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.