Republicans Are Making a Bad Call

I haven’t been at home and been able to get the full scoop on what happened at Gibbs’ press briefing today, but I can safely assume, given previous coverage of the matter, that the press did act as if an investigation into the Bush administration’s torture policy was partisan hackery.  They’ve certainly seemed okay with sweeping the whole issue under the rug, giving credence to the real partisan hackery: the fact that Republicans are now okay with torture.

Conservative punditry seems aghast at the notion that it was criminal conduct to write the OLC memos.  In the interest of preserving their political party, they’ve gone to great lengths to defend it.  Even Christopher Buckley said we should forget the whole thing because it’s important to remember that KSM and others did help to plan in the killing of 3,000 Americans.  What about the innocent people who were tortured? What about the people who were ripped from their homes because their names resembled someone’s on the watch lists?  What about dignity and being better than our enemies?

Republicans would do better to answer to this sad part of their history than to act as if it never happened.  I fear the mainstream media believes the conservatives are right — Americans don’t want to be dragged down this road of who did what when — and so they are going to take their side, no matter how horrible and unfair.

But I think the media are wrong.  No one wants a partisan witch hunt –but there are plenty of Americans who would like to see a non-partisan investigation (like those currently underway in the Senate and the House) and hold those who broke the law accountable.  It need not be partisan — it’s only partisan if the Republican Party decides they don’t want to particpate.

In which case they are throwing their lot in with history’s terrible men. And it behooves the media to recognize that.  I could be wrong, but I have the sensation that this is only case of the media, and the GOP, failing to recognize a turning point.

Other thoughts:

Jason Linkins well says a lot of good points on this matter, and points to a Gallup poll from January which shows a significant percentage of Americans favor an investigation of some kind.

I will say that I understand Obama’s reluctance to make this a political issue at this particular moment — he wants to build consensus, working majority, etc.  It’s tricky, because on the one hand I don’t believe Republicans will be any more willing to look into this in two years (although there may be less of them in Congress by then, they could be all the more stalwart in their craziness), but on the other I understand the efficacy of such a move.  There are certainly a lot of things on Obama’s plate at the moment which more directly affect the lives of American citizens.  But come on! It was torture! How is there anything more affecting!


One response to “Republicans Are Making a Bad Call

  1. very good post. I agree somewhat — it is partisan in many ways.


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