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May 18 2009

Torture Apologists on Parade: Freudian Slip Edition

Most of you have probably already seen David Waldman’s masterful performance on CNN. If not, here ye go:

You’ll notice a Center for American Progress representative spouting Con talking points there. Glenn Greenwald gave her a spanking:

This is what she said:

The American people right now are actually not interested in this sideshow and this discussion. The American people are interested in looking forward — nobody is concerned anymore with what the Bush administration was doing and did. We decided it was torture. Conservatives may or may not disagree. None of that matters at this point and time.

I wonder how Williams reconciles her claims about what “the American people” are and are not interested in with this:

That poll was from February, and while some subsequent polls have produced different results, all polls — even the most recent ones with the most anti-investigation findings — find that, at minimum, roughly 40% of Americans believe there must be some form of investigations in Bush crimes. That’s a lot of people to be dismissing away as “nobody.”

Since then, she’s posted a mea culpa. It’s appreciated, but… um… Well, let me preface with a suitable joke, oft told among my circle of friends:

Sometimes, when you mean to say one thing, it comes out a little bit different than you intended. Like the other morning, I was having breakfast with my wife, and what I meant to say was, “Honey, could you please pass the marmalade?” but what I actually said was, “Bitch, you ruined my life!

Erica Williams’s apology reminded me of that joke:

When the conversation veered slightly off topic and turned into a yelling match about torture between two other bloggers, making it difficult for me to jump in, my talking point about “moving forward and taking the American people’s attention off Obama’s ambitious legislative agenda” (which I intended to say only in reference to the Pelosi/CIA who-dunnit) somehow came out as the following –

The American people right now are actually not interested in this sideshow and this discussion. The American people are interested in looking forward — nobody is concerned anymore with what the Bush administration was doing and did. We decided it was torture. Conservatives may or may not disagree. None of that matters at this point and time.

What the heck did I just say? Dear God – A TORTURE APOLOGIST TOOK OVER MY BODY.

That’s not a Freudian slip. That’s a Freudian ballgown.

Talking about torture seems to bring on the insanity in quite a few people. Just look at Faux News and the Con party, who’ve completely lost their heads:

There are more than a few annoying angles to the recent Republican attacks on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, related to the CIA interrogation briefings she received in 2002 and 2003. Most notably, the GOP’s goal is transparent: don’t investigate officials from our team, they’re telling Democrats, or we’ll want an investigation of officials on your team.

With that in mind, Faiz Shakir did a nice job pulling together some Fox News coverage from this week, in which this very dynamic is discussed rather candidly. The goal, the reports indicated, is to create a “Mexican standoff,” in which both sides back off in some kind of mutually-assured-destruction scenario. Looking at accountability for possible war crimes through this lens seems crazy, but here we are anyway.

[snip]

To be sure, there are legitimate questions about the briefings. If Pelosi was told about torture and failed to raise objections, that warrants criticism. If there’s evidence that Pelosi was less than candid about what she was told — there isn’t — that’s a political problem.

But in general, this entire “controversy” is a ridiculous GOP stunt, which the media is falling for. We’ve effectively been told that the only person who should face real scrutiny for the Bush/Cheney torture scandal is the liberal, powerless, then-House Minority Leader who opposes torture.

As A.L. noted the other day, “The level of hypocrisy and incoherence it takes for Republicans to point to Pelosi as being some sort of key figure in this scandal is astounding. And the fact that the press corps would latch on to this rather ridiculous diversion is telling.”

It is indeed.

This is what happens when people try to justify the unjustifiable. Pathetic, innit?