May 12, 2009

Amazing Who Comes Out Smelling Good

Despite her apparent corruptibility, at least Jane Harman had the cojones to object to torture when she learned about it in 2003. Nancy Pelosi and her aides cannot make the same claim. Instead, they were worried about observing "legislative formalities" and observing proper protocol, and besides, they knew that Congresswoman Harman was objecting so that apparently meant that Congresswoman Pelosi didn't have to.

What this means, of course, is that torture, approval of torture, and condemnation of torture, are not things that are defined by party. So can we please get the troglodyte wing of the GOP to stop endorsing torture as a matter of reflexive party discipline now? You're advocating actions espoused by Nancy Pelosi.

I also view this as something of a vindication. I've consistently objected to torture, and many Republicans like me have as well, for many years before President Obama issued memos confirming that torture really happened. I gave the interrogators every benefit of the doubt along the way as to whether they actually did it before those memos were released. And now we know there are Democrats who failed to object to torture despite knowing, as we in the general public did not, that torture really was happening.

So torture is not a partisan issue. It is an ethical issue which should inspire ethical people to make ethical choices. It is a political issue, which like corruption transcends party. This may not be what people meant when they talked about things transcending party, but there you go. Meanwhile, brace for another release of memos coming up soon.

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