Maddow, Powell, and the Need for a Torture Commission | Harper's Magazine

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Maddow, Powell, and the Need for a Torture Commission

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MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow presents Colin Powell, whom she clearly admires, with a series of very tough questions. Most of the Washington press corps could learn from this technique:

Powell doesn’t want to answer the questions, yet his response is neither dismissive nor evasive: These issues are extremely important; they should be the subject of a full and formal inquiry; he should answer them on the basis of a review of his own notes and the documents. “But that complete record will in due course come out,” Powell says. Powell’s statement, fully recognizing the need for an investigation, contrasts sharply with the unfortunate comments made by Senator Patrick Leahy on April 1. Here’s Charlotte Dennett’s report of her recent discussion with Leahy:

Halfway through the allotted 30 minute meeting (with him taking up much of the time explaining why he was not generally opposed to prosecution, since he had been a DA for eight years and had the highest conviction rate in Vermont), he told us that his truth commission had failed to get the broad support it needed in Congress, and since he couldn’t get one Republican to come behind the plan, “it’s not going to happen.”

Of course, John Conyers has found House Republicans to support his initiative. But why should the idea of a commission be subject to a veto by the Senate Republicans? Leahy should listen to Powell. He should recognize that the commission approach is the right thing, and that Karl Rove and John Cornyn should not be permitted to veto it.

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