Letters to the Editor

Blame goes around for torture

A national conversation on what constitutes torture, and the limits of interrogation, is an important one. Unfortunately, Steve Erickson’s Orwellian dream sequence (Letters, May 13,) contributed more bathos than substance to the discussion.

Mr. Erickson’s outrage cannot be faulted. After all, he was not briefed by the CIA, and cannot be blamed for years of silence about “crimes” of which he was unaware. Even the silence of the Bush administration cannot be faulted, though their behavior can certainly be questioned. They believed they were in the right, so why make a noise?

But, where was the outcry from those in Congress who are now crying out for the blood of memo writers like Judge Jay Bybee, whom Mr. Erickson wants to impeach for authoring an opinion on torture. Question: Is it worse to opine about torture, or to knowingly permit it to happen; especially when you have been elected to prevent such constitutional abuses?

Pontius Pelosi is the most recent and public example of the problem facing Mr. Erickson, and our nation. She was “briefed.” She was “told.” She was “told about someone else being briefed.” She was “misled.” Why did other Congressional leaders, Democrats and Republicans, understand the briefings, and Pelosi, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, did not?

The Nuremburg War Crime Trials began with the highest ranking Nazis, and worked their way down. If Mr. Erickson, or the rest of us, want political retribution, there is a long line of “war criminals” to impeach or prosecute before we reach Judge Bybee. Start with President Bush, Mr. Erickson, it’ll feel good. But don’t lose interest before you reach Pontius Pelosi, Tom Daschle (who was Democrat Leader in the Senate), and their GOP equivalents.

Let’s keep the legitimate discussion of how America should conduct interrogations separate from the partisan blood letting, shall we?

Paul Newman

Oak Harbor

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