Thursday, November 01, 2007

Mukasey and torture

Mukasey is pointing out that, if he declares that waterboarding is torture, good gosh, the poor people who performed waterboarding would be in serious trouble! So it wouldn't be very good to declare it was torture until he was briefed on it.

Well, waterboarding is mock execution. The United States has acknowledged that mock executions - putting a person in imminent, realistic fear of death - is torture. There are no questions to be settled. Waterboarding is torture. It's worse than your average mock execution, because it not only works on the fear of, say, standing in front of a firing squad whose guns are loaded with blanks... it also works on physical sensations, since the person being waterboarded feels exactly like someone who is drowning. (I have heard it said - I don't know the technique well enough to have an informed opinion - that a person being waterboarded *is* drowning. The difference is that the drowning is sufficiently controlled that it can be stopped well short of lethality.)

So Mukasey is saying that it wouldn't be very good to tell the truth if it could be painful to the United States government, even when his opinion does not yet have any official bearing.

Mukasey should not be Attorney General. The Attorney General is often the last person who can point out wrongdoing, and demand an accounting for it. Mukasey is not even willing to tell the obvious truth during a confirmation hearing.

Alberto Gonzales should have been impeached and removed from his office; he had covered up wrongdoing. We shouldn't make the mistake of putting another Attorney General in place who will do the exact same thing.

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