What The Dems Knew About Torture

Josh Marshall doesn't want us to kid ourselves:

I'd be very surprised if the key Democrats at the time weren't briefed on a lot of this stuff. And to the extent that they didn't know the details, that it might have been not wanting to know rather than having been kept in the dark.

Drum has a simular response, as does Marc:

Pelosi last week said she had no idea that EITs were even being used and insisted that the subject of waterboarding never came up. That's hard to swallow, even if you believe the claim about waterboarding.  Why would the CIA even brief Pelosi about EITs if it had no intention of using them?

"Hard to swallow" is probably a metaphor worth avoiding when it comes to water torture. I don't doubt that a few Dems were clued in. And they should be held responsible for their share as well. This was a collective failure on the part of the political leadership of both parties - although obviously the lion's share belongs in the executive branch. But the Congress is co-equal; they were briefed; we deserve to know exactly what they knew and what, if anything they did to stop it.

All the more reason for a truly independent commission to address all responsible parties. Give it time and money. This failure is different from the failure to stop 9/11, but it is a profound moral failure and legal travesty. There is just as much reason to investigate this. In fact, a thorough investigation by a mature democracy of this failure could begin to repair some of the damage. That's my hope. I want us to move on. But we cannot move on unless we have held ourselves accountable, and cauterized this period as anomalous.

Or else the threat of a future torture program, justified as this one was, looms over all of us, and the world.