20 May 2009

Pelosi Shot Herself in the Foot

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Noemie Emery, at the SF Chronicle, thinks the way Nancy Pelosi’s pious grandstanding over enhanced interrogation techniques backfired on her was pretty funny.

It was always quite clear that liberals’ efforts to wreak vengeance on President George W. Bush for his (successful) terror-war strategy would hurt Democrats more than it hurt him, but who ever dreamed it would become quite so funny this fast?

Minutes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave her news conference on the subject of “torture,” she, and not Bush, was the issue and story; she was at war with the CIA and Director Leon Panetta; she was at war with House Whip Steney Hoyer, who wants to succeed her; and she had become a huge problem for President Barack Obama — or as he might say, a “distraction” — who had trouble enough trying to reconcile his rhetoric with the demands of his office, and his responsibilities to protect the country with the addled demands of his frenetic admirers. Not bad for a 25-minute presser. And this was just the first day.

This knowledge that the Democratic leadership of the House and Senate had known of and approved at last tacitly the “harsh” techniques sanctioned by the Bush administration in the grim days after 9/11 was the more explosive on the heels of the news that many Bush-era tactics — detainment, rendition, Club Gitmo — were being endorsed by their president.

The problem is that like the CIA, the entire government is now in the hands of the Democrats, who now have the job of protecting the country, not under past conditions, not under conditions they like to imagine, but conditions that really exist. The conditions that exist are those in which small groups of people, undeterred by threats or the prospect of dying, are able to inflict immense harm.

Pearl Harbor was a surprise attack, but it took place thousands of miles from the mainland and was an assault on the Armed Forces. The 9/11 attacks were an assault on the mainland, on unarmed civilians who were going to work. In conditions like this, nice people from Chicago and Texas, who find themselves charged with protecting the lives of 300 million, may find themselves employing “enhanced information techniques” seldom used in the days of orthodox warfare.

This may cost them the good will of the chattering classes of the East and West coasts and most cities in Europe, but, as Scrappleface puts it, “crashing hijacked planes into buildings full of noncombatant civilians is one of several ‘enhanced immolation techniques’ forbidden under U.S. and international law.”

Trying to square their need to trash Bush for his successful deterrence agenda with their need to escape blame if harm comes if his acts are reversed by their people, liberals react with the perfect lucidity that has long been their main trait. Eugene Robinson insists that because it can’t be proved beyond doubt that any technique used by the Bush administration stopped any specific attack from occurring, it proves beyond doubt that none did.

Read the whole thing.

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