Beer Monday: Democrats Approved Of Waterboarding In 2002?

Good Monday! The start of a new work week. Time to get busy, shift a few paradigms, revolutionize outside the box, send some kudos faxblasts. How ’bout a beer?

Seems as if all those Democrats ponitificating about waterboarding, well, you know, knew about it. And approved of it

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

“The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough,” said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange.

Congressional leaders from both parties would later seize on waterboarding as a symbol of the worst excesses of the Bush administration’s counterterrorism effort. The CIA last week admitted that videotape of an interrogation of one of the waterboarded detainees was destroyed in 2005 against the advice of Justice Department and White House officials, provoking allegations that its actions were illegal and the destruction was a coverup.

I would dearly like to know who asked if the methods were tough enough, perhaps we will get some confirmation this week on that point.

With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).

And, then, Democrats seized upon waterboarding, after it had already been abandoned, as a means of assaulting the Bush administration. If only they would go after the Islamic extremists with the same vigor. Of course, the two seem to be on the same side.

Over at Instapundit: Reader Joseph Beaulieu has a difficult question for Pelosi, et al., on waterboarding: “If it was an acceptable practice five years ago, when the world was a more dangerous place, then what has happened in the past five years to make the world a less dangerous place where such harsh methods are no longer necessary?”

Captain Ed: That doesn’t settle the question as to whether waterboarding constitutes torture, but it certainly calls into question the notion that politics has nothing to do with the debate.

Bryan at Hot Air: Notice what else Pelosi knew about: The CIA’s so-called black sites where terrorists were being held overseas. And she did not object.

A cruise through the left-o-sphere, via Memeorandum, finds that most of the left are upset with Democrats for approving waterboarding of people directly associated with the group that, you know, killed 3,000 of our friends and neighbors. But, here are a few that have gone stark raving loony

AMERICAblog, whose post is entitled “Did Bush approve CIA leak to embarrass Pelosi?” It’s pretty clear that either one of the Republican members of Congress at the meeting, or the CIA, decided to leak what happened at a super-classified post-9/11 briefing in order to embarrass Pelosi and the Democrats. And I don’t doubt for a minute that Bush approved the leak, as he always does.

The conspiracy theory lives at Crooks and Liars, though, sadly, no mention of Karl Rove: When I first read this report, I admit that I got angry.  Then I got smart.  Look carefully at the names named in this report.  Isn’t it interesting that the WaPo reporters made sure to point out the Democrats in attendance when Congress was still operating under a Republican majority?  Hmmm….who do you suppose could have leaked this story to the press to perhaps deflect from their own negative stories?  

Open Left thinks we went nuts after the minor issue of 9.11: Nevertheless, our collective failures, and Nancy Pelosi’s specific moral albatross, is to address this country’s use of torture.  We keep 2 million people in prison, in violent conditions where many of them are tortured, and we do it because it makes a certain fear-based lifestyle easier to manage.  Atoning for our moment of overt lunacy in 2002 means acknowledging where it came from, and working to build a different society.

Maybe I should have made this post part of the Prozac Diaries series instead of Beer Monday?

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32 Responses to “Beer Monday: Democrats Approved Of Waterboarding In 2002?”

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  3. Silke says:

    Teach, you are right to call the Democrats (those who knew that waterboarding was occurring) on this. I saw this on Andrew Sullivan’s blog but he had a great quote from Glenn Greenwald:

    Rockefeller is not just any Democrat. He is the individual whom the Democratic Senate caucus thereafter elected — and still chooses — to lead them on all matters relating to intelligence. Just consider how compromised he is and they are when it comes to investigating abuses by the intelligence community over the last six years. Rockefeller was complicit in all of those abuses, and the Democrats voted for him — and still support him — as their Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. How can Rockefeller possibly preside over meaningful investigations into conduct and policies — including the destruction of the videotapes and the conduct which those videotapes would reveal — of which he approved? And how can Senate Democrats pretend to be outraged at such policies when the leader they chose supports them?

    I’m sure a lot more will come out as the investigations begin but the good news is that most people now see waterboarding as torture and therefore unacceptable.

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  8. John Rysn says:

    I think that it was very possible that when waterboarding was first mentioned most people did not realize EXACTLY what that term meant.
    In any case regardless of whether one democrat or all democrats “approved” it was/is illegal to torture people. Even the President can not break the law without being held accountable. If Democrats “approve” an illegal act it does not mean that the perpetrator should not be prosecuted.

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  15. Silke, in case you haven’t noticed, we waterboarded a grand total of 3 al Qaeda terrorists-you remember them, right? They killed 2,996 of our friends and neighbors in just a few hours-and it has been forbidden by the CIA since 2003. Personally, if I knew an al Qaeda member had info that would save American lives, I’d waterboard them in a heartbeat, if it came to it.

    John, all countries have to do some things which are distasteful at times in order to protect their sovreignity. I would love if there was some drug which we could give the captured terrorists to make them talk and tell the truth. If only. But, if it is us or them, I will choose us.

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  20. Silke says:

    Teach said: Personally, if I knew an al Qaeda member had info that would save American lives, I’d waterboard them in a heartbeat, if it came to it.

    Then you would have to torture all of them because you could make the argument that getting any information from any al Qaeda member will save lives. Very quickly the exception becomes the rule.

    Teach, I know exactly who these people are. But this isn’t about who they are. This is about who WE are. Torture is illegal and immoral. Whether you do it one time or one hundred times, it is against the law. We are in a long-term ideological struggle with radical Islamic extremism. We cannot abandon our principles. Every military leader who has spoken out about this agrees. Why not listen to the people who have actually put their lives on the line for this country?

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  22. Am I not entitled to my opinion anymore in Liberal America, Silke?

    So, if you have an al Qaeda member who you know has information that will save thousands of American lives, and you need that info immediately, you would not waterboard that person? You would put your petty principles, of which al Qaeda has none, above the lives of fellow Americans?

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  25. Silke says:

    Teach, of course you are entitled to your opinion. I have never said otherwise. And you certainly have a right to express those opinions. I am simply disagreeing with you.

    As for your scenario, we already know that we have used lesser criteria to waterbaord al Qaeda members. We were justifiably worried another large-scale attack was coming (though we had no information about a specific threat) so we tortured them for any information they could provide. We know that al Qaeda cells are very compartmentalized. Even if we had a high-value detainee in custody it’s very unlikely they would have the time sensitive information you are talking about. Yes, their information could lead to the capture of other al Qaeda members but you could make the case that even if they weren’t currently planning a big-scale attack, we still saved lives because they probably would carry one out eventually. Again, your exception becomes the rule.

  26. Stacy says:

    It seems to have been forgotten that al Qaeda is sub-human and does not deserve our love and kindness. Geezuzkrist, these people are animals and they wouldn’t take too kindly to a woman opining. Especially if she’s not wearing at minimum, the hijab.

  27. Stacy says:

    There is a blog I frequent that is written by a young woman living in the UAE. She was born and raised there, college educated in Canada, returned to the UAE. I haven’t quite figured out what the situation is with her parents. Her mother often lives in Bulgaria and her dad I believe jumps back and forth between Canada and the UAE. And she has a stepmother. Anyway . . . recently she went to the pharmacy to purchase wart remover for a wart on her hand. Because she was an unmarried woman, the male clerk refused to sell her the remover stating that it would leave a scar and no man would marry a woman with a blemish on her hand like that. He told her to go to the hospital and have them remove it. Ironically, the opposite is true. The acid remover will not leave a scar, whereas it being cut out will. This is the UAE, they are not immersed in that archaic version of Islam. She left that pharmacy empty handed. Plus she got in trouble for being alone. I have no sympathy for men who think so little of women.

  28. Silke says:

    I agree al Qaeda members are evil and I have no doubt that some women in the Middle-East are living in terrible conditions but my repudiation of torture is not a defense of terrorists or a culture that degrades and abuses women. On the contrary, I am proud that our country represents everything these terrorists hate and everything these women hope for.

  29. Stacy says:

    It’s stories like this that make me feel like we will never make any headway with the Muslims. This is a family living in Canada, so they live in a progressive society, and it changes nothing.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071211.wdeadteen1211/BNStory/National/home?cid=al_gam_mostview

  30. Silke, waterboarding should be the exeption, and, notice, it was only used on 3 high level AQ members. It is a method of last resort. If you can offer up another method that works, please, feel free.

    I have almost given up on the so called “moderate” Muslims. There may be lots, but they sure do not come out very often. I too find it detestible the way they treat women, and I find it almost as bad how the liberal womens groups ignore the plight of Muslim women, much of it simply because of their BDS.

  31. Stacy says:

    liberal womens groups ignore the plight of Muslim women, much of it simply because of their BDS

    That my friend pisses me off beyond words. If you truly believe in your cause you would ignore insignificant differences like party affiliation. After Afghanistan and Iraq were liberated (up for debate still, no arguing please) I sat on the edge of my chair awaiting the reaction from liberal womens’ groups. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It is amazing how closed lip they are about the abhorrent actions towards women in the Muslim world.

    And not to say that these things only happen in Islam, there are other religions that have had some bizarre things happen. But unfortunately this mindset appears to be the norm, not the exception.

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