Friday, May 15, 2009

The Pelosi Problem

I am becoming increasingly upset with Nancy Pelosi. I was never her largest fan, but I did watch her being sworn in and think it was a great step for women all over the country.

What I do know is this: She should have spoken up about torture sooner. 
Here is what we know:

On Sept. 4, 2002, less than a year after 9/11, the CIA briefed Rep. Porter Goss, then House Intelligence Committee chairman, and Mrs. Pelosi, then the committee's ranking Democrat, on EITs including waterboarding. They were the first members of Congress to be informed.

In December 2007, Mrs. Pelosi admitted that she attended the briefing, but she wouldn't comment for the record about precisely what she was told. At the time the Washington Post spoke with a "congressional source familiar with Pelosi's position on the matter" and summarized that person's comments this way: "The source said Pelosi recalls that techniques described by the CIA were still in the planning stage -- they had been designed and cleared with agency lawyers but not yet put in practice -- and acknowledged that Pelosi did not raise objections at the time."

When questions were raised last month about these statements, Mrs. Pelosi insisted at a news conference that "We were not -- I repeat -- were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used." Mrs. Pelosi also claimed that the CIA "did not tell us they were using that, flat out. And any, any contention to the contrary is simply not true." She had earlier said on TV, "I can say flat-out, they never told us that these enhanced interrogations were being used."

The Obama administration's CIA director, Leon Panetta, and Mr. Goss have both disputed Mrs. Pelosi's account. In a report to Congress on May 5, Mr. Panetta described the CIA's 2002 meeting with Mrs. Pelosi as "Briefing on EITs including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background on [legal] authorities, and a description of the particular EITs that had been employed." Note the past tense -- "had been employed."

Mr. Goss says he and Mrs. Pelosi were told at the 2002 briefing about the use of the EITs and "on a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission." He is backed by CIA sources who say Mr. Goss and Mrs. Pelosi "questioned whether we were doing enough" to extract information.

We also know that Michael Sheehy, then Mrs. Pelosi's top aide on the Intelligence Committee and later her national security adviser, not only attended the September 2002 meeting but was also briefed by the CIA on EITs on Feb. 5, 2003, and told about a videotape of Zubaydah being waterboarded. Mr. Sheehy was almost certain to have told Mrs. Pelosi. He has not commented publicly about the 2002 or the 2003 meetings.

Nancy, if this is true, you need to step down as Speaker and let someone else fill your shoes. You have misrepresented yourself and what you knew. You also stood by and did not object to these practices, even when you knew they were going on. And who cares if they were in the "planning" stages, you can object to something while it is being planned.

You are catholic, like myself, and we both know about Sins of Omission. Omission is, in Catholic teaching, the failure to do something one can and ought to do.

Romans 7:19 (New International Version)- For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

Come on Pelosi... get it together. We have elections coming up!


JMP said...

Pretty silly there Dustin. We don't really know what the CIA told her. And yes, they've been proved to be liars according to Sen. Bob Graham. Not only in content, but on their supposed dates that they previously claimed he was briefed. They claimed 4 times, he could prove only one with his famous obsessive personal notebooks of everything he had done during a day. NPR had the story too.

So yeah, the facts need to come out before anyone calls for anyone to resign. She did try to stop torture. You just were not paying attention, (that's OK few were), and it was vetoed by Bush when it was not blocked by the Senate in an endless series of filibusters.

And Porter Goss? Bush's deeply implicated & thoroughly corrupt & incompetent CIA Chief? (He was a corrupt Congressman too!) He was the main source of these leaks. Yeah, Believe in the Torturers, rather than the people who did stand in opposition to them. Should she have done better? Sure. But at the time the issue was going nowhere and was being played with as in political games with little prospect of much of anything being accomplished.

For purists such as yourself? You'd much rather be seen as 'right' on the issue than actually finally getting the votes in Congress & the Presidency to DO something about it. Obama has. With a stroke of his pen. Now you can take issue with him too about how imperfectly he has done so. But without the votes in Congress & in the Presidency? We'd still be doing it wholesale & it would have expanded & metastasized everywhere.

So yeah, I'll saying you & we don't really know diddly about what really went on, and that's a long & storied tradition with the CIA. So is lying for the President of your choosing. See: Here's a start:

But the entire site is filled with the Lost History of such CIA covert actions during the 1980's. I know it's a common conceit of youth to think that anything that happened before you were born or not covered by TV & mass media does not and did not really exist or was not too important, but such a background & context is really critical here.

Especially if you want to call out any Pol for not doing this & that. Pelosi did not torture. She was not in the chain of command who ordered torture. She did not justify torture with a series of bogus or highly dubious legal arguments & justifications which reached far back into the 'divine right of Kings' to do whatever they saw fit to 'save' their kingdom. We ceased to be a nation of laws and became a republic of lies.

And all you want is Pelosi to resign based on some marginal & incomplete reporting and some CYA by Leon 'Let's all try to get along' Panetta? Who's a neophyte at the top intell job & been there perhaps 60 days or less? He's relying on his staff, and has already told us that in effect, 'He does not know, and Congress should depend on an investigation of the matter to find out'. Yes, he did say that.

And calling on Catholic doctrine of the 'Sins of Omission' here is perhaps the silliest thing on this matter I've heard all week. This from the folks who invented, codified, systematized & documented more tortures that are still with us today in order to 'defend the faith' before, during & after the Inquisition? It took them a full 500 years to try and issue a half hearted apology for their sins of omission! Perhaps the church could do no better.

And yet you want still perhaps less than 6 souls (the Dem reps of 'the Gang of 8', the only ones briefed) to be sold down river for what their Corrupt Political Opponents have done? When they expressly LIED about what the military recommend here? Every. Service. Legal Dept. Head, JAG's on up & down DECLARED WHAT BUSH WANTED TO DO WAS 'ILLEGAL' AND CONTRARY TO THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS. From the Start. BUSHCO. COVERED THAT UP & REPEATEDLY LIED ABOUT THIS FACT. TO EVERYONE. FOR YEARS.

If Congress had known this crucial fact, they could have acted better. Instead there was a cover up, and a trail laid down to then Implicate the Dems in their nefarious & illegal doings. BTW? Bush broke the law by Just informing a 'select' number of Congresscritters rather than The Full Committee, as authorized & directed By Law.

So yeah, again, I know how hard it is to try and watch the bouncing ball what with the TV screaming about this or that juicy & exciting DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN from DEEPLY IMPLICATED & CORRUPTED SOURCES. But for college students? You guys have got to be doing better on the basic logic here.

Why not wait for a full investigation, then try bloviating & screaming? But for the most part? This looks really silly & massively ill informed. Again. JMP