On Torture Shorts

Torture and Guantanamo continue to be in the news. Here are some random thoughts on the latest.

On Congress
Seems Republican Leader John Boehner is questioning the handling of Speaker Pelosi’s knowledge of torture issues. Beware Mr. Boehner, as a leader I also have same questions for you regarding torture during the previous administration: What did you know? When did you know it? As I’ve noted before, I want to know who in Congress knew … that’s Democrats and Republicans!

Specifically on Speaker Pelosi, sure the meeting was classified, but there are ways to question. Madam Speaker, it seems that you blew it.

Meanwhile Republicans lost their bid for a bipartisan probe about Pelosi (252-172). Let me off a suggestion to everyone in Washington that also saves time and money. Just publish a list of all members of Congress who were briefed, and then it’s up to the citizens.

On Media Reports
Recently columnist Leonard Pitts used a Sergeant Schultz reference regarding Speaker Pelosi. Hmmm, wish I would have thought of that anology.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich called for Speaker Pelosi’s resignation if she knew. Hmmm, wish I would have thought of that too. The difference being that I mentioned it first and he’s already changed his mind.

As the Democratic left continues to be upset on this issue (Newsweek), hats off to the President for working with the center. There’s something I really like about having the left and the right upset at the same time.

As former VP Dick Cheney continues promoting himself, columnists David Brooks and David Broder provide an interesting twist to ongoing barbs about national security.

If the current Obama policy is more like Bush-Rice than Bush-Cheney, does that mean some Republicans are currently against what they were previously for and some Democrats are now supporting what they previously opposed? The phrase from legendary Yankee announcer Mel Allen is fitting: “And how about that!”

On Torture

sgtschultzUnfortunately and predictably, the torture/waterboarding news is playing out on party lines. On one side the partisan Democrats are trying to use the law to get-back-at the Bush administration; and then we have the GOP partisans defending their past judgments while labeling the opposition as un-American and terrorist sympathizers. Of course both sides uses rationale equivalent to a cow pie in the pasture.

Unquestionably, waterboarding is against the Geneva Convention; and (to me) breaking this agreement shows a wandering away from the always-important moral compass. It’s obvious that the White House and the Department of Defense knew, but are their decisions and tactics worth pursuing? Is it worth the financial cost? Is it worth continuing to address issues on partisan lines to further divide the country?

I have said it before here and I will say it again – I hope the current administration does not go down the path that some congressional Democrats want to take. It’s done, time to move on. President Obama has been taking the high road, and I hope he continues to do so. Senator McCain, an ardent supporter against torture, acknowledges past indiscretions but also promotes moving forward.

Although I appreciate Kathleen Parker’s approach of finding the answer when posing a question, this recent David Broder Washington Post column is also a good one; however, this Bret Stephens (WSJ) column has stuck with me.

I understand the “no one is above the law” argument Senator Leahy poses, but how much of his zeal is partisan? A recent CBS/NY Times poll finds 62% are against a Congressional investigation. Then again, why would Congress ever want to listen to the public?

Of course part of me also says “Press on” with the investigation so we can see what Speaker Pelosi actually knows. Even after her impression of Sergeant Schultz’s “I know nothing”, I find it hard to believe that a Speaker of the House with experience on the Intelligence Committee didn’t know.

Although I still say “No” to investigating the Bush Administration, it’s a resounding “YES” to nonpartisan investigation of Congress by outsiders to determine which members knew and shamefully remained silent. Identify them and then let’s get the bums out.

Image from Boston Herald Photo on File