Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pelosi, Cheney, and Torture

In the ongoing debate about torture, the twin focuses this past week have been Nancy Pelosi and Dick Cheney.

Over the past month or so, Pelosi has given inconsistent statements about the extent to which she was briefed by the CIA in 2002/2003 about waterboarding and other torture techniques that were being used at that time. This week, she went on the offensive and accused the CIA of lying about what she (and/or one of her aides) had been told.

My take is that Pelosi is embarrassed that her acquiescence in the torture policy has been made public, and she decided this week to divert attention from herself by going on the offensive against the CIA. I do not approve -- she needs to give a substantive explanation of her decisions on the torture issue. By trying to blur the issue and "go on the attack," she's reminding me of Bill Clinton at his worst.

Meanwhile, Dick Cheney is the one person in government // public life who has decided that torture is a completely black-and-white issue -- and he is 100% supportive of the Bush Administration's policy. He has been granting all sorts of interviews and has become the de facto voice of the Republican Party. The conventional wisdom is that this is bad news for the Republican Party -- Cheney's is not the voice of an enlightened opposition to Obama's policies.

In this case, I couldn't agree more with the conventional wisdom.

Cheney, and his (1) "I know what's best for the US" attitude, (2) refusal to make the workings of democracy public, and (3) obsession with the dark side of human nature, is not an appropriate leader of a national political movement.

Maureen Dowd has a nice piece of writing in today's Times about Pelosi:
The stylish grandmother acted like a stammering child caught red-handed, refusing to admit any fault and pointing the finger at a convenient scapegoat. She charged the C.I.A. with misleading Congress, which is sort of like saying the butler did it, or accusing a generic thuggish-looking guy in a knit cap with gang tattoos to distract from your sin.

No comments:

Post a Comment