In the wake of the release last week by the CIA of some ambiguous documents regarding the briefing of key members of Congress on the agency's "harsh interrogation techniques,' there is apparently some confusion about Speaker-of-the-House (and formerly minority leader) Nancy Pelosi's involvement with the Bushevik torture regime, such as what she knew and when she knew it.
Robert Scheer, the eminence luminairre of TruthDig, speaks to the issue in a column yesterday on his blog:
Nancy Pelosi is no Dick Cheney, nor a George W. Bush. She was neither the author of a systematic policy of torture nor has she been, like Cheney and most top Republicans in Congress, an enduring apologist for its practice. It is a nonsensical distraction to place her failure to speak out courageously as a critic of the Bush policies on the same level as those who engineered one of the most shameful debacles in U.S. history.Good questions, nest paw? If the bosses who ordered the crimes are immune, how can anyone, in any conscience, punish the enlisted folks, the grunts who were just following orders in a battle zone, for following orders from the consequences of which the Brass Hats--including Pelosi, Bush, Reid, Cheney, Frist, DeLay and others--were immune? If the grunts are in jail, why are their leaders not in the dock?
But what she, and anyone else who went along with this evil, as lackadaisically as she now claims, should be confronted with are the serious implications of their passive acquiescence. Why did she not speak up, or if it were a matter of a lack of reliable information, demand an accounting from the executive branch, as befits a leader of the loyal opposition in Congress?
If the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and later House Democratic leader, lacked the authority to publicly question a policy of torture, then how can we condemn, indeed imprison, ordinary soldiers who thought it their duty to follow orders?
Of course, we should remember: Lt. Calley went to jail, Capt. Medina got riffed, and Colin Powel went to the War College after My Lai, so it's not all that surprising...