To say that, in general, politicians are hypocrites is both incontestable and trivially true. Hypocrisy describes a behavior engaged in by almost all human beings, politicians among them. A more interesting question concerns specific instances of hypocritical behavior; instances that have the potential to provide deeper insight into the offenders. For that we turn to the case of Gina Haspel who was nominated by President Trump to be the new Director of the CIA.
Needless to say #The Resistance is ablaze with outrage over the nomination. Haspel, they say, condoned torture, making her uniquely unfit to be CIA Director.
Let us put this in context for a minute. Nancy Pelosi as ranking member was informed about what the CIA prefers to call “harsh interrogation methods” a full 3 months before Haspel even knew about them. One can search the record in vain to find objections to the program by Pelosi at the time (September 2002). Pelosi’s objections came years later after the public turned against the Iraq war and the existence of the program was leaked to the New York Times. Moreover the Congresswoman who objected to the program did so on the record and in writing when she found out about it. That Congresswoman was California Democrat Jane Harman whom Pelosi subsequently pushed out of Congress.
And then there is the case of John Brennan, now a resistance icon who was running the CIA when all this was going on. (Error correction: John Brennan ran the CIA from 2013 until the end of the Obama Administration. That said, during the Bush years he support the rendition of terror suspects to other countries like Egypt where they were tortured. And, interestingly enough, in 1976 he voted for Gus Hall for President. Gus Hall was the nominee of the American Communist Party). Somehow or other the taint from all this doesn’t apply to him. Or to his buddy James Clapper over at the NSA who perjured himself before Congress at least twice. Brennan probably committed perjury only once. But they are full fledged members of the resistance and they both probably, almost certainly, had their hands in the corruption of law enforcement and intelligence agencies in order to serve domestic political goals.
Last but not least let us consider the case of the most sanctimonious of the lot. That would be President Obama. He did not order or condone torture; his tool of choice was summary execution. Every day, as reported by the New York Times, President Obama was presented with a “kill list” of terrorist subjects that included American citizens. And Obama would give the OK for the ones to be executed by drone attack. No indictment, no trial. Just a hellfire missile.
It took a filibuster by Rand Paul (R. KY) on the Senate floor to persuade the Obama Administration to concede that the President lacks the legal authority to order the summary execution of American citizens on American soil. But the Administration never did concede that it lacked authority to launch drone attacks on American citizens on foreign soil. Which makes the outrage over Vladimir Putin’s various assassinations of Russian citizens (and ex-citizens) on foreign soil kind of puzzling. It would seem the objection is not to summary execution per se, but to who is doing the killing.
Remember that the next time the #Resistance drones on about the Rule of Law; their devotion to the concept appears to be rather opportunistic and selective.