12.10.2007

dems' only question on torture: are you sure it hurts enough?

Remember in 2006, when the Democrats took control of Congress, how things in the US were supposed to change? Or so said the Americans voting Democrat.

And a corollary question. What is wrong with these people?

I know very well what's wrong with them, because I used to be one. But how many times can you let your abusive partner hit you before you finally walk out the door?

I know what they say, because I used to say it, too. It's not like I haven't heard it (and said it) a zillion times, so believe me, I don't need reminding. Voting for a third-party candidate is voting for the Republicans. You're throwing your vote away.

And when you vote Democrat you're not throwing your vote away?

(A reminder: I'm not voting in the US at all now.)

In Canada, the existence of the New Democrat Party exerts pressure on the Liberals: stay liberal, because we voters have an alternative.

In the US, where no such pressure exists, the Democrats have become Democrats In Name Only, in reality moderate (and some not-so-moderate!) Republicans, because they know liberal voters have no choice. Or liberal voters think they have no choice.

Amazingly, I hear some liberal Canadians call for a merger of the NDP and the Liberals! As if Liberal and NDP voters all want the same thing, and as if the Liberals actually stand for the same thing as the NDP? We need more parties, not fewer parties. Fewer parties, and you end up with... the US. Of course that's not the only thing wrong with the US election system, but it's part of the problem.

If you haven't guessed what's driving my disgust this morning, take a look at this story from the Washington Post. It's part of the ongoing America Tortures saga, and it proves that America Tortures with the consent of both ends of the duopoly.
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 briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough," said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange.

Congressional leaders from both parties would later seize on waterboarding as a symbol of the worst excesses of the Bush administration's counterterrorism effort. The CIA last week admitted that videotape of an interrogation of one of the waterboarded detainees was destroyed in 2005 against the advice of Justice Department and White House officials, provoking allegations that its actions were illegal and the destruction was a coverup.

Yet long before "waterboarding" entered the public discourse, the CIA gave key legislative overseers about 30 private briefings, some of which included descriptions of that technique and other harsh interrogation methods, according to interviews with multiple U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge.

With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).

[Read the full story here.]

I'm not only saying it's immoral to vote for these people. I'm saying it doesn't work. For all that liberal (and some progressive) Americans love to blame everything on the Bush regime, it's been governing with the consent of what's supposed to be an opposition party.

More:

Glenn Greenwald on the Dems' complicity in torture (easier to access through Common Dreams than the original at Salon):
This information was almost certainly leaked to the Post by intelligence officials who are highly irritated — understandably so — from watching the manipulative spectacle whereby these Democrats now prance around as outraged victims of policies to which they deliberately acquiesced, when they weren’t fully supporting them.

. . . .

Just look at how compromised Congressional Democratic leaders are when it comes to those charged with exercising "oversight" over our intelligence communities. And one finds this with almost the entire list of Bush abuses.

Whether it's the war in Iraq or illegal surveillance or the abolition of habeas corpus and now the systematic use of torture, it's the Bush administration that conceived of the policies, implemented them and presided over their corrupt application. But it's Congressional Democrats at the leadership level who were the key allies and enablers, never getting their hands dirty with implementation — and thus feigning theatrical, impotent outrage once each abuse was publicly exposed — but nonetheless working feverishly the entire time to enable all of it every step of the way.

Full column here; I recommend it.

5 comments:

redsock said...

2002 for fuck's sake!!!!

And do not forget that at the height of the Abu Ghraib "scandal", Congress was shown thousands of pictures and hours of video tape that were never realized to the public. As reported in Newsweek and the Guardian, some of these videos and pictures showed US troops raping Iraqi women (and children, as Seymour Hersh has reported). US troops also filmed Iraqi men raping and sexually torturing women and children.

Representatives on both sides of the aisle expressed the necessary public disgust ... then the issue faded away from view. And nothing has been heard of it since.

This is a perfect definition of the Democratic party in the Bush/Cheney era: "... feigning theatrical, impotent outrage ... but nonetheless working feverishly the entire time to enable all of it every step of the way".

West End Bound said...

Not a dime's worth of difference between the two.

Other than Kucinich and Feingold, the dems are lacking real integrity, as are the repugs . . . .

redsock said...

Digby covers the same info as L -- and more.

L-girl said...

The Glenn Greenwald column also links to several other bloggers who covered this yesterday.

AviShalom said...

"We need more parties, not fewer parties."

Amein to that!!