The other day, I compared Newt Gingrich to an erupting popcorn maker, spewing incoherent talking points in every direction. Today, he offered a good example of what I was talking about.How dare she! Doesn't she know how sensitive CIA agents are?
"I think she has lied to the House, and I think that the House has an absolute obligation to open an inquiry, and I hope there will be a resolution to investigate her. And I think this is a big deal. I don't think the Speaker of the House can lie to the country on national security matters," Gingrich said.
He continued: "I think this is the most despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort I've seen in my lifetime."
"She is a trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowest of purposes, and she dishonors the Congress by her behavior."
I see. The Bush administration engaged in systematic torture, but our disgraced former House Speaker is outraged that Nancy Pelosi did what members of Congress have been doing for decades: she questioned the veracity of a CIA briefing.
I second that. If they're so easily butt-hurt by Pelosi, there's no way they're tough enough to protect us from terrorists.
The hysteria has reached new heights by FOX News as they spin the Pelosi outrage as far as it can go. How far is that? The CIA will just stop working and America may be attacked because of her. Wingnut Du Jour, ex-CIA agent and FOX Newser Wayne Simmons said that Pelosi has. What is the impact of Nancy Pelosi saying that the CIA lied to her and members of Congress? We're doomed!!!Simmons: The best thing about not being a diplomat or a politician is that I can tell you that first and foremost Nancy Pelosi, the woman whose third in line to be President of the United States, the Speaker of the House is a pathological liar and her attacks on the CIA, the release of the CIA memos has so sent a chill through the CIA to guys like me who were not only interrogated in our entire careers, but ran interrogations and interviews that I can assure you that we are not going to go the extra mile EVER in this climate to secure information and intelligence that's going to protect the Untied States so understand that the American people need to, this has directly affected the National Security of the United States.[snip]
Simmons paints the CIA as one big chickenshit outfit that can't take a little criticism from the big bad Nancy Pelosi. They will even abandon their posts and let terrorists attack the country because their itty-bitty feelings are so hurt. I say they should all quit right now if Simmons is correct.
As Cons screamed over that mean ol' Nancy Pelosi saying awful things about the CIA which they'd never ever say (oops), they rather forgot their Shakespeare. There is such a thing as protesting too much. And you know you're protesting way too much when it shocks some sanity into Hannity's show:
Aha. No wonder they're so upset by evidence the CIA, y'know, didn't quite manage to inform Pelosi about their hijinks. So now they have to paint Pelosi as a big fat liar and hope that nobody gets a calendar.
Sean Hannity couldn't have been too pleased last night when his "All American Panel" -- which he usually manages to keep nicely docile -- took a decidedly liberal detour on the subject of Nancy Pelosi's charge that the CIA lied to her.
First, Sunny Hostin, a former federal prosecutor, pointed out the obvious:
Why do we think that she is the liar?
Regina Calcaterra, a Democratic consultant, promptly chimed in:
It's a smokescreen. I think this is a smokescreen by Republicans, because Republicans are concerned about Congress holding the Truth Commission, which you know is going to be the parallel to the 9/11 Commission.
Later, Hostin raises the really relevant point:
The issue here is that everybody knows that waterboarding is torture. And that was an approved policy. It is torture! Everyone knows that. And that was the policy of the Bush administration. Why don't we talk about that?
Indeed. Because on Planet Wingnuttia, claiming that "Nancy Pelosi knew about it too" justifies the policy.
Oh, and on the ticking time bomb front... this is just utterly pathetic:
The Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer received some well-deserved flak after his pro-torture column a couple of weeks ago. He argued at the time, that "the ticking time bomb" is a reasonable excuse for torture. "An innocent's life is at stake," Krauthammer said. "The bad guy you have captured possesses information that could save this life. He refuses to divulge. In such a case, the choice is easy."Wow. Torture apologetics and Christian apologetics have something in common: they both cause the people engaging in them to look like a right bunch of nitwits.
The general response to this is that the proverbial ticking time bomb is a fantasy scenario, best left to action shows on television. Today, the conservative columnist responds by pointing to a specific example, that actually happened, to help bolster his point.
On Oct. 9, 1994, Israeli Cpl. Nachshon Waxman was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists. The Israelis captured the driver of the car. He was interrogated with methods so brutal that they violated Israel's existing 1987 interrogation guidelines, which themselves were revoked in 1999 by the Israeli Supreme Court as unconscionably harsh. The Israeli prime minister who ordered this enhanced interrogation (as we now say) explained without apology: "If we'd been so careful to follow the  Landau Commission [guidelines], we would never have found out where Waxman was being held."
Who was that prime minister? Yitzhak Rabin, Nobel Peace laureate. The fact that Waxman died in the rescue raid compounds the tragedy but changes nothing of Rabin's moral calculus.
Krauthammer had weeks to come up with a real-world scenario to help prove his case for justifiable torture, and this was the best he could do.