Why Nancy Pelosi's Days Are Numbered

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[Black Star News Editorial]

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's days may be numbered. Eventually she may have to resign.

The speaker needs to command respect and credibility in order to get the President's work accomplished; and this president has an ambitious agenda.  Pelosi can no longer marshal the support she needs from both parties.

She has engaged in a fight she cannot win with the CIA.  Pelosi says she did not find out that the CIA was waterboarding al-Qaeda suspects  –simulated drowning— until 2003; that when she was briefed in 2002 as a Democratic member of the Intelligence Committee she was only told that the Department of Justice had concluded that water boarding was legal. She claims she was not told at that point that waterboarding was already in use by American interrogators.

Pelosi says she only learned about waterboarding being used in 2003 from other elected officials after they had been briefed. Even then, she could not come out and denounce this form of torture thereafter because she was sworn to secrecy, she has said. There are many problems with Pelosi's reasoning.

To begin with, we don't believe that "secrecy" should protect a lawmaker when it involves clearly illegal actions. Waterboarding is clearly torture –indeed, Japanese who waterboarded Allied troops  during World War II were executed after their defeat; and it is illegal.

Therefore, Pelosi is saying that she chose to hide and protect a crime for the sake of "secrecy." 

The second point is: why is Pelosi making a big deal that she was not informed in 2002 that the CIA was weatherboarding Al-Qaeda suspects and that she  only learned about it in 2003? For that distinction to make any sense at all it would mean that had she learned earlier she might have done something about it.

Yet the same "secrecy" argument she is now using to try and explain why she never said anything in 2003 would conceivably also covers 2002.

Pelosi is in a no win position.  And it does not help that her fight with the CIA has now become so public.

Pelosi is insisting that the CIA misled her by not telling her that waterboarding was already in use in 2002 when she was briefed: Yet at the same time she would not have done anything anyway due to "secrecy" considerations.

So then, what is her point?

The CIA, with Leon Panetta, President Barack Obama's appointee taking the lead, insists that Pelosi was informed in 2002 that water boarding was in use.  And in this row, President Obama has already sided with Panetta.

Weeks ago, Panetta opposed the president's decision to release the memos detailing how weatherboarding was authorized by Department of Justice officials. The memos were released  anyway.

Subsequently the Obama Administration revealed that more photographs of abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan by the U.S. military would be released. Again Panetta argued against the release of the pictures.

Last week the president announced that his Administration was withdrawing from the agreement to release the pictures--the agreement was with the ACLU following its law suit to have the pictures released.

The decision clearly means that President Obama has sided with those who argue that releasing such information would help Islamic radicals in their recruitment of fighters against the United States. We disagree with this logic. It implies that Muslims are irrational and that even those who harbor no animosity towards the U.S. would quickly pick up weapons merely after seeing such photos of abuse of Muslims.

In fact, it is quite insulting to level headed Muslims. Those disposed towards terrorism towards the United States don't need any more photos of abuse of Muslim captives to inspire them: Indeed what could accomplish this more effectively  are the images now coming from Pakistan where a one million people refugee nightmare has been created after the government there, urged by the U.S., and launched a military offensive against the Taliban.

Yet, the mere fact that the president has sided with Panetta means that Pelosi has been undermined.

Even with the shameful history of misleading elected officials under the George Bush- Dick Cheney regime, the CIA is still a primary force in the battle against Islamic radicals. Given a choice between Pelosi and the CIA, in which direction will President Obama throw his hat?

The answer is clear. Pelosi's tenure as Speaker has become untenable.

Please post your comments directly online or submit them for publication to milton@blackstarnews.com

"Speaking Truth To Empower."


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