We are Democrats. They are enablers.
Well, I guess now I know why impeachment was "off the table." Anybody for Barney Frank as the new speaker? Joby Warrick and Dan Eggen in WaPo:
In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique[ly illegal and unconstitutional?] CIA program designed to wring [torture] vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the Bipartisan group, which included future-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites [gulags] and the harsh techniques [torture] 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 [not to mention the US military**]. But on that day, no objections were raised.
With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods [torture] during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).
Yeah, the Village is a big sack of pus just waiting to be lanced. Unfortunately, some of that pus is blue.
Nice going, there, Leader Nance.
Oddly, or not, administration officials with integrity [one thinks of some JAGs, or Bruce Fein/Jack Goldmsith types] led the fight, and Congress, and the Democrats, followed:
Information about the use of waterboarding nonetheless began to seep out after a furious internal debate among military lawyers and policymakers over its legality and morality. Once it became public, other members of Congress -- beyond the four that interacted regularly with the CIA on its most sensitive activities -- insisted on being briefed on it, and the circle of those in the know widened.
Meanwhile, Leader Nance has no comment, and that cunt Jane Harman wrote a CYA Sternly Worded Letter for the secret files:
Pelosi declined to comment directly on her reaction to the classified briefings. But a congressional source familiar with Pelosi's position on the matter said the California lawmaker did recall discussions about enhanced interrogation [torture]. 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.
Harman, who replaced Pelosi as the committee's top Democrat in January 2oo3, disclosed Friday that she filed a classified letter to the CIA in February of that year as an official protest about the interrogation program. Harman said she had been prevented from publicly discussing the letter or the CIA's program because of strict rules of secrecy.
And I suppose if we lived under a legitimate government, with the rule of law, and a Constitution, and all that stuff, those "strict rules of secrecy" might mean something.
Ford slapped economist Herb Stein Alfred E. Kahn around for using the word "recession," Stein said he'd use the word "banana" instead. "When I say banana, think 'recession'. I think we must be wary of the risks of a banana."
So there you are. If Harman or Pelosi or any of them had wanted to blow the whistle, they could have figured out a way; don't say "torture"; say "banana"! They had a platform, and they had the power--the power the voters gave them in 2006.
Let's ask the Apollo 13 question: "What do we got on the spacecraft that's good?"
Since the voters put them back in power, the Democrats have taken impeachment off the table, punted on the war, never figured out a way to hold Republicans accountable for filibusters and obstructionism, so legislation is in the toilet, and never managed to use oversight power to do anything more than chip away around the edges of the Bush regime--though they have written a great number of Sternly Worded Letters.
And now, top Democrats turn out to be enablers of war crimes by our lawless executive. What a surprise. Harry, Nancy, nice work.
What do we got on the spacecraft that's good?
Please, can we give Leader Nance the heave-ho? She's a fuckup, and an enabler. Everything Barney Frank isn't. Barney Frank for Speaker!
NOTE ** Of course waterboarding was torture. Always has been, until the Village realized they'd been implicated in it, and started obfuscating. WaPo again:
Waterboarding as an interrogation technique has its roots in some of history's worst totalitarian nations, from Nazi Germany and the Spanish Inquisition to North Korea and Iraq. In the United States, the technique was first used five decades ago as a training tool to give U.S. troops a realistic sense of what they could expect if captured by the Soviet Union or the armies of Southeast Asia. The U.S. military has officially regarded the tactic as torture since the Spanish-American War.
NOTE Glenn, of course, called this back in August, after the FISA capitulation:
With each new Democratic enabling event — from the recission of habeas corpus to the approval of “enhanced interrogation techniques” to the FISA capitulation and the complete silence (at best) over the administration’s increasing belligerence towards Iran — it becomes more and more difficult to know whether the Democratic leadership is affirmatively supportive of this agenda or simply afraid to oppose it due to the political risks. Either way, on the most egregious abuses of this administration, there is little to no effective opposition, and increasingly, there is much affirmative bipartisan support for those abuses.
And the headline is a riff on Pelosi's famous statement: "They are advocates. We are leaders."
UPDATE What Glenn said:
Whether it's the war in Iraq or illegal surveillance or the abolition of habeas corpus and now the systematic use of torture, it's the Bush administration that conceived of the policies, implemented them and presided over their corrupt application. But it's Congressional Democrats at the leadership level who were the key allies and enablers, never getting their hands dirty with implementation -- and thus feigning theatrical, impotent outrage once each abuse was publicly exposed -- but nonetheless working feverishly the entire time to enable all of it every step of the way.
Fuck you, Nancy. And fuck you, Harry. Indeed, this debacle is yet another reason to Say Fuck proudly. I like to reward good behavior. But bad behavior needs to be punished. It's the only thing that will get their attention.
Senator Clinton? Senator Obama? What's your stand on all this? Are you with Bush, Pelosi, and Reid, or against them?
UPDATE Looks like Arthur Silber called his shot on this one. Everytime I read Silber I want to go hang myself, so I don't read him often, but....
UPDATE Michael Froomkin on the forgotten speech and debate clause.