- The Washington Times - Friday, April 24, 2009

HONEST REVIEW

“Members of Congress calling for an investigation of the enhanced interrogation program should remember that such an investigation can’t be a selective review of information, or solely focus on the lawyers who wrote the memos, or the low-level employees who carried out this program,” Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote Thursday in the Wall Street Journal.

“I have asked [Director of National Intelligence Dennis C.] Blair to provide me with a list of the dates, locations and names of all members of Congress who attended briefings on enhanced interrogation techniques,” Mr. Hoekstra said.

“Any investigation must include this information as part of a review of those in Congress and the Bush administration who reviewed and supported this program. To get a complete picture of the enhanced interrogation program, a fair investigation will also require that the Obama administration release the memos requested by former Vice President Dick Cheney on the successes of this program.

“An honest and thorough review of the enhanced interrogation program must also assess the likely damage done to U.S. national security by Mr. Obama’s decision to release the memos over the objections of [CIA Director Leon E.] Panetta and four of his predecessors.”

ABANDON HOPE

“Cheerleading has its place, including on a high school or college basketball court. But not when it comes to political analysis,” Stuart Rothenberg writes in Roll Call.

Over the past couple of weeks, at least three Republicans - House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and campaign consultant Tony Marsh - have raised the possibility of the Republican Party winning back the House of Representatives next year.

“That idea is lunacy and ought to be put to rest immediately,” Mr. Rothenberg said.

“None of the three actually predicted that Republicans would gain the 40 seats that they need for a majority, but all three held out hope that that’s possible. It isn’t.

” ‘I don’t remove the prospect that we could take the majority back in 2010,’ Cantor said at a breakfast with reporters early this month.

“Gingrich recently told Roll Call contributing writer Nathan Gonzales that Democratic support for the budget and the stimulus bill could help the GOP ‘beat enough Democrats to get Republicans back into the majority.’

“Tony Marsh, a consultant to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, went further in a Townhall.com piece. He argued that Republicans can win back the House next year by expanding the playing field, running smarter campaigns and offering a ‘contrasting and visionary message to America.’

“Yes, Republicans have plenty of opportunities in good districts following their loss of 53 House seats over the past two cycles. And yes, there are signs that the Republican hemorrhage has stopped and even possibly that the party’s fortunes have begun to reverse course.

“But there are no signs of a dramatic rebound for the party, and the chance of Republicans winning control of either chamber in the 2010 midterm elections is zero. Not ‘close to zero.’ Not ‘slight’ or ‘small.’ Zero.”

SHOW TRIALS

“With the ugly sanctimony of those who never had to make hard decisions, the American left demands show trials of those who kept us safe after 9/11,” New York Post columnist Ralph Peters writes.

“Wrapping themselves in repugnant self-righteousness, the MoveOn.org set wants political prosecutions. Should President Obama acquiesce, he won’t be furthering the rule of law, but dismantling it,” Mr. Peters said.

“Show trials have long been popular with leftists. Those who don’t conform to each jot of doctrine become ‘enemies of the people.’ From Stalin down to Putin, and from Mao to Castro, vengeance disguised as law has been a mega-hit.

“Those on the left don’t want justice. If they did, they’d be protesting the murderous torture prevalent in Iran, the Gaza Strip, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela and Russia. Instead, our leftists want us to show the leaders of those terror states more respect.

“The left is out for revenge. It always is. Hatred of those who think differently is the left’s unifying principle. Leftists don’t need God, but they see devils everywhere.”

BY THE NUMBERS

“There will likely be some media buzz about Pew’s latest poll regarding the appropriateness of using ‘torture’ against terrorism suspects,” Guy Benson writes in a blog at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“I suspect most outlets will repeat Pew’s summary: ‘Public Remains Divided Over Use of Torture.’ According to the nationwide survey, 49 percent of Americans think torture is ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’ appropriate, with 47 percent responding with ‘rarely’ or ‘never,’ ” Mr. Benson said.

“I think the most important finding here is that only 25 percent of respondents say torture should never be employed. That means that fully three-fourths of the public acknowledges that torture can be justified - in at least some limited circumstance - to combat terrorism.

“Also notable about this poll is that Pew uses the loaded term ‘torture’ to describe the enhanced-interrogation techniques that many people argue (persuasively, in my opinion) do not constitute torture. Replace the highly charged term ‘torture’ with actual descriptions of the specific techniques the CIA has used, and I’d wager that public support would rise even further.”

NAME GAME

“It’s still a tiny number in his surveys, but Pew pollster Andrew Kohut is finding evidence that the right’s charge that President Obama’s policies are socialist is gaining steam at the same time that references to the Obama campaign’s theme of change are dropping,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column at www. usnews.com.

” ‘It’s in the conversation for people who are critical of Barack Obama,’ Kohut says of the word socialist. In his latest survey, 20 out of 742 people offered ‘socialist’ when describing Obama, up from 13 in February and six in September.

” ‘Change,’ meanwhile, was mentioned by 10, down from 17 in February and 36 in September. ‘It’s registering,’ Kohut said of the socialist charge lobbed by conservatives. Nonetheless, Kohut’s Pew Research Center for the People and the Press poll found that most people view Obama favorably and as one who is trying to change politics in Washington.”

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected] .com.

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