A red herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is
used to divert attention from the original issue. The furor
over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi�s knowledge of the Bush/Cheney administration�s
use of torture is the latest Washington noise that conveniently diverts
attention from the illegitimate �war on terrorism� that continues to serve as
the justification for torture, murder and war.
Nancy�s clumsy tap dance
In a series of bumbling statements, Pelosi has denied her
knowledge of the extent of the Bush/Cheney administration�s use of torture and
other �enhanced interrogation techniques.�
Pelosi admits that she was aware, as early as September
2002, that �enhanced interrogation� techniques were being explored by the
Bush/Cheney�s Office of Legal Counsel as legal options, but that she was not
told that they were being used. A timeline from the CIA and statements from
well-placed (but unnamed) Democratic Party sources refute Pelosi�s claim.
In response, Pelosi accused the CIA of lying about the
degree of her knowledge, and covering up the fact that torture was already
being used without congressional input. She admitted that, as House speaker,
she learned in February 2003 that �certain techniques,� including
waterboarding, were being used, and that Congresswoman Jane Harman, Pelosi�s
replacement as senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee sent, a
letter to the CIA�s general counsel with her support.
Essentially, Pelosi passed the buck to Harman, who was the
�appropriate person to register a protest,� but did nothing else.
The Harman letter
But Harman�s letter to CIA General Counsel Scott Muller
contains no language calling on Bush/Cheney/CIA to cease and desist using
torture. It is not a protest, but more of a fawning caress that underscores the
full support she and fellow Democrats have continuously lavished upon
Bush/Cheney and the CIA.
Harman-letter to CIA General Counsel Scott Muller (February 10, 2003)
In the letter, Harman states that she �realizes� that �we
are at a time when the balance between security and liberty must be constantly
evaluated and recalibrated in order to protect our nation and its people from
catastrophic terrorist attack.� Obviously here, Harman is an enthusiastic
proponent of the fabricated pretext of 9/11, and the bogus �war on terrorism.�
Then Harman oozes that she �appreciates the obvious effort�
that the CIA made to �address tough questions,� stating that Bush/Cheney
lawyers had already assured those who attended the classified briefing
(including Pelosi) that the torture methods were within the law, approved by
the attorney general, and extensively reviewed by the appropriate lawyers at
the CIA, the Justice Department and the National Security Council.
Harman merely asks the CIA general counsel if the senior
levels of Bush/Cheney had determined that �the practices� are �consistent with
the principles and policies of the United States,� and politely asks what �policy
reviews� had taken place.
In fact, Harman�s letter suggests that she was more
immediately concerned with how to stage-manage the CIA�s plan to destroy tapes
of the capture of alleged terrorist Abu-Zubaydah than with torture. Harman
urges the CIA to reconsider the destruction of the Abu-Zubaydah tapes, in order
to prevent a political scandal: �The fact of destruction would reflect badly on
In other words, the Harman/Pelosi position, the overriding
bipartisan consensus position shared by the majority of Washington�s
functionaries, is that there was no problem with torture, as long as sufficient
cover had been created for it, and the appropriate parties have concocted the
appropriate legal opinions to justify it. As long as everyone�s rear ends were
covered, torture gets the green light.
Pelosi�s own words at her recent news conference further
bear this out: �We were not told that waterboarding or any of these other
enhanced interrogation methods were used. What they did tell us is that they
had some . . . Office of Legal Counsel opinions, that they could be used, but
not that they would.�
This fallback position itself is damning enough. Torture is
the definition of barbarity, an atrocity that goes against moral and ethical
laws stretching back to the beginning of human history. It is impossible for
Nancy Pelosi, or any coherent human being on the planet, not to know this.
Yet, upon first learning that Bush/Cheney/CIA were
�exploring� torture, Pelosi did nothing. She expressed no outrage, expended
none of her extensive political power to oppose or stop any of it. Then, one
full year later, she again did nothing, except pass the buck to Jane Harman,
whose letter, in fact, adds to the evidence of their complicity.
And now, after years of silence, Pelosi supports a �truth
commission,� and only because she is under fire.
Republicans and Bush/Cheney apologists, who are themselves
directly responsible for all of the worst atrocities and war crimes, have
accused Pelosi and other Democrats of only expressing outrage about torture
when it became politically expedient to do so, while aggressively pushing
�anti-terrorism� when mass fear makes it popular to do so. This accusation is
politically on target, if transparently hypocritical.
It is also another crop of red herrings.
The ironclad bipartisan consensus
What must be realized, however, is that the political
theater surrounding Pelosi distracts from the larger crime: the Washington �war
on terrorism� consensus that continues to provide the pretext for the US
government to commit torture, and other atrocities, within US borders and
around the world.
The �war on terrorism� is a product of an elite bipartisan
consensus deception, supported and nurtured equally by Republicans and
Democrats. The �war on terrorism,� itself, is a massive fabrication and
cover-up built entirely upon the false-flag operation of 9/11, resting squarely
on the perpetual threat of an outside enemy.
The endless criminal abominations begun by Bush/Cheney -- from
the USAPATRIOT Act to the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and throughout the world,
illegal surveillance, militarization, and torture -- continue under the management
of the equally deceptive, equally criminal Obama administration, and Nancy
The Obama administration and the Democratic Party leadership
continues to block
torture investigations, while deepening and expanding the �war on
terrorism� across Central Asia, continuing a host of other Bush/Cheney
atrocities, such as military tribunals, illegal surveillance, and covert
The �war on terrorism� continues unabated. Therefore, so
will torture and the false confessions needed to keep it all going.
It is no surprise, then, that the same Nancy Pelosi who has
almost singlehandedly prevented investigations and prosecutions of the
Bush/Cheney administration (taking it �off the table� years ago), also goes
along with the idea of �legal� torture.
course, Pelosi knows.