This last act of political theater has been almost unbearable to watch. It has literally been a sexist witch hunt (watch the video below) against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on the issue of torture.
Here’s the narrative: Pelosi has been one of the most vocal critics on the issue of using torture in interrogating terror suspects since the scandal at Abu Ghraib. Other than Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, she also happens to be the highest-ranking woman in political office.
The right-wingers have effectively pulled a bait and switch on the American people with the help of the ineffective mainstream media. Instead of asking who gave the orders, who was at fault, now all we should care about is whether Pelosi knew about it.
Thursday, Pelosi held a press conference saying she did not know the CIA was waterboarding people back in 2002, but was informed in 2003. Karl Rove pounced. He pretty much called her a liar and said her knowledge that torture was being used to interrogate terror suspects — regardless of the fact that he was undoubtedly in the room when the orders were given — makes her an accessory to war crimes. And he is able to do this while simultaneously arguing that waterboarding is not torture and therefore not a crime in the first place.
Then on Monday, Newt Gingrich (of all people) had the nerve to say Pelosi should resign.
There you have it, the first act of some very sad, ridiculous, thoroughly sexist and ethically repulsive political theater that will undoubtedly continue to play out through the next year.
How exactly is it that the mainstream media is not calling this political witch hunt exactly what it is?
How exactly does Pelosi become the target on the issue of torture while former Vice President Dick Cheney goes around bragging about using torture? How is it that Pelosi is being raked over the coals while Bush is treated with the same deference that is reserved for credible former heads of state?
How is her political future, credibility and perhaps freedom (if you follow the reasoning of folks on both the far left and far right) at stake over whether she was briefed about torture?
And this, while not one pundit, mainstream journalist or politician, has asked a question of people who gave the orders, like Cheney and George W. Bush.
And how is the entire Democratic Party allowing Pelosi to hang out there alone, with her bare bottom twisting in the wind?
The only Democrat to come to her aid so far has been Rep. James Clyburn. He is the only one standing up to the insanity of this news narrative.
How does this all happen? The Democrats are complete wimps and continue to be completely outmaneuvered by Republicans. Their overwhelming majority in Congress is irrelevant, because they are ultimately clueless.
And so-called journalists in the mainstream media have proven once again just how superficial and easily manipulated they are. The mainstream media is completely satisfied with the political theater and continues trying to pass off “he said, she said” sound bytes for real journalism.
Where is the independent probe into who gave the orders?
The thing that bugs me about this whole push to prosecute the former administration over the issue of torture was borne out over the last week. Here is what will happen: Pelosi will fall, for apparently having been briefed about it. Condoleezza Rice will be scarred, for not being able to stop Donald Rumsfeld and Cheney from going through with it. Colin Powell too will fall.
Who will remain standing? The grand old white guys: Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld and Rove. In fact, I would bet Cheney becomes a 21st-century Ollie North. Some conservative folk hero, the man behind the iron curtain who did whatever it took to keep us safe while the liberals were out filing lawsuits and talking nonsense about America’s “moral authority.”
This is the perfect example as to why the left should think twice about investigating torture. It’s not that anyone is sanctioning torture. It’s because once the investigation starts, our government and the mainstream media will prove too ineffective, too mealy-mouthed, too morally corrupt to do any good with it. It will be derailed, and it will be used to take down politicians with political enemies as opposed to getting at the truth.
We already know the government and media are both incapable of taking on real power.
It took our government nearly two years to figure out that former President Bill Clinton lied about receiving sexual favors from Monica Lewinsky, but it has not even touched the likelihood that the Bush administration lied to us about the reason for going into the war In Iraq.
When the FDA, FBI or a narcotics task force executes an elaborate drug bust, they pose for photos with all the contraband on the table. Then, they talk at length about the atrocities of this or that drug organization. You ever notice the kingpins are never caught? At best, they get a few lieutenants and hundreds of street-level dealers, that’s it.
The kingpins in this torture investigation, I guarantee you, will never face a Congressional hearing. They will never face criminal charges. They won’t even be asked directly if their actions violated the law.
Our government’s behavior during the Iraq War and the Bush administration’s campaign to sell that war to the American people are both completely unforgivable. If you can’t get your crap together enough to hold the right people accountable, then just turn the damn page.
Devona Walker is TheLoop21.com’s senior reporter/blogger.