Mook’s Nomination now at Senate level

Posted: November 7, 2007 in america, Bush, congress, freedom, politics, torture, waterboarding

The Senate is now reviewing the nomination of Michael Mukasey for attorney general. His confirmation is said to be almost a sure thing, despite growing criticism of his positions on things like civil liberties and torture, and questions about his ability to think, act and speak independently once he assumes the post and Bush is his boss.

At the center of the criticism is Mukasey’s refusal to answer direct questions about whether waterboarding, a so-called “intensive interrogation technique” used by the CIA, the Japanese in WWII, the Nazis, the Spanish Inquisition, and others, should be considered “torture” and therefore illegal under U.S. law and the Constitution.

Mukasey declined to comment, stating that he “hadn’t been briefed on the program.”

Bullshit. I’m willing to bet most of the men and women drilling him on it in the past few weeks hadn’t been briefed, either. But somehow they, and millions of intelligent Americans, know enough about it to form an opinion. What Mukasey displayed in not answering the questions, but engaging in semantic word-wrangling, was not prudence but cowardice.

For the historically ignorant out there, including President Bush and his cronies, here’s a little background: Waterboarding was used by the Japanese against American POWs during WWII. They called it the “water cure.” After the war was over, the officers who used it on our boys were prosecuted by the United States for war crimes.

What’s changed since then? Is there anything that makes it justifiable for us to use it now? I don’t think so.

We’re supposed to be the “good guys.” That means our conduct must be consistently better than anyone we consider ourselves superior to, such as all those tyrants and dictators around the world. If we allow our intelligence operatives to torture prisoners, and engage in meaningless wordplay and logical gymnastics to justify it, then we’re no better than the Kim Jong Ils or Robert Mugabes of the world. We just have more money and better weapons.

We’re supposed to be the “good guys.” That means there are certain things we just can’t get away with doing.  Torture is one of those things.

Nominating an Administration toady as chief law enforcement officer of the nation is another.

We must not become the enemy we are fighting.


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