Strong opinions, weakly held

Democrats are to blame for torture, too

Today we learned that top Congressional Democrats were briefed by the CIA on their plans to torture detainees in secret facilities in other countries, starting in 2002. While I’ve been hard on the Republicans for the part they’ve played in supporting the torture of suspected supporters of terrorism, the Democrats deserve plenty of blame as well. Extraordinary rendition was introduced by the Clinton administration, and while the Democrats have not given torture their full-throated support, they haven’t done much to oppose it, either. And let’s be blunt, I knew back in 2002 that the United States was torturing prisoners, does anyone really believe that the Democrats in Congress didn’t?

The bottom line for me is that I’m not going to vote for anybody who’s a supporter of torture, extraordinary rendition, secret prisons, or any other practices that violate our Constitution or the treaties that the United States has ratified. I didn’t vote for the Democratic incumbent in the Congressional election last time because he voted in favor of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and I won’t be voting for any torture apologists in 2008.

Oh, and don’t buy the argument that the people in Congress couldn’t speak up. Michael Froomkin explains why that’s not the case.


  1. I wonโ€™t be voting for any torture apologists in 2008.

    Does that include for President? I’m not sure if North Carolina will even be in play for the election, but the Democratic candidates have seemed pretty vague to me about what they would do regarding torture policy. If it’s McCain versus Hillary for example, McCain has had slightly better rhetoric on this topic, and he has a believable personal motivation to put an end to it.

    I’m not trying to be snarky. I’m just curious, because I’ve always told myself I would vote Dem this time around no matter how unhappy I am with the candidate. Your rule is obviously the right moral line to draw, but how do I reconcile that with the pragmatics I thought I learned after 2000?

  2. I certainly wouldn’t vote for McCain since he is for prolonging and perhaps expanding the war, which is certain to lead to lots more death, torture, and other assorted crimes against humanity. I don’t know whether I’d vote for Hillary. In 2006 I abstained, and I’d do the same in 2008, even for President.

  3. Perhaps Ron Paul is your guy Rafe! ๐Ÿ™‚

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