Monday, November 5, 2007

Narf! (with apologies to Pinky)

Really, really sick of it all. Michael Mukasey (an otherwise reputable legal mind) has simply refused to comment on whether or not waterboarding is torture. And while that sort of mealy-mouthed behavior is nothing less than normal from anyone living in the white part of Washington, DC, doing it in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee should have been career suicide.

Then again...

Waterboarding (for those of you unfamiliar with the game) is a nasty way to get information, and in some cases a nasty way to die. The victim is strapped to a board, feet elevated above the head, and either water is poured directly over the victim's face, or the victim has a cloth wrapped over his/her face and water is poured over that. Either way, tastes like drowning. Elevated blood pressure, elevated heart rate, water up the nose, into the lungs. Folks who have been waterboarded report PTSD when it rains. Some people die (either of actual drowning or heart attack due to the sheer terror of drowning). And, strangely enough, when this sort of thing was done during WW II (by the Japanese), we made sure that the folks who did it went to jail for a long time.

We signed on to the Geneva accords a long time ago, which makes the Geneva laws both quaint and as much a part of the Constitution as that whole "We the People" thing. So, this is considered torture, and the Geneva Conventions say we can't torture anyone for any reason.

Now Senators Feinstein and Schumer have voted to allow Mukasey's nomination to go up for approval. Many of their constituents have protested. (I'd be upset about Arlen Spector's pre-vote stance saying that this whole business was "troubling," just not "troubling" enough for him to not confirm the guy - except that he's a Republican, so it's no big surprise) The reason these two Dems caved in are pure political pragmatism - if Bush can't have Mukasey, then he will appoint someone during a recess, or appoint an acting AG. And we might get someone scaaaaarier than Alberto Gonzales.

They claim they are worried about a vacuum of leadership in the Justice Department. I believe we already had that with Gonzo, but whatever.

Then we have the erstwhile work of the previous AG, still holding sway, even though he's not really there anymore. The Shrub can say with certainty that "we don't torture" because Gonzo privately redefined torture in various secret memos.

Proud to be on the side of the angels, like Pol Pot and other friendly folk.

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