Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Whither Responsibility?

Nancy Pelosi may or may not have been properly briefed by the CIA on the question or the possibility or the actuality of torture being used/not being used on detainees at Guantanamo/Bagram/Abu Ghraib.

And the Right says, "well, she okayed torture, therefore she is responsible for the torture."

I leave it to you to fill in the blank: ______ed logic.

Ya see, it's the guys in charge, like Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and Bill Kristol who decided whether or not we should be using torture. Then they tell the CIA to do so. The CIA is then told they have to brief Congress about it, but not that they have to be completely truthful (yes, that's called speculation). So, the CIA swears a few Senators and Congresscritters to absolute silence, tells them either faulty or slightly incomplete information, and one of the Congresscritters writes a letter of protest (since he can't actually, you know, talk about any of it to anyone) to the folks higher on the food chain (Cheney), and SURPRISE! nothing changes.

Here we are, years later, declassifying memos, and hiding photos (Mr. Obama, I believe you misplaced your government transparency special power), and people start talking about who knew what when, rather than who ordered what, and then told everyone lies about it. Or not.

Torture is torture, and no matter who knew about it while it was happening, the more important question is who ordered it, and when will they be punished?

I'm not absolving Nancy of any responsibility. If she knew about this and did/said nothing, then she needs to be replaced by someone who will stand up to whomever is president, should that person do something so inherently illegal and (more importantly) immoral. Her fumbling press conference was embarrassing enough without her having criminal knowledge. Hint: it's called "preparation," Nancy.

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