If you have "no place to go," come here!

Why is it OK that Obama's transition chief for intelligence policy, John Brennan, is pro-torture?

See Glenn here. Progressives? Oh, progressives? Speak up, please!

Of course, Brennan is also for warrantless surveillance, and against holding Villagers accountable under the rule of law, as Glenn shows here. And why is that OK?

To me, Brennan is a classic example of WIBDI -- What If Bush Did It. In that case, progressives would be, and have been, outraged.

Progressives? Speak up, please!

NOTE From TalkLeft, plenty. Also, see this one post from Digby. But nothing from Atrios. Stoller, only back in March. An interesting data point about Brennan back in May at C&L, but no main posts. From WKJM, nada. From AmericaBlog, nothing. How very, very odd.

UDPATE If anyone comes up with any more progressive hits (or misses) please add them in comments. Being pro-torture? Purest Chnage, eh?

UPDATE Interestingly, Brennan's company was involved in a passport breach in the primaries, where employees of his company, in an "isolated incident," looked at passport data for Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Brennan was an advisor (and spokesperson) for the Obama campaign back then, too.

UPDATE Via Think Progress, this from Obama on 60 minutes tonight:

[OBAMA] I have said repeatedly that America doesn’t torture, and I’m going to make sure that we don’t torture. Those are part and parcel of an effort to regain America’s moral stature in the world.

The problem here is that we've heard almost those exact words before: "I've said to the people that we don't torture, and we don't". So words alone don't cut it. Actions would help, and one such action -- a way to "walk the walk," as it were, on regaining our "moral standing" -- would be cutting loose a pro-torture advisor. Like John Brennan. Although words that would be nice to hear would be words to the effect that torturers -- and other lawbreaking by the administration -- would be help accountable, hopefully by criminal prosecution or a truth and reconciliation commission.

Now, lest any Obama fan get all bent out of shape -- "He said Obama is just like Bush" -- that's not the point. Humankind, by nature, has the propensity to work evil (just as we can do good). That goes for all of us, Democrat and Republican alike, as Milgram and Zimbardo showed in their famous experiments. Human nature is such that we need checks and balances against the unrestrained exercise of power; we need the rule of law; we need accountability. As Madison wrote (Federalist 51) "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." And since we are not angels, having pro-torture advisors around us is not a good first step toward regaining our moral standing.

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pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

You won, Obama. You don't have to pretend to appease the conservatives and right-wing nutcases anymore. Time to overturn all those awful Bush policies. The country and world are watching and waiting.

Don't f**k this up.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

Emptywheel and Firedoglake -- neither has bothered to mention Brennan since the election -- even though both would tell you that they are among the anti-torture vanguard....

Submitted by lambert on

We're always looking for new torture euphemisms: "enhanced procedures" looks pretty good!

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

OK, I haven't seen that excuse yet. Frankly, I'm happy with that. Hopefully we don't see that come up in the future, but I have a feeling we will.

Yeah, that came out of nowhere, but I'm not willing to forgive or forget those charges and I don't think others should either.

scoutt's picture
Submitted by scoutt on

I told this story once before but it's worth repeating.
Two days after the election as the stock market was plummeting my AA business partner says, "Looks like the don't like the darkie".
I kid you not.
I popped up outta my chair and said, "Uh, uh. No you don't. You don't get to have a chip on your shoulder now. They loved the darkie. The hated the c*nt."
I'm certain we'll see this fr*cken knife in a velvet glove used over and over and over and over and over. The race card has been played beautifully and applauded consistently. Why stop now?

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

Spooky pasts for Obama intel leaders?

"Both served in the President Bush’s CIA from 2002 to 2005, when the agency was involved in controversial decisions on the interrogation of suspected terrorists.

Judith Miscik left as Bush’s deputy director of intelligence in 2005. From 2005 to 2008, she was the global head of sovereign risk at the now-failed Lehman Brothers.

John Brennan, president and CEO of The Analysis Corp., had a much longer career in the CIA, serving from 1980 to 2005.

Obama’s homeland security transition team leaders also have deep ties to Republican administrations, but supported Democrats in this election. ..."

Submitted by lambert on

Not quite so icky. Maybe.

They're all as twisty as corkscrews.

But, yet another group of Republicans jumping ship to the Democrats.

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

the Military and Congress too -- remember Abu Ghraib -- for just one example?

Congress too -- "

Bill to ban the CIA from using waterboarding: " --

(and of course -- Contractors)

Just now-- our forces in Iraq -- Iraqi Cabinet Approves Security Pact With U.S. -- -- "... Under the agreement, U.S. soldiers are still guaranteed immunity except in cases of serious felonies committed while off duty outside their bases. ..."