Friday, May 15, 2009
In The ClubI feel a little bad for Nancy Pelosi, and the predicament that she is in today. It is probably convenient to forget about a briefing in 2002, facts that she probably wished she had never heard. No one was asking her permission to torture prisoners back in September 2002, she was the minority leader back then, and the briefing was probably just a courtesy, a summary of all of the horrible facts of the GWOT, the information given with the implied threat that if we failed to uncover the next attack, we could kiss our way of life goodbye. The climate was vastly different back then, and any protest she might have made would have been shut down by the Republicans, the media, and the American public.
It doesn't excuse her.
The thing is...when people get to Washington, they change. Once elected officials are initiated into "The Club", the elite group of people with power, they are swimming in a tide so strong, that to go against the flow, is nearly impossible, and certainly politically fatal. We don't know if Pelosi was trying to protect her position by saying nothing about the atrocities she had knowledge of, or if she figured that it mattered not one iota what she thought personally of the horror, the horror would happen regardless of weather she spoke out against it or remained silent. We don't know if she agreed that the atrocity was necessary to protect the country. Personally, I would like to think that she made a decision to protect her political future, to live to fight another day, and that she believed that the actions of torture were illegal and reprehensible. If she had had the courage back then to do the decent thing, she would have been run over by the train wreck that has led us to the present day, a cluster fuck in the middle east, an image in the world that seems very close to the rouge nations that we deplore, and the fate of our nation to face war for the long term. I would have wanted her to have more courage back in those days, I would have wanted any prominent Democrat to have said the words that would have awakened the nation to any course other than the one we have taken.
But at this point, we don't know the truth of what was happening in Nancy Pelosi's world in 2002. We only know that if Dick Cheney goes down, he's taking Nancy Pelosi with him.
And that's okay. Club Members on both sides of the aisle need to step aside for new leaders with more courage.
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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