Let’s Not Fool Ourselves

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May 8, 2009 7:10 a.m.

There’s a lively debate today about which if any Democrats knew about various torture practices on a relatively contemporaneous basis. And we’re going to have reporting today from TPMmuckraker about what certain documents do or don’t mean. Speaking for myself though I’d be very surprised if the key Democrats at the time weren’t briefed on a lot of this stuff. And to the extent that they didn’t know the details, that it might have been not wanting to know rather than having been kept in the dark.

If it turns out that the Democrats in leadership were really kept wholly in the dark about this stuff, that’d be nice to know, I guess. I’d like to think they’re not compromised. But expecting or hoping for that strikes me as a recipe for disappointment and eventual special pleading in their defense.

To me, though, this is precisely why we need some version of a Truth Commission, probably one that at least on first blush is not about assigning blame or recommending punishment but simply finding out, in as disinterested a manner as possible, just what happened and who knew and okayed it.

I just think we’re fooling ourselves if we don’t see that many, many people — even a lot of the “good guys” were and are compromised by what happened.

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