Nancy Pelosi Approved Torture!? Is Barack Obama Making the Country WEAKER?
May 12, 2009 19 Comments
In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.
Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.”
—The Washington Post, December 9th, 2007.
ATLANTA— As I have said before, the Obama Administration has opened a can of worms by stepping into the debate about whether or not the Bush Administration approved “torture” in the form of waterboarding. Most Americans believe waterboarding is torture, but most Americans also supported the Bush Administration’s use of waterboarding and other harsh techniques in preventing terrorist attacks. They do not want the Bush Administration investigated. In opening this debate, Barack Obama is making a play to the MoveOn.org left, which could come back to haunt him.
The greatest way this could haunt him is by dragging Democrats into the foray and having them be exposed as hypocrites. The biggest hypocrite of all is Nancy Pelosi. Mrs. Pelosi has plead ignorance by trying desperately to say that in the 2002 briefing mentioned above she did not know waterboarding was already being used. Evidence released by the Obama Administration suggests otherwise. Apparently, by the time the above briefing occurred, the CIA had already used waterboarding 83 times on one al Qaida leader. It is reasonable to conclude that this fact was presented to Mrs. Pelosi in the above briefing.
I am strongly against an investigation into the Bush Administration. They kept us safe for 8 years and deserve much credit for it. I will say that I am with most Americans in believing waterboarding is a form of torture. I think in the “spectrum” of torture, it is likely the least severe form. But it appears to me to be torture nonetheless.
However, after a long time of wrestling over this question, I have come to believe that the Bush Administration used waterboarding appropriately in the circumstances. From my reading, the Administration performed waterboarding on only a very limited number of al Qaida captives. Further, it is clear they went to great pains to research relevant national and international law. Further, in the circumstance, it appears waterboarding was highly effective, revealing much needed information that prevented further attacks.
The debate over waterboarding to me is like the debate over dropping the nuclear bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima during World War II. The nuclear bomb is a horrific weapon- and it’s use invariably leads to the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people. But World War II was the one circumstance in which I believe its use was justified. Those bombings ended a much more horrific war and by most estimates, saved the lives of 100s of thousands more soldiers and civilians that would have been lost had a full scale invasion of Japan occurred.
Barack Obama is on the wrong side of history in this debate. And Nancy Pelosi’s already tarnished reputation will likely be dragged down further. My recommendation is to stop the witch hunt and get this country focused on the future. Barack Obama, by dismantling so much of the Bush Administration terror-fighting infrastructure and by demoralizing the CIA through this waterboarding investigation, really does risk making the country less safe, in my view.