefing, and would have been violating the law if they’d discussed it with anyone else. Being informed about a crime doesn’t make you guilty of it.

  19. 19
    cleek says:

    It was not necessary to release details of the enhanced interrogation techniques,

    actually, it was. they had to release them because the ACLU won (or, was about to win) a court case requiring the documents’ release.

  20. 20
    Comrade Dread says:

    They honestly seem to think this is nothing more than a partisan witch-hunt, the same old Washington gotcha poltics. It isn’t.

    Right on.

    It’s about the rule of law and holding our ‘leaders’ accountable to the same set of rules we’re held to. It’s about not degenerating into a Banana Republic where the ruling elite can do as they please and thumb their nose at the law.

    If a bunch of Democrats have to be impeached and incarcerated too, I’ve got absolutely no problem with it.

  21. 21

    Politically, it might look bad for people like Pelosi and Rockefellar – if these allegations turn out to be true.

    But so what? As John says, this isn’t about party politics. It’s about criminal acts and the rule of law.

    Republicans like Hoekstra don’t recognize any higher principles than their partisan interests, so they assume that nobody else does, either.

  22. 22
    Napoleon says:

    @JohnR:

    . . . I got to hear this fellow Marc Thiessen opine on the issue. In all seriousness, it is hard to listen to listen to this man talk without forming the conclusion that he is simply insane.

    Didn’t he sound like it. In a way he is the perfect person to have advocating the pro-torture position since he comes off as being a bit unhinged.

  23. 23
    Comrade Dread says:

    Being informed about a crime doesn’t make you guilty of it.

    I’m pretty sure a creative prosecutor could find something to charge them.

  24. 24
    Dracula says:

    What’s GSAVE stand for again?

  25. 25
    Cat Lady says:

    @Lola:

    they are on the wrong side of the law, morality and history.

    For reasons I’ll never understand, this is the point that fails to be learned over and over again. These policies were so radical. That Republicans have staked their public reputations on them just gobsmacks me. I guess it’s mostly stupidity, but defending torture is just so craven and… ugly, for the whole world to see. Pol Pot and Torquemada become your political touchstones? Because history has looked so kindly upon them? Really?

  26. 26
    BlizzardOfOz says:

    Oh, so you’re saying … the entire spectrum of human thought, from Beltway Republican to Beltway Democrat, was in agreement? Well then, there’s no need to even debate this further. Case closed!

  27. 27
    RememberNovember says:

    Massive Coverup Fail in 1, 2,3…

    And it’s not the WHOLE Congress, just those senior members on specific committees.

    Bless the wisdom of the founders for self-policing stupidity.

    It all depends , really on how the OLC under Bush sold them on the tactics used.

  28. 28
    JK says:

    @Marcus: Most talking heads and members of the Washington Press Corps are so dumb or lazy, they don’t even know what the hell FOIA means. FOIA is something used by real journalists not courtiers, which is what the talking heads and members of the Washington Press Corps are.

  29. 29
    MathInLA says:

    I wish I could tell when they’d have call in shows for this sort of thing; I don’t watch TV regularly so I have no clue, but someone needs to be out here and say it:

    It doesn’t matter who they were, Democrat or Republican or Libertarian or Commie or whatever. If they tortured someone, they should be prosecuted. ‘Just following orders’ is not an excuse. If you ordered someone to torture someone else, you should be prosecuted, same reasoning right on up to the last toad who gave the order. If you wrote the legal ‘cover’ for it, you should be prosecuted for conspiracy. And so on.

    If you approved a program that endorsed, implicitly or explicitly, the use of torture, you should be impeached, or this should be slammed against you during your primary. I despise conservatism as both what it claims are its goals and what it actually does, but I would rather see an untainted Republican (with the caveat that I wouldn’t throw my support behind one who said or otherwise indicated they WOULD approve torture) in office before the most liberal politician who gave the thumbs up.

    And that goes all the way. I have no idea if President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary Clinton, Speaker Pelosi, or Majority Leader Reid were in on an advise and consent process for any of this. No matter how much I agree with or disagree with either, if they endorsed torture, I want them impeached, just as much as I’d want to see Republicans who had those positions before impeached and prosecuted. I don’t care if we have to impeach the entire Executive Branch down to the first one on the lorder of succession who wasn’t tainted by this. That might be Eric Holder, if I recall right; he might have to resign or something if this isn’t all done by independent prosecutor but…

    Why is this so hard for people to understand? We are not criminalizing politics. We are trying to see that crime is punished. Arguments about whether or not there’s any use to it which somehow could not be gotten via other means are pragmatic, I suppose, but pragmatic considerations need to come after we’ve considered moral ones. I don’t want biological or chemical warfare used to defend me either. I don’t want to see deliberate strikes on civilian targets, I don’t want to see food supplies or medical ones removed from the civilian populace supporting an enemy.

    I do not want to participate in a society that believes that criminality, that evil, is an acceptable tool. I want the future hands of agents to be tied. I want there to be a hesitation that gives “candor” if it will lead to a criminal and/or evil act. Why is this even up for debate?

  30. 30
    cleek says:

    GSAVE = Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism

  31. 31
    Zifnab says:

    If Jane Harman and Nancy Pelosi knew about this and ok’d it, they are just as culpable.

    Oh please. Just as culpable? Give me a break.

    I’m really tired of this GOP bullshit. “Oh, but the Democrats did it too, so that makes it ok! and the Democrats are worse!!”

    Given the kind of information coming out of the White House in ’02, ’03, and ’04 (read: LIES!) and the way the House and Senate leadership repeatedly strong armed and intimidated Congressional membership, I have a hard time believing that any Democrat with a military base in his district or a federally sponsored program on the GOP chopping block who’d been sold a pack of lies about ticking time bombs and terrorist sleeper cells ready to murder us in our beds is suddenly “just as culpable” as the thugs doing the lying and arm twisting.

    That’s like saying, “Well, George Bush screamed ‘Terrorists! Everybody riot!’. But there were Democrat rioters and Republican rioters, so let’s not punish anyone and forget all the property damage we caused.”

  32. 32
    eyepaddle says:

    @balloon juice

    What Gus said.

    It’s not so much that I want a “D” edge over “R;” but I’d like an “ethical and intelligent” edge over “evil and stupid.” The Republicans don’t hold the patent to stupid malevolence, but they do have a commanding market share.

  33. 33
    Bokonon says:

    Hoekstra and Theissen and crowd portray this as a partisan witch hunt for two reasons.

    First, it is tactically convenient, and serves as a great way to rally the troops (and obscure their own culpability). Hey … everyone was torturing! Accountability is just politics! Whatsamatta you?

    This is cynical, and has a horrible effect on the rule of law. But it worked in the aftermath of Watergate and Iran Contra. So of course they are going to do it again.

    Seond, these people are projecting. Raw power is the way they see everything – and accountability under the law is all just politics rather than a question of right or wrong, legal or illegal. That’s the way they approached governing. And that’s what they expect in return.

    This makes all the braying from the right about Obama being a dictator and a fascist and wiping out civil liberties pretty revealing. These people had no problem with the general principle of a leader with unlimited powers and who stands above the law – just so long as he came from the right as opposed to the left. Now that things have turned, the people that used to be apologists for Bush don’t want themselves and their allies to personally be in the crosshairs of all that unlimited power.

    -Bokonon

  34. 34
    growingdaisies says:

    I sent an email to my friends the other day telling them that if anyone wanted to write a short note or letter to their congresspeople urging torture prosecutions and the impeachment of Bybee, they could email it to me and I would fax it to their senators and reps.

    I know people can be intimidated by picking up the phone and calling, and that people often think email is ignored. This seemed like a way to get around that.

    I just wanted to suggest this, since people here seem equally horrified by the thought of this going unchallenged.

    If you don’t own a fax machine (I don’t), there’s a service, Faxzero.com, that faxes your uploaded file. You can do two free faxes a day (an ad is placed on the cover sheet), or pay $2.

    Anyway, just a thought. I really think Congress and the administration is waiting to see the public response to these memos. Every letter or call is going to make a difference.

  35. 35
    John Cole says:

    @Dracula: Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism, which was the Bush re-branding effort for the War on Terra that was so stupid it lasted only a week or so. It tickled me, though, and I felt was emblematic of everything wrong with these clowns.

  36. 36
    Mr. Stuck says:

    I don’t remember any of those votes. Nor any debate.

    It’s the beauty of national security secrets. You tell a couple of dem congresscritters what your going to do, with the caveat, if they tell anyone else, they are breaking the law. So really, it doesn’t matter if Harmon or Pelosi gave the thumbs up or not. Their knowledge was dead end and the Bushies knew it, and no doubt chuckled to their hideous selves, our asses are covered in case this gets out. And now we have the Hoekstras and various wingnuts dutifully playing their role, claiming dems are also to blame, so it’s a stalemate. It’s a bad faith argument by utterly dishonorable people. But then we already knew that.

  37. 37
    patrick says:

    what’s so depressing is Pete is my congresscritter…..don’t blame me, I haven’t voted for him in the 12 years I’ve lived here.

  38. 38
    Armando says:

    FWIW, Harman objected to torture in a classified letter.

    Pelosi did not. Her argument is that she was only informed that torture was deemed legal, not that it would be used.

    On this issue, Harman appears to have covered her ass, while Pelosi did not.

  39. 39
    sparky says:

    @Cat Lady: i think that’s a sideshow–a distraction because the argument is that torture “works.” it’s a subset of the main argument: “he kept us safe”. and i think they are right to note that, historically, it works pretty well.

    until it doesn’t.

  40. 40
    wilfred says:

    This was predictable enough – we have now entered LBJ territory – “In order to get the Great Society, I had to give them the war”.

    Or, if your prefer, Liebermanism – with us on everything except the war. So now, all of the Democratic groups who want gay marriage, stem cell research, universal health care, etc. are looking at the same choice LBJ had – do you punt a Senator or two over war/torture if it means getting what YOU want?

    That’s the politics of dilemma that I’ve written about dozens of times.

  41. 41

    Torture … torture … torture. Come on Cole you missed Charles Krauthammer Day! It was yesterday.

  42. 42

    […] John Cole: At some point they are going to figure out that for most of us, we don’t care if the person has […]

  43. 43
    MikeJ says:

    do you punt a Senator or two over war/torture if it means getting what YOU want?

    Depends on who they’ll get replaced with. Everybody’s talking about Dems from California. Ought to be easy enough to keep a Dem in the seat, and new candidates will see what brought the officeholders down.

    If it was a Dem from some place like Oklahoma, who if they left would be handing the seat to the GOP, but right now it’s not even an issue. Note that I’m not saying it’s acceptable in that case, only that your argument doesn’t apply until such a situation arises.

  44. 44
    omen says:

    i’m still waiting for someone to explain why bushites ordered wiretaps before 9/11.

  45. 45
    Cat Lady says:

    @John Cole:

    a/k/a Twirling, Twirling Twirling Towards Freedom

  46. 46
    AnotherBruce says:

    Incidentally, listening to that known left-wing hack Diane Rehm on the radio I got to hear this fellow Marc Thiessen opine on the issue. In all seriousness, it is hard to listen to listen to this man talk without forming the conclusion that he is simply insane.

    I think that NPR has some culpability for letting a pro-torture advocate use public airwaves to espouse his beliefs. Would they let someone on their program to advocate infanticide? To me, a sadist is a sadist, I don’t care what excuses they are using to justify that behavior.

    I’m not advocating criminal sanctions here, free speech is a constitutional right. I just find it amazing that any journalist would in any way give any kind of forum to these monsters.

  47. 47
    Elie says:

    While I agree that these are serious crimes on which the truth should be pursued, many here are still pretty cavalier about the costs of trials and investigations.

    These are not simple undertakings, they are in many ways unprecedented for this country, the outcomes not guaranteed and the downstream impacts — blithely put as “loosing a few democrats” and such need to be considered seriously and with due respect…

    I hope that the administration pursues the course to achieve justice, but I also believe that justice may not always be strictly legalistic in its dimensions and there are serious trade offs on other kinds of justice for the people in our country. Truth commissions and trials sound straightforward and righteous but they will be necessarily highly political and not necessarily violence free.

    We have a big monster that is cowed in the cave, but by no means dead or without means to defend itself. Do not be naive about that in our ardor for punishment. They.will.use.what.they.need.to. Our side needs to stay committed to the end — first airing the truth. The punishment and the time it will take to get there may be something that has to be played and manipulated…

    At least those are my thoughts. I don’t think its just a straight path from here to justice nor is the timeframe for it necessarily a short one. There is a lot of poison, a lot of fear and a lot of damage that can be done yet.

  48. 48
    JK says:

    OT

    Sean Hannity Offers To Be Waterboarded For Charity By Charles Grodin
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....90354.html

  49. 49
    Mike says:

    if the person has a ( R ) or (D) behind their name
    If it’s a (D), they beat the shit out of the guy with the perception of wrongdoing. If it’s an (R), they scramble like hell to convince us that it’s okay, because at one point in time, there was this other guy with a (D) who’s just as guilty. In the village, bipartisan crime is self-negating.

  50. 50
    The Moar You Know says:

    So now, all of the Democratic groups who want gay marriage, stem cell research, universal health care, etc. are looking at the same choice LBJ had – do you punt a Senator or two over war/torture if it means getting what YOU want?

    @wilfred: Count me as one who believes that universal health care is absolutely necessary – and that torture is totally unacceptable. Fuck, wilfred, I don’t know. Seriously. I don’t fucking have an answer to that question. Because getting one does preclude getting the other.

  51. 51
    JK says:

    @AnotherBruce: NPR is afraid of its own shadow.

  52. 52
    gwangung says:

    @Elie: That’s the need for overwhelming public support, to generate the capital and the public resources, not only to press onward through the prosecution proces, but to get convictions.

  53. 53
    scav says:

    oooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s messy and unpleasant and unsightly!

    Please. Don’t assume we all think it’s going to be a path strewn with roses or that we’ll be greeted as liberators. And I really really get the whole mills of justice grinding slowly thing. Nevertheless. Fire up the mills.

  54. 54
    OniHanzo says:

    Oh noes! The bipartisanship! Who will think of the bipartisans?!

    The conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page this morning says, “Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice…Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret.”

    Source

    Accountability = poison to these ratfuckers. Cram their guts full of it and sew up their lips, as far as I’m concerned.

  55. 55
    Elie says:

    Gwangung and Moar you Know —

    I hear what both of you are saying..but everyone is absolutely right that we must go forth and turn this baby into the wind…

    We will have to pray (or meditate) on the need for justice and also for great wisdom and not a little luck too…

    Does anyone know of any good reads on trials and truth commissions and other nations’ experiences with this? I am woefully ignorant but need to ramp up…

  56. 56
    Mr. Stuck says:

    A first hand account on what happened when this started.

  57. 57
    canuckistani says:

    Accountability = poison to these ratfuckers. Cram their guts full of it and sew up their lips, as far as I’m concerned.

    I was going to say “Fiat Justitia ruat caelum”, but I like yours better.

  58. 58
    SGEW says:

    Does anyone know of any good reads on trials and truth commissions and other nations’ experiences with this?

    Ooo. That’s a good question: all the reading I’ve done on the topic has been through Human Rights and Int’l Law texts (good stuff, but a li’l dry, ya know?). Anyone have any recs for more popularized accounts?

    Also, this reminds me, again, of my thoughts from Obama’s very first day in office, when his very first official act was to proclaim this, which resonated very strongly with me, as it sounded very much like this.

    He knows what he was in for, and he’s in it for the long haul.

  59. 59
    Mr. Stuck says:

    @Mr. Stuck:

    Already covered. Note to self. Read previous threads.

  60. 60
    Johnny Pez says:

    In the Karl Rove Party, everything is always about politics.

  61. 61
    TenguPhule says:

    It was not necessary to release details of the enhanced interrogation techniques, because members of Congress from both parties have been fully aware of them since the program began in 2002.

    The First Rule of Fight Club, we do not talk about Fight Club.

    The Second Rule of Fight Club, we do *NOT* talk about Fight Club.

    The Third Rule of Fight Club, if you talk about Fight Club, we cut your cajones off.

  62. 62
    Jay C says:

    They honestly seem to think this is nothing more than a partisan witch-hunt, the same old Washington gotcha poltics. It isn’t.

    Leaving, for the moment, the term “honestly” out of it – and where creatures like Dick Cheney are concerned “honest” has no relevance to the conversation whatso-f’n-ever – making the torture-responsibility prosecution issue one of “partisan politics” is really the only avenue left for the Bush Administration lackeys and their GOP/rightwing apologists.

    And they will try: desperately. It’s all they have left. Their legalistic mumbo-jumbo “authorizations” have been exposed as so much bullshit; their ass-covering to try to blame-shift hasn’t proved effective; the torture itself has produced little valuable intelligence (AFAICT; the apologists’ cite of the “Library Tower Plot” is a ludicrous falsehood, which doesn’t help their case); and making the core issue one of “politics” (vs. “law” or “morality”) is about their last hope.

    Oh, that; and the expectation that there is a hard core of jingos out there who will watch their backs on the “security” issue – the diehard 25% who probably are “pro-torture”, see Barack Obama as Satan/Stalin/Hitler/all three; and (they imagine) will be out there in large numbers, marching in the streets, vehemently protesting the “political persecution” of those noble, well-meaning government agents who were after all, doing it all to “keep us safe”.

  63. 63
    HyperIon says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Because history has looked so kindly upon them?

    you’re quoting Ashcroft IIRC.
    even that idiot Ashcroft (covering the statue of Justice’s breasts!) knew this was a loser.

  64. 64
    Tom says:

    Seems like McCain got Rove’s memo:

    McCain compared the potential prosecutions with the actions of “banana republics” that “prosecute people for actions they didn’t agree with under previous administrations.”

  65. 65
    bvac says:

    Only a republican could decry how partisan washington has gotten in the past 3 months, and in the next breath rant about the Pelosi-Obama-Reid recession.

  66. 66
    Ed in NJ says:

    Scarborough must have gotten his talking points, because every 30 seconds, it seemed, in the 5 minutes I watched his show today, he interjected something along the lines of “the Democrats approved this also”.

    We really have reached the point where the media has reduced every issue to Dem vs. Repub. Nothing is ever just the right thing to do, and we are seeing that with the obstructionism of every move Obama or the Democratic congress makes.

  67. 67
    SGEW says:

    [Y]ou’re quoting Ashcroft IIRC.

    You recall correctly:

    Then-Attorney General Ashcroft was troubled by the discussions. He agreed with the general policy decision to allow aggressive tactics and had repeatedly advised that they were legal. But he argued that senior White House advisers should not be involved in the grim details of interrogations, sources said.
    . . .
    According to a top official, Ashcroft asked aloud after one meeting: “Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly.

    (emphasis added)

    Frail flutterings of conscience; crocodile tears for our souls.

  68. 68
    HyperIon says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: actually i linked to Cole’s version of K-day in a thread yesterday. Cole’s version was much less idiotic but still….

  69. 69
    TenguPhule says:

    McCain compared the potential prosecutions with the actions of “banana republics” that “prosecute people for actions they didn’t agree with under previous administrations.”

    So now torture is considered “actions we disagree on” now?

    Fuck it, can we give McCain back to Vietnam?

  70. 70
    HyperIon says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Because getting one does preclude getting the other.

    repeating that over and over does not make it so.

  71. 71
    timb says:

    @Comrade Dread: Like conspiracy

  72. 72
    wilfred says:

    @HyperIon:

    Doesn’t matter; it is so. Nothing will come of this, there’ll be no truth commissions or independent counsels – too many people on both sides looked the other way or jumped in feet first.

    Bush and his gangster pals stand the most to lose, of course, but in exchange for letting whatever remains of their reputations (!?) they’ll trade their support for things that matter to the Democratic rank and file.

    Smoothness counts, not honor – they were only Arabs anyway.

  73. 73
    The Cat Who Would Be Tunch says:

    @MathInLA:

    I do not want to participate in a society that believes that criminality, that evil, is an acceptable tool. I want the future hands of agents to be tied. I want there to be a hesitation that gives “candor” if it will lead to a criminal and/or evil act. Why is this even up for debate?

    Because if certain acts, immoral and despicable they may be, are shown to be “effective” and “successful”, then the use of such acts may be perfectly fine. It also depends on who’s doing it to who.

    Japanese soldiers waterboarding Americans = Bad
    American intelligence officers waterboarding brown people = Good? (please excuse my use of the Fox modifier)

    @JK: Wow. I should probably refrain from saying how I feel about this matter.

  74. 74
    r€nato says:

    @AnotherBruce:

    I think that NPR has some culpability for letting a pro-torture advocate use public airwaves to espouse his beliefs.

    You do understand that having a douche like Thiessen on the show does not imply endorsement of his rancid views?

    Would they let someone on their program to advocate infanticide?

    If that person is a former Bushie who wishes to defend infanticide or, say, crushing a child’s testicles (something which John Yoo admitted could be permissible under the I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Torture guidelines he wrote) as a matter of government policy in the name of fighting the islamic hordes, yes, they should have him or her on so that we can all know who these monsters are and what the fruits of their neo-con philosophy are.

    I’ve heard some truly loathesome jackholes (Joseph DiGenova is one) on Rehm’s show. It was hard to listen to but one of the things I enjoy about NPR is that they credit their audience with having a lot of intelligence. I hardly think your average NPR listener – unlike your average Fox News viewer – is going to sit there and unquestioningly swallow whole such arguments.

    If the GOP is going to stand for torture as national security policy, let them be as open as possible about that. That includes having them on NPR to defend those views.

    (one of the few enjoyable parts of listening to Thiessen this AM was hearing him scornfully spit out the words “ACLU” and “human rights brigade”, as if civil rights and human rights are bad things.)

  75. 75
    r€nato says:

    I think that NPR has some culpability for letting a pro-torture advocate use public airwaves to espouse his beliefs.

    Technically speaking, NPR does not use any public airwaves. It is the member stations who choose to broadcast NPR programming. Nobody would hear Diane Rehm’s show if affiliates did not pay to air it.

  76. 76
    JL says:

    Unless your Richard Shelby, the release of classified information can land you in jail. My comment is not to excuse the members of Congress who turned a blind eye,

  77. 77
    MathInLA says:

    @The Cat Who Would Be Tunch: I’m… reasonably certain that you’re joking, since I’m only an infrequent commenter here, but, man. I know there are people out there who think that way and it angers me deeply.

    It’s not different when we do it.
    Evil is evil is evil.

  78. 78
    gwangung says:

    Bastards.

    They pretty much put the bullet into Spc. Petersen’s head.

  79. 79

    […] John notes, whether Nancy Pelosi knew or didn’t know about the Bush administration’s authorization […]

  80. 80

    […] John notes, whether Nancy Pelosi knew or didn’t know about the Bush administration’s authorization […]

  81. 81
    Sasha says:

    @cleek:
    Ah, but Obama could have redacted the memos with a barrelful of ink, leaving only the indefinite articles intact, so he must have acted partisanly.

  82. 82
    Angela says:

    Who in their right mind would have a problem with “torture” if it keeps our country and our fellow citizens safe? I am so tired of the panty waist wimps who are more concerned with having people “like” us than respect us. I’ll take respect any day. Of course it is hard to gain the world’s respect when our pres bows down to any and everyone and has about as much intelligence as a turnip. Please quit saying how smart the man is – he isn’t and I am tired of being embarrassed by his naivete’ and lack of judgment. I want W back. At least no one thought of him as a wimp and he kept us safe for eight years.

    Obama needs our prayers but our country will not survive his and Nancy P’s lack of leadership and wisdom. I don’t want to just “get along”, I want my country back!! Bi-partisanship is killing us and we had better wake up!

  83. 83
    AhabTRuler says:

    I posted this the other day:

    The Republican party was eyebrow-deep in a pile of R. M. Nixon’s very pungent feces before they recognized that Drunk Dickie had to go.
    Even if Obama has broad public support, prosecutions would (please god, will) cause a wormsign shitstorm the likes of which even God has never seen.

    If prosecutions go forward, it will be the defining issue of his first term, if not presidency. However, I think that he the DOJ should prosecute, and if any Dem’s are guilty, fuck em’, they see a jury too.

  84. 84
    Sasha says:

    @MathInLA:

    Why is this so hard for people to understand? We are not criminalizing politics. We are trying to see that crime is punished.

    It isn’t, but by politicizing crime, the criminals in question get to tread water (and avoid justice) for a bit longer.

  85. 85
    The Cat Who Would Be Tunch says:

    @MathInLA:

    I was making those statements sarcastically, hence my use of quotes around the words “effective” and “successful”. The annoying thing is how the line keeps getting redrawn. First, it was “We don’t torture”. When word got out that we used techniques that had been classified as torture, the techniques became “enhanced interrogation.” And on and on. Unfortunately, the latest push by the right include the fact that these techniques netted actionable intelligence which justified their use and that the torture allowed detainees to “fulfill” their religious obligations.

    It just never ends.

  86. 86
    Slide says:

    It isn’t, but by politicizing crime, the criminals in question get to tread water (and avoid justice) for a bit longer.

    I’ve read this four times and I still don’t have a clue as to what you are saying. Politicizing crime?

  87. 87
    Slide says:

    Who in their right mind would have a problem with “torture” if it keeps our country and our fellow citizens safe? I am so tired of the panty waist wimps who are more concerned with having people “like” us than respect us. I’ll take respect any day. Of course it is hard to gain the world’s respect when our pres bows down to any and everyone and has about as much intelligence as a turnip. Please quit saying how smart the man is – he isn’t and I am tired of being embarrassed by his naivete’ and lack of judgment. I want W back. At least no one thought of him as a wimp and he kept us safe for eight years.

    I’m new here (actually used to post quite a bit when Cole was a rightwingnut) so…. this is a joke right? the way Doug used to be before he became a big shot? you know… not real. Right?

  88. 88
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Slide:

    Let me try —

    It isn’t [hard to understand], but by politicizing crime [by claiming that’s what the Democrats are doing], the criminals in question get to tread water (and avoid justice) for a bit longer.

    At least, that’s how I read it.

  89. 89
    MathInLA says:

    @Sasha: Boggles the mind, really. Not that they’re doing it, but that there are people who are actively working to assist them IN doing so.

    @The Cat Who Would Be Tunch: I figured, but sometimes on the net I’m not sure. The amount of crazy cowards out there just leaves me stunned, sometimes.

    @Slide: My interpretation of Sasha’s words is that politicizing crime is the process of taking a criminal act and laying deep cover bullshit and excuses and conditionals over it in an attempt to provide a way to get away with it– to treat it as a part of the process of political power, and thus legitimate disagreement, rather than the abhorrent act that it is.

  90. 90
    Angela says:

    The only joke is Obama and Pelosi. It makes me sad that the first woman in that role is a complete airhead and our first African American pres is, well, not the sharpest tack in the bunch. Why couldn’t we have J.C. Watts or Clarence Brown. Clarence is not a politician but is one of the wisest men I have ever known. Of course that could be one reason he is not a politician:)

    Our country is worth fighting for and we had better decide to fight for it or we will lose it and the liberties we all take for granted. Where is Jack Bauer when we need him?

    I honestly am not trying to make light of a situation that is far too serious to be funny. I am scared of where we are headed and the lack of discernment, wisdom and common sense we see in Washington. George Bush was not perfect and I did not always agree with him. But I never doubted his love for this country and I cannot say the same about Obama. I am convinced that he hates this country and is doing everything in his power to destroy it. He reminds me of the smarmy kid on the playground who had been told once too many times how “cute” he is and is just dumb enough to believe it. Never have liked smarmy people! Take away his teleprompter and he can’t even get through a single sentence. Aren’t you embarrassed by his lack of intelligence and total disdain for this great country?

  91. 91
    Ajay says:

    @Angela

    You find Obama has “lack of intelligence” and you are comparing him to Bush. A rotten potato has more brains than Bush.

    Hey, God Bless America. American God just loves torture and killing 100s of thousands of people for keeping us safe.

  92. 92
    Sasha says:

    @Slide:

    :)

    What I’m trying to say is that the Cheneycrats are taking a simple criminal issue and arguing that it’s actually a complex and partisan political issue:

    Q: Are these acts torture?
    A: Yes.

    to

    Q: Are these acts torture?
    A: Well it depends what your definition of torture is, but they deserved it and it saved lives so who cares – the only reason this question is being asked is because Democrats are trying to score political points and payback with a partisan witch hunt.

    Like I said, politicizing crime. The fact that Rove is accusing Dems of “criminalizing politics” is just an example of his classic tactic of reversing the issue.

  93. 93
    Slide says:

    I am convinced that he [Obama] hates this country and is doing everything in his power to destroy it.

    Fascinating ain’t it?

  94. 94
    MathInLA says:

    @Slide: Well, the three options are fairly obtuse sarcasm, troll, or believer, so I’ve been endeavouring not to engage; I mean, given that it goes a bit beyond the pale for sarcasm, you’re left with either feeding a twit on their need for attention, or engaging a cowardly sadist. No real good option that way.

  95. 95
    Slide says:

    Thanks Sasha.. and I agree but the problem (for them) is that strategy will tie torture with the Republican party in a way that will be very detrimental down the line. The further we get away from 911 the more bizarre and immoral the whole debate will seem. They are picking the wrong side of history for short term advantage.

  96. 96
    HyperIon says:

    @Slide:

    I’m new here (actually used to post quite a bit when Cole was a rightwingnut) so…

    Hey, slide, I remember you.
    FYI I haven’t seen this particular psychopath (Angela) post here before.

  97. 97
    Angela says:

    Ajay – you are having a bad day. Not sure where you get your “facts” but apparently facts aren’t your friend! God is a God of love but He is not a wimp and anyone who thinks that we can just play nice with people who hate us is delusional at best. Do you not see anything right about our country? Are you not proud of and thankful for those who have risked or given up their lives to give us the freedom to write on these blogs without fear of persecution or beheading? You do remember that beheading is one of our enemies favorite forms of torture don’t you? I dare say that anyone (even a terrorist) with a lick of sense would take waterboarding over having their head chopped off anyday. Grow up. The time for singing “kumbaya” (sp?) is over and it is now time to accept the realities of a world where hate is preached to children from birth and being an American is seen by some to be punishable by death. I love my country and I am thankful for the privilege of being an American. I feel pity for those who take that privilege for granted and can only hope you do take the time to really learn about our country and the sacrifices that were made on your behalf. Not to do so is not just ingratitude but also self imposed ignorance. Do you really want to keep repeating the words spoon fed to you by those on the lunatic left and not educate yourself?

  98. 98
    Slide says:

    @HyperIon: wow, you remember me, that makes me feel good. Yes, I kinda lost an interest when I couldn’t taunt and ridicule Cole’s wingnut positions. He is way too rational now to be much fun.

  99. 99
    SGEW says:

    @Slide: Well, now you can taunt and ridicule Angela instead.

  100. 100
    Sasha says:

    @Slide:

    They are picking the wrong side of history for short term advantage.

    Par for the course. The Rove doctrine was to always win the shortest cycle and thus win perpetually.

    But they don’t realize that’s a pre-post 9/11 mindset.

    :)

  101. 101
    HyperIon says:

    This is where we are going to find out just how big a hypocrite someone is. The whole “we don’t torture” position is slowly being replaced with:

    1. it’s “torture”, not the REAL thing like pulling out fingernails.
    2. if we think it MIGHT save american lives, why wouldn’t we do it? only a stupid liberal would argue otherwise.

    I don’t see how we can remain a signatory to the Geneva Conventions if nobody is prosecuted. Common article 3 clearly states:

    “[O]utrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment,” are strictly prohibited.

    How can ANYONE argue that the techniques used were not humiliating and degrading? However, IANAL.

  102. 102
    Angela says:

    Gosh, I feel slighted. No response?

  103. 103
    HyperIon says:

    @Angela:

    Gosh, I feel slighted. No response?

    1. i’m looking at you in comment #101
    2. who would Jesus “torture”? given that your “God is a God of love”

  104. 104
    Elie says:

    103 – Hyperlon —

    Do not bother it, please…

  105. 105
    tomjones says:

    @Cat Lady: But you see this program was effective! So that makes it legal. Or something else Karl Rove told me.

  106. 106
    SGEW says:

    No response?

    Here’s my short and sweet:

    No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political in stability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

    It’s not just a good idea. It’s the law.

    If that’s too complicated for you, try this:

    For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

    You can look up the cite on that one yourself.

  107. 107
    tomjones says:

    @tomjones: Yes, tomjones, you idiot, but here’s a useful analogy for you.

    Say your family is starving. You steal a loaf of bread. You have just very effectively fed your family, but you’re still going to jail for breaking the law.

    And yes, I’ve just used Les Miserables to refute the logic of Karl Rove. Eat it wingers!

  108. 108
    Mr. Stuck says:

    Do you really want to keep repeating the words spoon fed to you by those on the lunatic left and not educate yourself?

    My spoof detector is singing the Star Spangle Banner — In Swahili.

  109. 109
    Angela says:

    Jesus took my punishment on the Cross. He bore the penalty for my sin. I owed a debt I could not pay and He paid a debt (mine) that He did not owe. Read Isaiah 34 for a glimpse of His righteous judgment but then read Isaiah 53 for a glimpse of His enduring love. He is a God of love but also of judgment. Please hear my heart. I want no one to be hurt or tortured for tortures sake. But I have no problem with standing up to the ones who hate us and this country and I expect our elected officials to do what needs to be done to keep us safe. If they do not have the backbone to do so – they need to be removed from office. Weakness is an invitation for tyranny. Running from a bully only makes the bully stronger. That’s one of the lessons we all should have learned in kindergarten. Saving American lives is the main thing. Being friends with people who hate me has never been a goal in my life. I want to stand for what is right even when doing so is not politically correct. (Have you ever noticed that anything that is “politically correct” is usually morally wrong?) I pity those who spout silly platitudes in an attempt to make themselves feel superior. I respect those who stand firm for their convictions after having done their homework to know WHY they believe something.

  110. 110
    Mr. Stuck says:

    Being friends with people who hate me has never been a goal in my life

    So why did you become a republican?

  111. 111
    Angela says:

    SGEW and Stuck

    Not sure what you are trying to say – what exactly is a “spoof detector?” Not sure what you are trying to express by quoting Matthew 16:26. While it is a verse that brings great encouragement and challenge it hardly applies to this discussion. Or maybe you could give a bit more detail on your thoughts?

  112. 112
    SGEW says:

    I pity those who spout silly platitudes in an attempt to make themselves feel superior.

    Now the Convention Against Torture and the Gospel of Mark are “silly platitudes.”

    Who knew?

    [edit: I know I shouldn’t feed, but sometimes I can’t help it. Sorry all.]

  113. 113
    Angela says:

    Again – Huh? What does saying “so why did you become a republican” have to do with anything that we have discussed thus far?

    Actually, I never said I was a republican. What I did say was that though I did not always agree with Bush, I never doubted his love for this country. That is quite a leap you took there. Are you saying that democrats are not allowed to disagree with Obama? Is there no discussion or independent thought allowed in your view of the democrat party?

  114. 114
    Mr. Stuck says:

    Is there no discussion or independent thought allowed in your view of the democrat party?

    Who said I was a democrat? Is their no discussion or independent thought allowed in your spoof?

  115. 115
    Angela says:

    Touche’ – forgive my assumption.

  116. 116
    tomjones says:

    @Angela:

    I expect our elected officials to do what needs to be done to keep us safe. If they do not have the backbone to do so – they need to be removed from office.

    What makes you think torture keeps us safe, despite all evidence to the contrary?

    And I’m also unclear as to why you think politicians should be removed from office for upholding the law and Constitution. Shouldn’t it, y’know, be the exact opposite?

  117. 117
    Angela says:

    I have no problem following the Constitution of the United States. It’s the UN and other such useless organizations that I have NO use for.

  118. 118
    Angela says:

    I almost forgot – there is great evidence that our tactics have worked. You are still alive right? If our enemies had had their way we all have been dead years ago.

  119. 119
    Angela says:

    I almost forgot – there is great evidence that our tactics have worked. You are still alive right? If our enemies had had their way we all would have been dead years ago.

  120. 120
    KRK says:

    Aw, geez, you guys. Had you only resisted the urge to respond a little longer the joker (not troll) might have toddled off into someone else’s playground. There was already one explicit plea for attention.

  121. 121
    AhabTRuler says:

    @KRK: Don’t blame them, we needz mor better trollz plez!

  122. 122
    zoe kentucky says:

    Angela is my favorite parody troll EVAH. Seriously, I don’t even think Bush himself would argue that beheading is a form of torture. Love it!

    Although if she’s not a parody troll I surely hope she’s writing from a nice padded cell somewhere.

  123. 123
    Angela says:

    I am so sorry to have disrupted your little party. I honestly thought this was a site open for intelligent debate. Obviously, I was wrong. So I will retreat back to my “cell” (actually a beach with sun, sand and some of the most beautiful scenery on God’s green earth) and no longer bother you with my opinions. But I do think it is sad that your scope of thought is so very narrow as to exclude those who have honest disagreement with you. Maybe – one day – when you are more secure in your beliefs you will not feel so threatened by the thoughts and opinions of a woman who disagrees with you. At least one can hope. Have a great day and remember that any living thing that refuses to grow and change will die. I believe they call that evolution.

  124. 124

    […] John Cole, talking sense: At some point they (Republicans–ed.) are going to figure out that for most of us, we don’t c… […]

  125. 125
    Jonny says:

    Right on.

    If the GOP is going to define this as a political issue then they are basically defining their party as the party of torture.

    They’ve stooped low before, but this is just … unbelievable really.

  126. 126
    zoe kentucky says:

    I almost forgot – there is great evidence that our tactics have worked. You are still alive right? If our enemies had had their way we all have been dead years ago.

    This is based on what exactly? Conjecture? Beliefs held by the Bush administration? The very people who might (should) be facing criminal charges? They are war criminals, what they did was immoral and illegal and they freaking knew it. Instead of reaching for the higher moral ground they willingly stooped to the level of our enemies. All for what?

    In your mind just because we haven’t all died that is all the proof you need that torturing prisoners of war “worked.” What if that had absolutely nothing to do with it? Do you realize how many years generally go in between large scale attacks? They are patient, the first World Trade Center bombing was in 1993, the second was 2001. If there is an attack tomorrow are you prepared to say, definitively, that it’s because we didn’t torture enough? Or perhaps admit that the images of us torturing our enemies like common thugs helped to create more enemies?

    Do you know that while they haven’t blown anything up here in the past 8 years they have done plenty of damage elsewhere? Or is America the only country that matters to you?

  127. 127
    Joe Gall says:

    Party affiliation is an irrelevant issue. Enablers of torture should be charged with crimes against humanity and, if convicted, executed.

  128. 128
    Angela says:

    This is not the only country that matters to me but it is the most important one. We are Americans and if we don’t protect ourselves from evil we will no longer be in a position to protect others. Protecting other countries/people is what we have done and I pray it is what we will continue to do. However, we must be strong in order to continue that heritage.

    The fact that we are still alive and more Americans have not been killed in another 911 type terrorist attack is proof that our tactics have worked. Only those who are either naive or unintelligent would think otherwise. Which are you?

    I promise not to respond again to these comments. Just couldn’t help myself.

  129. 129
    Madupont says:

    I fail to see that protecting other countries/people is what we have done. After failing time after time to avoid assaulting poverty stricken stressed out Agfhanis who experienced years of bombardment after bombardment, we moved on to sneak attack Iraq in a set up of false evidence. Someone here earlier made the point that we denied their children medical care and sufficient food before eventually phosphate bombing them. An exageration of this as “Christ-like desirable” is an abomination.

    As recently as last Summer, approx.nine months ago, George W. did nothing for the Georgians who were misled to think that because they were his allies in Iraq, he could be relied upon to come to their emergency aid. Putin then proceeded to one up him at the Olympics in a private tete a tete. George is a coward and an opportunist who often proved in his younger years before attaining his exulted position (into which he was pushed by his family’s overweening presumption of superiority) that he was not remiss to commit (or,to play with a little frat boy humor)because what is a little torture among friends?

    What is so Christ-like about this band of thieves and upstarts who rigged an unimaginable situation from which to get the most bang for their bucks and left us holding the bag to figure out what will be the most effective resolution to the serious reduction of our economic abilities in the face of other crises to which we must attend.

    While meanwhile there is this nagging responsibilty to many of our neighbours in this world who lost faith in the average US citizen when we did nothing to prevent these far rightist morons from enacting and transacting fascism. If you want to know examples of how this has been handled before this, start looking into the Nurnberg hearings and trials. I will tell you one thing that really upsets me, several years ago a very elderly lawyer in New York, who had been there working at the prison as a boy, announced he could hardly wait for the opportunity to try these US criminals. I am terribly afraid that was the case and that he probably hardly could wait any longer. It was a wish but more than likely a physical impossibility.

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