The liberal hawks in the Democratic Party have been second only to the neoconservatives in the GOP in their enthusiasm for the "Global War on Terror". The truth is that most politicians in any country with a significant military capacity tend to be biased in favor of war, even a pseudo-war like the GWoT. Aside from an occasional Mr. Smith goes to Washington type, few citizens run for office without being statists at heart and, as Randolph Bourne observed following WWI, "War Is the Health of the State". (For a related but contemporary examination of the attraction of war see War is a force that gives us meaning by Chris Hedges).
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi learned in early 2003 that the Bush administration was waterboarding terror detainees but didn’t protest directly out of respect for 'appropriate' legislative channels, a person familiar with the situation said Monday.
Inevitably the commitment to war of the statist politicians draw them into approval, if only tacitly, of atrocities committed in the name of supporting the troops, protecting the nation and winning the war. This is the real meaning of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's excuse.