Green Room

Dems Lack Waterboarding Exit Strategy

posted at 11:32 pm on May 12, 2009 by

Many Democrats in Congress have pushed for release of documents and the holding of hearings on waterboarding and other interrogation methods. Putting aside for now whether the release of such information should take place, it appears that Obama started the ball rolling down hill by releasing the interrogation memos. Barring active intervention by Obama, there will be some further level of document release, Congressional investigations, and public hearings.

This presents a problem mostly for Democrats. Republicans who were briefed on the interrogation methods at least will be consistent, for the most part, in maintaining that the methods were lawful and useful. No Republican is going to be harmed politically by the revelations because most Americans support these methods against people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. If leaks of a Justice Department report are to be believed, there will be no prosecutions. Republicans are safe politically and legally.

For Democrats, however, the damage could be significant. Nancy Pelosi already has lost a great deal of credibility from her changing stories. Dozens of other Democrats, including such senior Senators as Jay Rockefeller, apparently also were briefed on the interrogation methods and either were silent, approved, or encouraged the policy.

The irony is that a full blow investigation and hearings will turn mostly on what the Democrats knew, and when they knew it. The Republicans mostly couldn’t care less if they were “blamed” for keeping the country safe even if necessitated waterboarding the mastermind of 9/11 to prevent further attacks. When faced with sacrificing a city versus using harsh interrogation methods, most voters would opt for harsh interrogation.

That the Democrats have more to lose is demonstrated by the looming fight between Democrats in Congress and the CIA. The Democrats are complaining that the CIA is out to get them through selective leaks of documents. These are the same Democrats who cheered when the CIA leaked information damaging to Bush administration policies. So that complaining is going to go no where.

Where this seems to be heading is: (1) Republicans claim Democrats are damaging national security, thereby setting Democrats up for blame when there is a terrorist attack; (2) Republicans claim the mantle of putting the safety of the country ahead of politics; (3) Democrats claim the mantle of putting politics ahead of the safety of the country; (4) Democrats end up exposing Democratic Party leaders to be untruthful, misleading, deceptive and/or too smart by half; (5) the CIA fights as it always has for its institutional interests, in a battle politicians mostly lose; and (6) Democrats turn on each other.

Just a month ago, who would have expected this headline:  Hoyer wants Pelosi facts out

This is the same Stenny Hoyer who lost out to Pelosi back in 2001 for Minority Whip, and who Pelosi opposed for his present position of Majority Leader (Pelosi backed John Murtha). No connection, I know. He just wants the truth to come out about Pelosi for the sake of the truth coming out.

Democrats vs. national security. Democrats vs. CIA. Democrats vs. Democrats. This is an investigation only Democrats could dream up, and Republicans can get behind. Republicans will be dragged kicking and screaming into the hearing room so they can ask Nancy Pelosi what she knew and when she knew it. If Democrats shield themselves, Republicans may need to schedule counter-hearings, also know as, “The Whole Truth Commission.”

You know its bad when Media Matters complains that Republicans have managed to change the subject:

Adopting the GOP’s emphasis on what Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats knew about the Bush administration’s use of harsh interrogation techniques, some in the media have ignored evidence that the Bush administration began using the tactics before briefing Democrats, and that upon learning of them, Rep. Jane Harman unsuccessfully expressed concerns to the CIA.

So Jane Harman is the Democrats big hope? The same Jane Harman who Nancy Pelosi refused to allow to become Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, despite Harman’s seniority? The same Jane Harman who Democrats tried to throw under the bus on the now-dropped AIPAC prosecutions by leaking that Harman was wiretapped talking to a possible “Israeli agent”? That Jane Harman? The only person who did object to waterboarding is expected to run interference for Democrats who went along to get along and who have treated her so poorly in the past several years?

What will Democrats do if they find that other Democrats were morally if not legally culpable in waterboarding? Do the Democrats have an exit strategy?

Here’s my prediction of what will happen if Democrats push the investigation to the bitter end causing damage to national security, a political death match with the CIA, and Democrat-on-Democrat finger pointing:

Stenny Hoyer, Speaker; Jane Harman, Majority Leader; Nancy Pelosi, Chair of the House sub-committee on fresh water fisheries; Republicans, unexpected gains in 2010 mid-term elections.

The Democrats wished hard for an investigation into waterboarding and other interrogation methods. They may have wished too hard, because they are about to get what they wished for, with no way out.

Cross-posted with updates at Legal Insurrection Blog

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With this interest in stopping torture, has the left asked for prosecution of North Vietnamese leaders?
We know that very severe torture occurred. The targets were American citizens.

To be intellectually consistent, the Left should be demanding prosecution. We should also expect action from a certain Spanish judge.

Where is the outrage?

NaCly dog on May 13, 2009 at 4:42 AM

Saul Alinsky Rule 12:

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

Focus like a lazer beam on Nancy Pelosi (D).

jeff_from_mpls on May 13, 2009 at 8:33 AM

Side note: I like the color coding going on in the headlines.

BadgerHawk on May 13, 2009 at 10:23 AM

Pelosi carefully crafted this torture craziness. She must pay the price. Isn’t the liberal mantra revenge?

seven on May 13, 2009 at 10:25 AM

Obama opened this pandora’s box. Everyone should remember that.

Are Pelosi’s days numbered? Hmmmmm.

portlandon on May 13, 2009 at 10:27 AM

I like the green on the home page!

angelwing34215 on May 13, 2009 at 10:27 AM

Side note: I like the color coding going on in the headlines.

BadgerHawk on May 13, 2009 at 10:23 AM

Can we do Kathleen Parker, David Frum, Chris Buckley, Meghan McCain et al in a nice spineless yellow? Or perhaps lib blue?

LibTired on May 13, 2009 at 10:28 AM

BadgerHawk on May 13, 2009 at 10:23 AM

Ditto. Besides, it’s like Christmas in May.

jeff_from_mpls on May 13, 2009 at 8:33 AM

Agreed. Pelosi’s in a very precarious situation at the moment. Let’s keep striking.

amerpundit on May 13, 2009 at 10:30 AM

This is fun to watch! Most republicans have no problem with their leaders backing this, Democrats… not so much.

momof2 on May 13, 2009 at 10:30 AM

OH I LOVE THIS…

Bye bye Nancy!! you freakin’ liberal goof….

NRA Lifer on May 13, 2009 at 10:30 AM

Green Headlines = Win.

exception on May 13, 2009 at 10:33 AM

Ahhhh… sometimes life, er, libtards, hand you lemonade instead of just lemons. I hope she squirms and squeals, and shows what a true turncoat she really is by trying to throw her own under the bus along with anyone else.

HomeoftheBrave on May 13, 2009 at 10:34 AM

actual torture:

http://www.polmachina.com/?p=185

ranchoforte on May 13, 2009 at 10:36 AM

actual torture:

http://www.polmachina.com/?p=185

ranchoforte on May 13, 2009 at 10:36 AM

Thanks man, we needed this. Another glaring example of how our national media has violated its Constitutional mandate to watchdog the gubmint and how our elected “parliament” is ignoring its Constitutional oath. When are we going to rise up and hold these traitors responsible?

HomeoftheBrave on May 13, 2009 at 10:40 AM

First, I agree with everyone else about the green headline – love it!

Next, what I find remarkable ISN’T the political missteps by Obama and the Democrats…

…but that the MSM has picked this up.

Either this shows that there may still be life left in the MSM…

…or, more likely, Pelosi is about to be introduced to the underneath of Obama’s bus.

Religious_Zealot on May 13, 2009 at 10:42 AM

green headline = win

ernesto on May 13, 2009 at 10:44 AM

Here’s my prediction of what will happen if Democrats push the investigation to the bitter end causing damage to national security, a political death match with the CIA, and Democrat-on-Democrat finger pointing[...]

Which is why I think you’re much more likely to get an Emily Letella “Never mind” strategy, thin-slice salami variation, to make it easier for the partisan preen patrol to pretend they haven’t found discretion to be the better part of valor and don’t find Cheney too scary for words.

If that’s how it goes, legends in their own minds like certain bloggers may huff and puff – but who ever cared about them anyway?

CK MacLeod on May 13, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Don’t misunderstand these people. They will weaken the CIA and undermine our national security if they sense any political power outages. In other words, the Democrat Party will go after the people in the CIA, personally, to protect their political status. On a dime, the media will go from ignoring Pelosi’s lies to reporting on the CIA’s “activities” in domestic surveillance. You can take it to the bank.

mr1216 on May 13, 2009 at 11:02 AM

Excellent analysis. Thanks.

echosyst on May 13, 2009 at 11:02 AM

When faced with sacrificing a city versus using harsh interrogation methods, mostall sane voters would opt for harsh interrogation.

and separately…

mr1216 on May 13, 2009 at 11:02 AM

Bet on it. The 2004 election timeframe showed the Dems cared far less for the country (if they even cared at all) than for their own power.

hindmost on May 13, 2009 at 11:24 AM

What has this country come to when the Speaker of the House can’t even tell a whopper of a lie without the CIA daring to release the facts proving it’s a lie?

katablog.com on May 13, 2009 at 11:33 AM

You can take it to the bank.

I think you meant to say: You can take it to the Obama Controlled bank. U.S. Eyes Bank Pay Overhaul

katablog.com on May 13, 2009 at 11:35 AM

Are Pelosi’s days numbered? Hmmmmm.

portlandon on May 13, 2009 at 10:27 AM

If they are, it will be because she isn’t far enough to the left for her constituency. Beware what you wish for…

ProfessorMiao on May 13, 2009 at 11:56 AM

I think I hear a pin-dropping. Yes, I did. The noise about waterboarding from the Dems has become deafeningly silent.

PrincipledPilgrim on May 13, 2009 at 12:23 PM

The House Madam is toast. Steny Hoyer want to become Speaker and has the votes lined up to make it happen.

SeniorD on May 13, 2009 at 12:24 PM

It is an odd state of affairs when Dick Cheney shows up on television to defend Nancy Pelosis judgement calls.

Only a Chicago mobster could manage to do that.

percysunshine on May 13, 2009 at 12:25 PM

This is really getting legs, as you can see here on HA and also by Rush’s emphasis today.

I do believe Pelosi will be removed.

And no I’m not worried about who replaces her. That’s inside baseball. I’m looking at the public’s understanding of events. What they see is not inside baseball. What they see is the Democrat Party built its opposition to the War on Terror on a lie in order to seize power.

Opposition to war based on a lie. Now that we know the truth, the 2008 result must also be seen as based on a lie, and must be rescinded in 2010 to keep America safe.

That’s what I want people to conclude from Pelosi’s leaving office in disgrace.

jeff_from_mpls on May 13, 2009 at 12:46 PM

The Democrats seized power based on Bushs screw up
of bankrupting Freddie and Fanny 8 weeks before
a Presidential election. War opposition had
nothing to do with it.

percysunshine on May 13, 2009 at 12:56 PM

This is really getting legs, as you can see here on HA and also by Rush’s emphasis today.

I do believe Pelosi will be removed.

I wish I believed you. I just don’t see Hoyer engineering a major leadership change as the Dems prepare for heavy lifting on the second part of the legislative agenda. I still don’t see evidence that the public (beyond news junkies) cares enough one way or the other on this issue even to figure out who Pelosi is.

I think she’d have to be impeachable to go down prior to massive 2010 losses. Otherwise, taking her down would as likely as not be seen as imperiling the Obama agenda. Unless you think the Blue Dogs and any sane Democrats have already concluded that the Obama agenda, or any more of it, is a millstone.

But I’m ready to be proven wrong.

CK MacLeod on May 13, 2009 at 1:17 PM

WOW! It’s really tough when your rabid dog turns on you! For months, dums were delighted to have their rabid MSM dogs brand republicans as advocates of torture. Never mind that what the MSM called torture, wasn’t. SMEAR those damned republicans! Kind of embarrassing now though, now that it’s come to light that those same dums approved “torture” too. What to do, what to do? Continue to shriek about “torture”? Or just laugh it off and all go for a beer? Make believe it was a bad dream sequence? The stench of hypocrisy is enough to make you vomit.

oldleprechaun on May 13, 2009 at 1:22 PM

What did NAncy Pelosi know and when did she know it … Too many eyes, knows she tells lies.

tarpon on May 13, 2009 at 1:24 PM

It’s always fun to watch them hop around in circles on one foot, but it’s even better when the bullet wound came from their own gun.

Jim Treacher on May 13, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Time for a new party…or the rise of a small one called “The Constitution Party”. My brother voted for their candidates last year. I told him not to waste his vote but he did it anyway. Between him and all the people who stayed away from the polls plus the idiot Republicans who voted for Obumble, we are truly screwed.

Jarhead68 on May 13, 2009 at 1:57 PM

Oh, BTW, great piece of writing.

Jarhead68 on May 13, 2009 at 2:00 PM

The Democrats have taken to blaming the CIA for the corner they just boxed themselves into as a result of their newly-elected POTUS willy-nilly opening this can of worms.

They are now faced with the raw political question of what is going to happen if they go ahead and launch what might gently be termed the “Delta Airlines” of hearings — i.e., landing at the wrong airport in a storm!

You are absolutely right!

What will the Democrats do when they end up proving that the Republicans kept the country safe, and that for some stupid reason, they — as Democrats — have a real problem with that?!

Trochilus on May 13, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Here’s my prediction of what will happen if Democrats push the investigation to the bitter end causing damage to national security, a political death match with the CIA, and Democrat-on-Democrat finger pointing:

The CIA isn’t completely innocent here either. They leaked a lot of info during Bush’s administration because the CIA was then leftist (and still is).

But when it’s a match between anyone else vs the CIA, the CIA looks out for the CIA. Hence the leaks now.

The leftists on both sides brought this upon themselves. And as the Lord Saith: ‘The wicked destroy the wicked’.

Chaz706 on May 13, 2009 at 2:27 PM