We know now from a story in this morning's Washington Post that from 2002 the Bush administration did indeed brief leading Democrats in the Senate and House Intelligence Committees -- including my California's Nancy Pelosi and Jane Harman -- about the CIA's "enhanced interrogation methods," specifically including details about waterboarding and other methods that unquestionably amount to torture.
Glenn Greenwald proposes that "[t]his 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…"
Either too unprincipled to grasp what a child of two knows -- namely, that torture is wrong -- or, worse, too timid or cynical to act on such obvious principles, despite their incomparable power, despite their goddamned job descriptions as members of these Committees, despite their basic responsibilities to the constituencies who elected their sorry asses to these positions, the Democratic leadership has enabled the torture regime, the illegal war machine, the surveillance state, the dismantlement of habeus all so long and so desperately coveted by the Killer Clowns of Movement Conservatism and their would-be "Unitary Executive," the Boy King.
I still know the difference between torture lovers and torture enablers, but I also know the difference between torture enablers and the righteous fighters against torture we had every right to expect our Democratic leaders to be.
As Greenwald summarizes the stakes:
[I]t'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.
You better believe that there will be hell to pay for this abdication of responsibility, for this disgusting and pointless complicity in criminality. There can be no patience, no apologies, no self-serving justifications for the enablers of torture, any more than for the criminals who love it.
There is nothing for it, but as always: More Democrats. And as never before: Better Democrats.
Movement Republicanism is surely dead or dying now. A Progressive Democratic turning of the tide is finally discernible, perhaps only just in time, driven by citizen activism, citizen journalism, citizen organizing out from the Netroots and into the Streets. We deserve better than we are getting from our Democratic leadership, and we will demand better, and you better believe we will get better.