During her screed last night about Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., MSNBC's Rachel Maddow made an unintentionally revealing comment --
Accountability -- every one of us who lived through the Bush administration has a measure of it as an American. Those of us who lived through it as Americans who were also members of the United States Senate, we have a big measure of it to contend with.
Yes, mon ami -- "we."
Last I checked, Maddow fulminates at MSNBC and Air America Radio but has not been elected nor appointed to the US Senate. Then again, Maddow is not a duly designated spokeswoman for the incoming Obama administration either, but this doesn't prevent her from acting as such.
Case in point: Maddow's indignation last night that Feinstein, she of the party of alleged diversity, would dare raise a contrary opinion about Obama nominating former congressman and Clinton chief of staff Leon Panetta as the next director of the CIA.
Feinstein was among "the Washingtonians who got soaked with the cold bucket of accountability" by Obama's selection of Panetta, Maddow claimed. How so? Because Feinstein and other congressional overseers "made the decision these past eight years to not expose what was going on, to not bring criminal actions to light, to not use their powers of oversight to bring the off-the-rails intelligence community back onto the rails."
Even worse, Feinstein dares deviate from party dogma, as held by Obama down to local school board members, that Torture Is Very Bad Indeed and must never be tolerated under any circumstances -- even if it will save thousands of lives.
As elucidated last night by Maddow --
On the subject of torture, Sen. Feinstein stepped on a hornet's nest last month when she seemed to leave the door open to it during an interview with the New York Times. Quoting the Times here, "Mrs. Feinstein indicated that extreme cases might call for flexibility. 'I think that you have to use the non-coercive standard to the greatest extent possible,' she said, raising the possibility that an imminent terrorist threat might require special measures."
Might require special measures? Why would an imminent terrorist threat require anyone to waste time on measures that notoriously don't work?
Except when they do, as described by former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who took part in the capture and interrogations of high-level al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah. As reported by ABC News in December 2007 --
A leader of the CIA team that captured the first major al Qaeda figure, Abu Zubaydah, says subjecting him to waterboarding was torture but necessary.
In the first public comment by any CIA officer involved in handling high-value al Qaeda targets, John Kiriakou, now retired, said the technique broke Zubaydah in less than 35 seconds.
"The next day, he told his interrogator that Allah had visited him in his cell during the night and told him to cooperate," said Kiriakou in an interview to be broadcast tonight on ABC News' "World News With Charles Gibson" and "Nightline."
"From that day on, he answered every question," Kiriakou said. "The threat information he provided disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks."
That Maddow is motivated by unstated partisanship and a yearning for show trials is evident by her selective condemnation. She never gets around to excoriating what was arguably the greatest crime of the Bush era, one that makes the torture of al Qaeda operatives pale by comparison.
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, the military dispatched fully-armed fighter planes in response to al Qaeda hijacking commercial jets for the purpose of using them as guided missiles against targets in New York and Washington.
Why scramble our fighter planes except to shoot down civilian aircraft identified as having been hijacked? Had this horrific scenario come to pass, scores and possibly hundreds of Americans would have been slaughtered -- by our own pilots. If torturing al Qaeda terrorists is a war crime, as Maddow maintains, how is conspiring to kill unarmed civilians en masse not a war crime?
Don't hold your breath waiting for Maddow or other Democratic proxies to condemn the scenario I've described above -- especially with Obama about to become a potential war criminal himself.