The panel on This Week wasn't much better than the one on Fox News Sunday with their whitewashing of torture and whether there should be investigations. The worst of them being George Will and Peggy Noonan. When asked about whether there will be prosecutions for those that devised the policies on torture George Will thought the Obama administration was striking the right "balance".
Will: Yes. His balance was right. Whether Congress will stick to it or not, the New York Times and others of that faction are inciting Congress have hearings on this and perhaps they will. Perhaps they should. The problem with transparency is it's transparent for the terrorists as well and as you had a clip on here of former Secretary of Homeland Security Chertoff saying, the bad guys train to resist what they know we can use and they are helped by when they are captured knowing what we cannot use. So this has a cost.
No George. They already knew that we were waterboarding. Your argument is bunk. You and Brit Hume really need to get with the program here. Next on the list is Cokie Roberts who is just oh so glad that those CIA tapes were destroyed.
Roberts: That's certainly true but we don't have, give them ammunition, and you know whoever at the CIA destroyed the tapes of the waterboarding, it was the wrong thing to do but I'm really glad they did it because I would hate to have those tapes out on the Internet and people uh, being using those because I think they would be wonderful recruiting tools for terrorists and the truth is we do wonderful work all around the world, this country, people in this country, organizations in this country, the US government get no credit for it, partly because of these kinds of techniques and just getting them out of there I think is just tremendously helpful.
So Cokie, do you really think that the terrorists don't know what went on because those tapes aren't there to watch? Do you really think this was not already a recruiting tool without the tapes? I fail to follow your logic here. The only thing not having the tapes out there assures is that the people who were in them are never held accountable for what they did.
Then we have Sam Donaldson who throws out the whole Nuremberg trials argument in one fell swoop by giving the CIA agents a pass who tortured prisoners.
Donaldson: As to prosecutions, I agree that people that thought they were following "the law" as outlined, they say well, following orders no excuse. This is not Nazi Germany. This is not that type of thing. They should not be held (crosstalk)..but the people who devised these methods, devised these memos, if in fact they knew that they were just trying to find cover. Just trying to find a way to get around American values and American law and the American Constitution, I think they should be held responsible. I think they should be brought in and if President Obama wants to pardon them as one President pardoned a former President, then let him do so. But they should be held accountable in a court of law.
So Sam, your idea of accountability is to pardon someone who broke the law after a court finds them guilty? That's one hell of a high standard you just set there. Kind of like the one we had for the Iran contra thugs, or Nixon. And we all know how much good that did for the country with giving us the Bush gang of thugs that should have been in jail instead of making policy and leading us into that debacle in Iraq.
Then we have Peggy Noonan who is oh so swept up in her own importance with her demeanor in this response. I'm sure it must be nice to be one of those very, very serious Villagers that should have us mere mortals out there hanging from every word that comes from her lips.
Noonan: Oh I have reservations about all this. It's hard for me to look at a great nation issuing these documents and sending them out to the world and thinking oh much good will come of that. Sometimes in life you wanna' just keep walkin'. History has changed. It does change. We have a new administration, a new way. Sometimes I think just keep walkin'. Don't always be issuing papers and reports.
She adds that "some of life has to be mysterious". Really? Somehow I find nothing "mysterious" about torturing people. We either did it or we didn't, and you hold someone accountable or you don't. No mystery there.
This was a much more "civil" debate than the one that happened on Fox News, but in so many ways, it was worse. These are people who pretend to be in the middle of our political discourse and aren't as openly partisan as Fox but they're touting the same sorry talking points. They all had a good chuckle at the end of the segment about whether there will be Congressional hearings to investigate the torture. I'm so glad that served as a source of amusement for them. Heaven forbid we could take a small matter like Congressional oversight for war crimes seriously. I would guess if those hearings are ever followed up by some prosecutions, they'll quit laughing. We can only hope that happens instead of the Bush protection racket we had at the DOJ for the last eight years. I'm not holding my breath, but we'll see.