That’s how some media are describing the decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to name a special prosecutor to look into CIA prisoner abuse cases. There are worries the fallout from Holder’s decision could distract attention from President Barack Obama’s continuing efforts to reform the healthcare system.
Why one would have anything to do with the other is for bigger media minds than mine. The Attorney General’s decision seems perfectly rational, and in fact the only thing he could do after new details emerged about “enhanced” interrogation techniques used after September 11th. President Obama is also correct in leaving the decision about what to do in Holder’s hands.
The AG acknowledged his decision would be controversial, but after all, that’s why he’s making the big money, isn’t it? The question now is whether those who have wanted accountability for torture during the Bush years will stand behind Holder as he takes flack for naming career prosecutor John Durham to head up this investigation.
As we’ve seen with healthcare, silence on the part of one side gives the other free rein to control the debate in the court of public opinion. And what will they say? Obama doesn’t care about national security, that he’s undermining morale at the CIA, that these allegations are old news.
And who will lead the charge? Could it be the Darth Vader of Bush era interrogation, Dick Cheney? They’ll trot him out, for sure. In fact, they won’t need to. He’ll start magically appearing on the Sunday talk shows again, and accuse the Obama Administration of offering aid and comfort to America’s enemies.
It’s all so predictable.
What can’t be predicted is whether those who side with justice on the issue of torture will be proactive, or just watch the firestorm from a distance. Let’s be clear. There is no excuse for linking healthcare to investigating torture.
Those who do so ought to be called on it immediately.
Progressives in this country don’t know their own strength. If seeing to it that suspects America detains in the future aren’t subjected to “enhanced” interrogation is important, get behind Holder and Obama. And then, push for the investigation to include not just the grunts who carried out these activities, but those who ordered them to do so, or looked the other way while it was happening.
None of this has the least little bit to do with keeping America safe. It’s about keeping America America.
What do you think? Is probing torture risky for President Obama’s healthcare reform?