by Josh Orton, Mon May 18, 2009 at 11:36:57 AM EDT
I've been traveling the last few days after finishing my first year of law school. Sitting in the airport Friday afternoon, I couldn't believe what I saw: the entire narrative about torture had been yoked by Republicans to be about Nancy Pelosi. Seems like the first big political success they've had since January. Blatantly dishonest, but successful.
But nearly lost is the notion that torture is illegal. And lost is the uncomfortable truth: the Bush administration tortured detainees for political cover after the Iraq invasion - no 'ticking time bomb,' no '24' impending attack. The Bush administration tortured because they wanted an Iraq-9/11 connection that didn't exist - but no one's talking about it. Or what should be done about it.
And with the White House "looking forward," the opportunity to enforce the rule of law is slipping away.
Back in late 2005, opposition to the Iraq war was floundering. The Senate easily defeated timetable measures. The only resolution with enough support to pass had weak language about how 2006 "should be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty." It was Republican-written.
But then, on November 17th 2005, Jack Murtha stepped forward. As a former Marine who originally voted for the war's authorization, Murtha's voice cut through the Washington conventional wisdom that dissent about sustained occupation only came from the far left.
Is there a Jack Murtha for torture?
Whose call for a special prosecutor would get the political media's (and the White House's) attention?