In politics, winning the argument is less important than getting to decide what the argument is about. It doesn’t matter whether, in the end, people believe that Nancy Pelosi was, or was not, accurately briefed about waterboarding by the CIA in 2002. (I might not believe Pelosi, there’s not a stronger corroborating witness than Bob Graham, a compulsive note-taker with a reputation as a truth-teller.)
What matters is that as long as we’re arguing about Pelosi we’re not discussing that fact that Lawrence Wilkerson, a career Army colonel of no particular partisan coloration who was chief of staff to Colin Powell at the State Department, says that the purpose of the torture regime was to provide false information to help sell the war in Iraq.
Note that the argument against putting Cheney (and his assistants, including Bush) on trial is that they ordered torture — a felony under U.S. law, and a capital crime if the victim dies, as some apparently did — in order to protect the country. But Wilkerson says they tortured people to score political points. That’s a different matter entirely. So Cheney & Co. need to make enough noise to drown Wilkerson out. That’s what they’re doing. Rebutting their charges about Pelosi is just playing their game.