It is difficult to understand what the Republicans think they have to gain by attacking Nancy Pelosi in the matter of her agreement or lack of it regarding torture. In the unlikely circumstance that she was given a definitive briefing and that she warmly embraced and signed off on it, then shame on her. In the more likely circumstance that she was briefed very selectively and, as she has declared, “misled” by the CIA and the Bush Administration, then shame on them.
But, unless we all have a fascination with the political skills or deficiencies of the current Speaker of the House, who cares? In 2003 Pelozi was a member of the minority party in the shadow of the Bush administration’s heady popularity following 9/11. She was not even the ranking member of the House Intelligence committee, and, like other politicians who are briefed on matters of national security, she agreed to stringent restraints of confidentiality. Does anyone think that in that political environment any objections she raised to the policy would have changed anything?
The Republican critics, piously led by Minority Leader Representative Boehner, are, as usual, making a pointless argument. The most they can hope to achieve is the perception that Pelosi will be exposed as a politician whose public statements are parsed to put the best face possible on her motivations. Imagine that. Shocking. On the other hand, if it turns out that the administration and the CIA parsed their presentation, that does have significance, since they, in the locution of the ex-commander-in-chief, were the “deciders."
The only rational explanation for the Republican attack on Pelosi, abetted by a main stream media that parrots the party line, is the need to change the subject from a discussion of the immorality and illegality of the Bush administration to an irrelevant sideshow. Nobody argues that the decision to use torture as an interrogation technique was Nancy Pelosi’s, and the sooner we ask the who and when questions to the real decision makers, President Bush and the train of those subordinate to him, the sooner we’ll get answers that matter.