‘Politically Painful’

Digby:

It’s true that this would have been politically painful immediately after 9/11 and there would have been those who called it treasonous. But that was five years ago. After all we know, is there any reason that one of these people couldn’t have come forward more recently if they had a problem with it? I don’t think there would have been any political fallout for them from 2005 on and probably not before.

I get what Digby’s saying, which is OH MY GOD WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN FOR EXACTLY YEARS, but I don’t think I’d have been satisifed with “recently” if they’d known since 2002. I don’t think I’d be any more okay with it had they spoken up in 2003 or 2004 or 2005. If they knew in 2002, that’s when they should have started shouting, and I’m not willing to let them off the hook for more than about the hour it would have taken after their briefings to write the press release and call the news conference.

You know, it’s past time we stopped giving people a pass for not criticizing this stuff from day one. We are rapidly approaching the day when this all will be counted out, and we will have to rebuild the world after the Bush years, and in that accounting, I don’t really want to start handing out cookies for people who spoke up once it became clear there would be no real repercussions.

Because the minute we say it’s okay to refrain, in the immediate aftermath of some terrible event, from speaking up, that’s the minute we make another Bush era possible. It can’t be okay, not even temporarily, not even when there will be those who call it treasonous, it can’t be okay to ever look the other way while America tortures people in secret prisons. I don’t care how “politically painful” it is for them. I don’t care, because it’s not like it wasn’t blindingly obvious to everybody by like week two that every asshole with an R after his name was gonna use this to brand all Democrats as spineless pussies, it’s not like we didn’t know about the supposed political pain, that it was gonna come no matter what.

I’m just done with letting people off the hook. I’m done setting the precedent that you can come back and all’s forgiven, that you shouldn’t have to answer for what you knew and didn’t talk about, for the courage you lacked, for the horrors your silence allowed to occur. I’m done pretending that a tough re-election is even remotely, anywhere near, anything likethis at all:

They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety — against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, “thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each…target.” And so, Suskind writes, “the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered.”

It would have been politically painful to speak out against that from the moment they learned of it, certainly. It would have been inconvenient and rude and hard and they would have gotten letters. It would have been tough. Some would have called it treasonous. It would have been politically painful to speak out, then, at the moment they acquired that information.

But it would have been RIGHT.

A.

12 thoughts on “‘Politically Painful’

  1. pluege says:

    Pelosi and Rockefeller are Vichy Democrats. They don’t know right from wrong. They have no integrity. They are not leaders, they can not be trusted to lead us. They need to go. Period.
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  2. pluege says:

    furthermore, Digby is wrong is this case. There is no time out on morals and legality. Crisis is when you need them more than ever.
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  3. Anonymous says:

    georgie obviously has made us think we have to be the same as THEM, rather than better.

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  4. hoppy says:

    I never have, to the best of my memory, said that our attack on Afghanistan was the right thing to do. I have strongly believed from the start that it wasn’t. War is right only when you are defending yourself from an immediate threat or reacting to a military attack. Very, very few people have ever agreed with me on this. But, I view this as being equivalent to our torturing POW’s, and they are POW’s despite Bush’s refusal to call them that.
    So, since shortly after 9/11 I have been continually disgusted with our elected officials, from both parties. Barbara Lee, a Congresswoman from California, seems to have been the only elected official to national office who has had the spine to stand up and be on the right side of all of the issues post 9/11.

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  5. pluege says:

    I agree with your view on the only acceptable resort to violence, i.e., war. It is sad, pathetic, and infuriating when republicans and the national discussion on Iraq is focused on “winning” and “losing”: there can be no such thing possible as “winning” in Iraq for the criminal act of aggression, there is only losing for all involved and for humanity in general.
    .

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  6. BuggyQ says:

    Once again, you nail it, A. How quickly *should* people act when they see bad behavior? If I see a guy beating his wife, is it okay if I call the next day? Don’t get me wrong–it’s great if I do call at all, but should I expect to be hailed as a hero if I wait that long? Hell, no, I should have the cops read me the riot act for the delay.
    The minute we start giving passes for the fainthearted, we move the goalposts (if I may mix my metaphors in a Cuisinart). Pretty soon, the only people who will act are those who are 100% certain that they have 100% support from their constituents. We’re already well down that road, and look how well that’s working out.

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  7. BuggyQ says:

    Once again, you nail it, A. How quickly *should* people act when they see bad behavior? If I see a guy beating his wife, is it okay if I call the next day? Don’t get me wrong–it’s great if I do call at all, but should I expect to be hailed as a hero if I wait that long? Hell, no, I should have the cops read me the riot act for the delay.
    The minute we start giving passes for the fainthearted, we move the goalposts (if I may mix my metaphors in a Cuisinart). Pretty soon, the only people who will act are those who are 100% certain that they have 100% support from their constituents. We’re already well down that road, and look how well that’s working out.

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  8. Dorothy says:

    >pluege
    There is no time out on morals and legality. Crisis is when you need them more than ever.
    Absolutely true, and perfectly stated. The single biggest problem I had with the whole “War on Terror” mindset is that it can’t possibly end. There will always be terrorists, and there will always be “terror”. So under what circumstances will this particular “crisis” ever be resovled? Never–and that was by design. And that is why I don’t trust anything said or done in the “fight against terror”.
    I never have, to the best of my memory, said that our attack on Afghanistan was the right thing to do. […] War is right only when you are defending yourself from an immediate threat or reacting to a military attack. Very, very few people have ever agreed with me on this.
    I didn’t support “attacking Afghanistan”: I supported the removal of the Taliban. They overthrew a legitimate government, abused their people mercilessly, and actively harbored and supported an international terror organization.
    I believe in principle that war is also worthwhile* in defense of another group of people, but I also realize that this reason is too often twisted, manipulated, and abused. I don’t know if there is a consistent, trustworthy method of determining whether the people we’re proposing to defend will be better off if we go to war. In the case of Afghanistan, I sincerely believed they would be. (Of course, that was before this administration’s avarice, hubris, and incompetence had become shockingly clear.)
    * I’m trying to get out of the habit of using the term “justified” to describe war. Too many people seem to think that if an action is “justified”, there are no consequences to it (long version of this is here).

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  9. CJ says:

    “I’m just done with letting people off the hook.”
    Really? Then for whom are you planning to cast your ballot for president?

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  10. pansypoo says:

    clearly, afghanistan and the taliban could have been dealt with better. but it was in georgie’s hands.
    of course, shifting everything to iWaq just made it worse.
    and WHER”S OSAMA, BITCH? (georgie is BITCH by the way)

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  11. Lex says:

    Silence = complicity

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  12. Interrobang says:

    I have to respectfully disagree with you, Dorothy. At one point, oh, like about ten years ago, the Talibanwas the legitimate government of Afghanistan, so they didn’t “overthrow” anything. Incidentally, back in the day, everyone from “Taliban Dana” Rorabacher on down thought the Taliban were just peachy-keen, because they’d pretty much eliminated the poppy crop and, from there, the Afghanistan-centred drug trade. The Taliban also didn’t just magically become human-rights-abusing, terrorist-harbouring bad guys after 11/09/2001; they werenever a very nice crew.
    The time to take them out, if such a thing is ever warranted, would have been ten or so years ago when they were first coming to power, and before they’d gotten really entrenched. Of course, back then, the US thought they weren’t as bad as all that, because wow, they’re drug warriors just like we are, and gee, isn’t that stability in Afghanistan nice (who cares about human rights anyway?)…
    To me, the whole Afghanistan adventure looks like yet another case of a former client regime becoming embarrassing and needing to be taken out to save US face (the most recent example of which is Saddam Hussein and his government, and probably the next to go is Pervez Musharraf).
    That, too, is “politically painful.”

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