The Torture Conspiracy: Will They Get Away With It?

It has become obvious that left to her own devices Nancy Pelosi WILL let them get away with it….no matter what they do or how horrendous “it” is. She is the only one with the real authority to stop them. And she, apparently, will not. The answer then, seems to be: Yes, they will. And a new administration is not the answer either.

The implications here are truly chilling. If the Democrats won’t pursue prosecution….We are faced with a government with NO internal or external checks. A government not subject to the law. A government which can wage aggressive war and torture with complete impunity. That is NOT hyperbole, it is where we stand at this very moment in time.

A I wrote yesterday and wish to emphasize:

The latest revelations from ABC News clearly point to a high level, willful conspiracy to commit torture:

Highly placed sources said a handful of top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects — whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding.

The high-level discussions about these “enhanced interrogation techniques” were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed — down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.  

At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Cheney, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

CLEARLY a conspiracy to commit illegal acts, and not a technical conspiracy, see my bolding above.

I am not a lawyer, but if you are charged, as the Democrats are as the alleged Opposition Party, with the duty and responsibility of oversight and holding the government accountable for illegal acts…..indeed, if you are the only one capable of it….and you choose not to act, the you become part of the conspiracy to commit illegal acts.

If both Parties are conspirators, our government can do whatever it wants with complete impunity, with no responsibility or accountability. They can, and so far have, literally get away with murder.  

Pelosi, as Speaker of the House, IS the only one who can decide to prosecute these criminals. If she fails to do so, she IS part of the conspiracy to allow torture. Especially since she was at least partially informed that it was occurring. If it was JUST Pelosi however, there is a slim chance that pressure could be brought to bear on her. It is not just Pelosi, though. It is in fact the entire Democratic Party establishment, aside from a few voices raised in the wilderness.

Any sane person would ask why. Aside from their years of culpability in not stopping or prosecuting what it is now apparent to anyone who has even cursory knowledge of the issue, an entire network purposeful and willfully developed to facilitate, endorse, and carry out torture from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib to the secret torture prisons in Europe, there is another, objectively stunning, reason.

Political expediency …and political gain. For the entire Democratic establishment. Including two sitting Senators charged with oversight and holding the government accountable. Who are now running for president, running to take the reigns of a government that they are allowing to break the law…and every moral code….without challenge.

Jack Balkin from Balkinization

And putting aside the purely legal obstacles to a prosecution for war crimes, there’s also the political cost. Why would an Obama or Clinton Administration waste precious political capital early on with a politically divisive prosecution of former government officials? One can imagine the screaming of countless pundits arguing that the Democrats were trying to criminalize political disagreements about foreign policy. Such a prosecution would make politics extremely bitter and derail any chance for bipartisan cooperation on almost any significant issue. Obama or Clinton would rather get a health care bill passed, deal with the economy, or try to solve the Iraq mess, than have the first several years of their Administrations consumed by a prosecution for war crimes by officials in the Bush Administration.

As I noted in a previous post, the most likely prosecution for war crimes will not occur in the United States; if it occurs at all, it will come through the use of universal jurisdiction against Bush Administration officials who make the mistake of traveling outside the United States. There are certainly plenty of people outside this country who would like to try Bush Administration officials for war crimes. However, perhaps predictably, an Obama or Clinton Administration would probably try to exert political influence to nip any such prosecutions in the bud, worried that acquiescing in such prosecutions would set a very bad precedent for American interests.

It’s important to understand the point I’m making here. It is not that certain members of the Bush Administration haven’t committed war crimes. I’m pretty certain that at least some of them have. The point rather is that it is very unlikely that they will ever be brought to justice for it, at least in our own country– despite the fact that there are statutes on the books which assert that the commission of war crimes violates our laws.

(emphasis mine)

If the candidates are willing to allow this administration to conspire to torture with impunity, if they are unwilling to check their illegal acts, what does that say of their morality? This campaign is full of “character issues,” what greater character issue is their than allowing torture to go unchallenged and unprosecuted?

Pelosi says this about torture:

“We are on stronger ground ethically and morally . . . when we do not torture,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, in closing the debate. “Our ability to lead the world depends not only on our military might but on our moral authority.”

Well the, Speaker Pelosi, what does it say to our “moral authority” that you will allow a conspiracy to commit torture right under your nose and do NOTHING to stop it?

And what does it say of the American Citizens who will not, as our system of government is designed for, hold their government accountable?

It is up to us to do what we can. To raise a unignorable din.

Yell Louder

39 comments

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  1. Photobucket

    (angrybird)

    • OPOL on April 11, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    our country is toast.  Don’t let it happen, IMPEACH!

  2. Help me design my new everyday baseball cap.

    I was planning on

    We TORTURE

    (US Flag)

    Now What?

    But someone I trust opined I should be less dark, or more specific, maybe substituting “Impeach our War Criminal Cabinet” for “Now What?”.

    While that is clearly my long-term goal, my goal in wearing the hat is to get people* to think and to talk about and to accept the current reality:  we torture.

    *Not Progressives, not blog-readers, not the well-informed — the people who are busy working, and shopping, and raising their kids under the giant hoax-tent of Republican criminality.

    I’ve made one amendment:  “We TORTURED”.

    Suggestions welcome.  The hat is a custom one-off (used to be able to get these made at the mall, but now it’s order-from-the-web-pay-shipping).  Anyone who wants one — or knows of something similar already offered — let me know.

    • Edger on April 11, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    !!!!!!!!

    …..

    Oh, and Speaker Pelosi, what does it say [about you and your future prospects] that you will allow a conspiracy to commit torture right under your nose and do NOTHING to stop it?

  3. website:

    FYI:  Here’s something I just came across while going to the website to provide a link to

    Contact the Judiciary Webpage This is a Newsrelease by Conyers on the House Judiciary Website:

    For Immediate Release   April 8, 2008

    Contact: Jonathan Godfrey, Melanie Roussell

    “…(Washington, DC)- Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) announced plans to hold a May 6 hearing to examine a recently released torture memo and the issue of executive power as it relates to interrogation and war-making authority. Conyers also sent a letter today to University of California – Berkeley professor John Yoo asking him to testify at the hearing. Yoo is the former attorney in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel who authored the recently released memo seeking to clarify torture procedures and detailing the administration’s extremely broad view of presidential powers during wartime.”

    “I am concerned that some in the administration view the president’s power as that of an imperial presidency – not a democracy,” Conyers said. “The Judiciary Committee will look at the legal basis for actions taken before and during the war and whether we need to write stronger laws to prevent a future imperial presidency from steamrolling Congress and the American people into a thoughtless war and violating our fundamental human rights obligations.”

    The announcement comes the same day as a request from Judiciary Committee member Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) to hold such hearings. In a letter to Conyers, Sherman argued, “Congress and the American people should have the opportunity to understand the scope of the scope of the Bush/Cheney administration’s violations and determine if further action from Congress is required.”

    “Sherman’s letter to Conyers, as well as Conyers’ letter to Professor Yoo, are linked below.”

    Here’s the Speaker of the House Contact Website. I’ll be “contacting” both the Speaker & the Chairman. It might have some impact if lots of people contacted both of them before the hearings…(I’m trying to be positive here FWIW…)

  4. election strategy doesn’t look like it’s actually working. 100 Years Of War McSame is running neck and neck with either remaining Dem, so I fail to see what can be gained at this point by the Dem party’s strategy of blame the GOP for the Iraq mess.

    And you’re right – there is no guarantee that a Clinton or Obama administration would reverse these trends drastically enough to get us to pre-Bush times.

    This is not something either of the remaining Dems have really run on or made into a big campaign issue…which says a lot in and of itself.

  5. that what we do today has consequences tomorrow.

    If we look back at recent history, the Ford Administration did NOT prosecute Nixon. That opened one door.

    Then all the criminals in Iran Contra walked and lived to infect this current administration.

    I think the final blow was the Repugs using impeachment against Bill Clinton in a purely partisan way. That set the stage for them to claim that future prosecutions against Repugs were only partisan in nature.

    I’m not suggesting any of this was a planned conspiracy (although I wouldn’t put anything past these loosers). My point is more to add another reason why standing up for the rule of law and the constitution is important. Every time we’ve compromised, its gotten us closer to where we find ourselves today.  

  6. and there are seven full years of high crimes and misdemenors to prove it!

    • Valtin on April 11, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Answer: in the short-term, yes. If there is no accountability or price the Bush team suffers for their crimes, there is no accountability or price the Democratic leadership suffers for their culpability or failure to act.

    In the long-term, we will all pay. But the total bankruptcy — political, moral, economic — of the society will leave this entire crew, all the leadership of this society, including the full intelligentsia, inclusive of the blogosphere, as bankrupt. Bankrupt and ignorant of the lessons of history, lessons that were staring them in the face all the time, but they refused to acknowledge, drunk on the belief in their own omnipotency (in the case of the powerful) or in their own essential rightness (the case of the rest of us).

    There is a straight line from the American and French revolutions, through the 1848 revolutions, the Paris Commune, the 1905 and 1917 Russian revolutions, the rise of fascism, the slaughters of World Wars I and II, the national liberation movements, the Cold War, the collapse of Soviet Stalinism, to the triumphalism of the “American Century”… this line steers and staggers between its central understandable component: the reality of the division of the world into classes of exploited and exploiter, and the the struggles of the former, often blind and contradictory, poorly led, to throw off the shackles of the latter.

    The smug and oh-so-powerful leadership of this country is overreaching, much as Hitler overreached, and a simliar catastrophe awaits all of us… unless… unless we can come together, throw off the weight of the bought-off Democratic Party, and make a real struggle for power against those who seek to control the entire world. I, frankly, don’t see this happening. And I do not advocate adventurist forays to smash one’s head up against a repressive governmental apparatus. All one can do is wait, patiently explain, and hope the lessons are learned before they are foisted upon us in the form of a total collapse of the society, or a just as likely, another world war.

    The real question to ask is: Will YOU (or WE) let them get away with it?

    • Temmoku on April 12, 2008 at 3:40 am

    Of course they’ll get away with it…the American people cannot admit a mistake, especially as big as this.

    There is so much gone wrong, I don’t know where to begin, but to call a Puritan group(United Church of Christ) hateful of America when it was the Puritans who came here to establish their opportunity to worship as Jesus did with everyone deciding together as equals, then to protect those wo routinely enslave and rape children in the name of a “fundamentalist” religion…I am “vacationing” in Texas right now and I wonder why….just shows how perverted we’ve become. We are admirers of Fascism and the military elite, just look at the “Rambo” movies etc., and even the most revered Faux news talk show hosts, Hannity and Scarborough have neoNazi leanings and get away with it, unscathed!….This is all so perverted….I said that already…but it is.

    Canada is looking good, Europe better.

    • Metta on April 12, 2008 at 9:15 am

    We could be there for nine hours.  The last part of the day is hashing out planks.  I’m thinking pushing for a resolution against torture.  What is more important?  Restoring the threats to the constitution in general, impeachment, or addressing torture directly?  The war?  It should be interesting to see what comes out of it.  Especially if it appears that any future commander in chief may not make any direct departure from the ” course”.  It’s depressing.

    Thank you Buhdy for your inspiration.  I will yell as loud as I can about this.  I think the fiber of our country is extremely damaged by admittance to torture.  Yet I am confounded by my boss, an intelligent and fairly open minded man, who think “enhanced interrogation” is protecting America from the bad guys!!  It makes me wonder how out of touch I am from most of our country who feels this way.  That attitude scares me.

  7. take care my dear beloved friend

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