Eric Holder and the C.I.A.


So, politically speaking, I think Eric Holder’s announcement that there will be an investigation of the CIA’s potential prisoner abuses is absolutely terrible news. Barack Obama already has an uphill battle, selling himself as a Rambo-type hulskter willing to go after the terrorists and slam them into the ground. We Americans like tough talk and tough guys—and Obama isn’t really a tough talker, and certainly not a tough looker. So, it goes without saying, he will be slammed, slammed, slammed by conservatives (and many liberals) for standing behind this sort of investigation. Hell, just leave it to Dick Cheney, who (predictably) lurched forward today to say the move fuels “doubts about this administration’s ability to be responsible for our nation’s security.”

“The people involved deserve our gratitude,” Cheney said in the statement. “They do not deserve to be the targets of political investigations or prosecutions.”

I get it.

I get it.

I get it.

But I strongly disagree.

Come day’s end, we are—as a country—what we practice. If we allow prisoners to be choked; to be hit; to be waterboarded; to be … tortured—well, who are we? And what do we stand for?

More important, I consider it vital to our democracy that accountability matters, status or position be damned. I drive 100 in a 55—I get a ticket. Fair. A CIA operative pours dog s#@! over a prisoner … nothing? Absolutely nothing?

Again, this will not go well for Obama. He’ll be painted as soft and weak and an enemy within. But sometimes the righteous act isn’t the most popular.

3 thoughts on “Eric Holder and the C.I.A.”

  1. I have been torn on the matter.
    It’s going to make things harder than it has been for Obama to achieve things politically. However, what happened does need to be publicly documented so it never happens again. Also, I’d like to see the Obama administration show backbone and take a stand on something.

    The documentary “Taxi to the Dark Side” is mind-blowing on the subject. The tragic thing is who the fall guys are (the low-level soldiers following orders) and who went unpunished (everybody at the top who made the orders, created and encouraged the situation).
    It’s infuriating the lack of accountability there is. It is very much reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s amazing political movie, “Paths of Glory” with what happened.
    To quote “the Wire” though, “shit rolls downhill”.

    Also, here’s a solid article a month back in Newsweek on the Obama administration wanting nothing to do with the probe while Eric Holder clearly finds what happened too awful not to…

  2. I am confused by your piece here, Jeff. Do you support this move by Holder? I do, as I think it’s a start. Hopefully, the AG can bring charges against enough heavyhitters, not just the peons who did the actual torturing. This is a great day for America, IMO, as we as a nation are on the path to bringing the Bush administrations chief criminals to call for their reckless and criminal actions.

  3. This is a great day. I’m a big Obama supporter and I can understand why, politically, he doesn’t want to pursue this.

    But this is exactly why I voted for him. In hiring Holder, he hired the best person for the job, without regard to whether that person would do what was politically expedient, but what is right. Which is the job of the Justice Department. They work for us, not the President.

    Terrific news.

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