EDITORIAL Pelosi and the CIA

The Republicans, with their fever-pitched attacks on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for what and when she knew about the Bush administration’s torture policies, are only adding to and continuing a national disgrace.

The Bush administration carefully devised and implemented a policy of torture of U.S.-held prisoners that took the nation’s national character, its principles and its constitution and threw them into the garbage pail.

We now know that Bush and Cheney lied about even the purpose of the torture. It wasn’t to keep Americans safe, but to torture prisoners into admitting the existence of a link that wasn’t there: a fabricated link between the 9/11 terrorists and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. With such a false confession, they could cobble together a justification for their invasion of a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11.

Now they say Pelosi knew “everything” because the CIA had briefed her and it is not CIA policy “to mislead.”

Tell that to the now dead, arch-conservative Barry Goldwater who, when he was on the Senate intelligence committee many years ago, complained that the CIA had “lied” to him “on a regular basis.”

The GOP exposes itself as caring not one bit about the real issue -- that an administration, in violation of the law, devised a systematic system of torture and abuse of human rights. And they can’t even use the excuse that they did it to “protect” Americans.

Their attacks on Pelosi are , at best, a cynical maneuver to try to stop any investigations of Bush and Cheney or, at worst, a diversion to keep Pelosi and the broad based progressive coalition of which she is both a part and a leader, from doing its work.

They don’t hate Pelosi because she may have known something about torture. They hate her because the most powerful Speaker of the House since the days of Sam Rayburn is a woman who says things they don’t want to hear. They don’t want a Speaker who, like Pelosi, told 3,000 trade unionists in the nation’s capital last week that America’s middle class is only as strong as its unions.

They don’t want a Speaker who, when Bush was devising his torture plans, was busy as a congressional leader helping to put together the legislative coalition that in a few years would help defeat the ultra-right in this country.