In no way whatsoever do I accept torture as a means of controlling people, getting information, or seeking revenge. It makes me sick, frankly, to imagine that for whatever the purpose, there are people who can mistreat another human being in such a manner and still go home to his dinner. And I don’t consider any of the “hands off” people who give the orders — tacit or otherwise — and condone that abuse free from direct responsibility either. Torture is a crime and it must be dealt with.
Saying that, however, I don’t find myself in agreement with those who wanted to release the Senate Intelligence Committee report that exposes and details this abuse at length. I don’t believe the move is necessary. Only the most naive among us would need to see this report to understand that our government and its agents participated in the horrible crime of torture. The world knows it and the world knows who is guilty.
Committee Chairwoman, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and her supports — mostly Democrats and mostly outside military and diplomatic roles — thought it important to come clean and profess our sins. However, given that I believe the report superfluous in the first place, I tend to agree with the critics of that decision and believe it likely will do more harm than good, perhaps inflicting more pain, death, and destruction in already strained parts of the world. I also believe this decision might put our diplomatic work and national security at risk. I am not saying anything new or original here. Many people are complaining loudly about these very points. These are serious life and death issues. So is it insensitive then to ask a simple, pragmatic political question?
Why, pray tell, would a Democratic senator push this through given the controversy and anger it surely will stir? Let me put it more bluntly: Did Senator Feinstein act in the best interest of her party?
I believe this decision will become scandal. It will be the new Obamacare. In that way the answer to my question is no, it is not a decision that serves the interests of the Democratic Party.
Democrats took a hit just a few short weeks ago, but there was nothing decisive about it, it was not a knock-out blow. There is another election two short years away. A big election. The economy and the polls are turning around. Democrats are on the right side of the issues just as complaints about false tragedies like the Affordable Care Act are losing their punch. Democrats — indeed, President Barack Obama — have done much good despite the collective efforts of Republicans to prevent any accomplishment at all.
Republicans don’t have much to run on. Selling the idea of change when times are good isn’t always an easy pitch to make. But Republicans see politics this way: They win, we lose. It is that simple. And now Democrats have given Republicans a fresh controversy that they can turn into all sorts of problems for future campaigns. Expect to see everything from inexperience and weakness to treason and lawlessness to converge around the decision to release the committee’s report. Rather than focus on Democrat success, Republicans now have an issue they can turn into dominate political discourse. Haven’t we seen this before? Certainly we have, and from much, much smaller issues. (Was the president chewing gum when he saluted the military?)
Should anything tragic happen that could be “blamed” on the release of this report, this decision then becomes a gift, an early Christmas present to Republicans.