House Speaker Nancy Pelosi apparently was made aware of “enhanced interrogation techniques” in September of 2002. Or maybe she wasn’t, exactly. If she was aware of the possible use of torture, even in the near future — and even in the much more pro-torture environment of 2002 — she acted cowardly in failing to speak out against it.

Pelosi may have been briefed on enhanced interrogation techniques in 2002, but so what?

Pelosi may have been briefed on "enhanced interrogation techniques" in 2002, but so what?

Isn’t that the end of the discussion with regard to the speaker’s role? Pelosi’s credibility on torture may be ruined, but that does not in any way exonerate Republicans and the previous administration for their culpability in instituting the program, which in addition to being ineffective, is also morally reprehensible.

For some reason, though, the debate has shifted to San Fran Nan, whose public statements have never been difficult to ridicule. And as Mother Jones points out, the story of the briefings she may have recieved on the torture issue is old news — as old as anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan’s unsuccessful run against her in her hometown.

This is a rather crude attempt at political slight-of-hand that Republicans are using to try to squirm out of the heat that’s been brought down upon them following the release of the so-called Torture Memos, which detail the methods used against terror suspects such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was apparently waterboarded 183 times in the month following his arrival at Guantanamo Bay (here’s a report from Fox News explaining why that isn’t all that terrible, anyway).

The sick thing is, it’s working. We’re not talking about who authorized torture and why it was wrong, we’re talking about what Pelosi knew and when.

(By the way, -100 points to whoever wrote the headline on that MSNBC link: “Pelosi’s stands by torture statements.”)

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