Patterico's Pontifications

11/9/2007

Mukasey Confirmed as Attorney General

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 6:29 am



[Guest post by DRJ]

Michael Mukasey was confirmed as Attorney General by a vote of 53-40, the lowest number of affirmative votes for an AG nominee since 1952:

“A divided Senate narrowly confirmed former federal judge Michael B. Mukasey last night as the 81st attorney general, giving the nominee the lowest level of congressional support of any Justice Department leader in the past half-century.

The 53 to 40 vote came after more than four hours of impassioned floor debate, and it reflected an effort by Democrats to register their displeasure with Bush administration policies on torture and the boundaries of presidential power.

The final tally gave Mukasey the lowest number of yes votes for any attorney general since 1952, just weeks after lawmakers of both parties had predicted his easy confirmation.”

Mukasey’s nomination was almost derailed because, while he testified he found waterboarding “repugnant,” he would not agree it is illegal torture without further study.

I think it’s repugnant that Democrats would treat a compromise candidate like Mukasey this way. Waterboarding was never the issue – the US has only used it a total of 3 times and hasn’t used it at all in 4 years. Furthermore, as long as Michael Hayden is CIA Director, it seems there’s little prospect the US will ever use waterboarding.

This was clearly all politics and all about hating Bush.

— DRJ

79 Responses to “Mukasey Confirmed as Attorney General”

  1. “This was clearly all politics and all about hating Bush.”

    No no principles, ever. Only republicans have principles.
    You’re such a fucking hack.

    Of course Biden, Clinton, Dodd and Obama -and McCain-didn’t even show up. That’s cowardice.

    blah (fb88b3)

  2. Ah, I love the smell of moonbat sour grapes in the morning!

    dave (c44c9b)

  3. That’s cowardice.

    No, it’s entirely expected. The standard for democrats is to avoid having an opinion writen down where it can be used against you later.

    Now, it’s possible they were busy stumping for Primary votes, but Obama hasn’t voted on crap for a while now, and Dodd has skipped a lot as well.

    Scott Jacobs (91f7ff)

  4. Waterboarding was never the issue
    .
    Not per se, it stood in as an object example for probing the nominees dedication to the rule of law. Obviously, it’s not an easy question, because a good number of people find waterboarding to be good policy, albeit “secret policy.”
    .
    I found the Democrats objection to Mukasey to be on much firming footing than their objection to Leslie Southwick. IOW, were I to throw the “repugnant treatment dart,” the Mukasey nomination wouldn’t be one of my targets.

    cboldt (3d73dd)

  5. No no principles, ever. Only republicans have principles.
    You’re such a fucking hack.

    Hey, now. “Bush sucks. Get him.” is a principle. A juvenile one, sure, but a principle nonetheless. See, you have principles too, blah!

    Pablo (99243e)

  6. Doesn’t blah get a vaction soon?

    Scott Jacobs (91f7ff)

  7. The Democrats are just upset that their latest ‘get Bush’ plan blew up in their faces. The idea was to get the AG candidate to say water boarding was illegal, approve him, then impeach Bush.

    All politics, all hate, all the time. It’s all the modern Democrat party knows, well that and raise taxes and fund socialism at every chance. Now how about those fiscally responsible Democrats we heard about before the 2006 election. Anyone seen one lately?

    bill-tb (26027c)

  8. Scott at #3,
    A quibble: it’s cowardice, and I expected more from Dodd at least.
    Democrats who wimp out like that don’t deserve to win.

    blah (fb88b3)

  9. blah and I agree on something

    Democrats who wimp out like that don’t deserve to win.

    Good to hear that you will be voting for the Republican candidate.

    JD (49efd3)

  10. Congress gets to write the laws, the AG doesn’t. Congress made waterboarding explicitly illegal for the military, if they really wanted to, they could do the same for the CIA. They haven’t. So the Democrats were trying to push Mukasey into overstepping the authority of the office he was nominated for.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  11. Congress gets to write the laws, the AG doesn’t. Congress made waterboarding explicitly illegal for the military, if they really wanted to, they could do the same for the CIA. They haven’t. So the Democrats were trying to push Mukasey into overstepping the authority of the office he was nominated for.

    The reason they were pushing Mukasey is subtle:

    If Congress passed a law declaring waterboarding illegal for the CIA, they would be implying that it was legal before the law was passed. Since the Constitution explicitly prohibits ex post facto laws, there’d be no way the Dems could use this against Bush.

    Steverino (e00589)

  12. steverino – I had never considered that. Well done.

    JD (49efd3)

  13. “Good to hear that you will be voting for the Republican candidate.”

    I don’t think so, son. I’m not interested in doing even more damage to this country. It takes guts to stand up to moralizing hypocrites. That was my point. Still is.

    blah (fb88b3)

  14. So you won’t be voting?

    Just as good. Too many morons vote as it is.

    Scott Jacobs (91f7ff)

  15. It takes guts to stand up to moralizing hypocrites.

    Well, that sucks for Hillary.

    Pablo (99243e)

  16. bleh – I am not your son, pal, amingo, friend, sadeeq, or anything else like that.

    But, it is good to know you can type a comment without cursing. Well done.

    Even more damage – this is a common meme from the Leftist, yet when pressed, they cannot point out one freedom they have lost, one right that has been taken away, etc … It is simply hollow rhetoric.

    JD (49efd3)

  17. Moralizing hypocrites? Oh, that must have stung, blah, given the hypocrisy of Democrats in this nonsense.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  18. “given the hypocrisy of Democrats in this nonsense.”
    hyposcisy? No. Here’s a good description, from someone who wrote into TPM

    The issue on Mukasey in regards to the Dems is not (should not) just be about which disheartening AG runs our even more disheartening DOJ. It’s that once again the Dems got boxed in by something as simple as a questionable nomination with nothing to show for it.
    These guys just seem functionally unable to think past their next move, or to strategize on the most basic political level. How weak does this president need to be for these hapless Dems to score some points? Less popular than Nixon at his lowest point seems to be the bar, and that says a lot about this leadership, but can be summed up in six words: uniquely ineffective in the modern era.

    How and why the democratic leadership could be so terrified of the least intelligent %20 of the country I just don’t know.

    blah (fb88b3)

  19. How and why the democratic leadership could be so terrified of the least intelligent %20 of the country I just don’t know.

    It’s because if their base wises up, they are really screwed.

    Scott Jacobs (91f7ff)

  20. blah, your quote shows that this was not about any principle, but just scoring political points. In other words, your quotation undermines any point you were trying to make. Certainly there was nothing “questionable” about Mukasey, which is why he was recommended by Democrats like Schumer to the President for the job.

    While your dishonesty is manifest, it is your incompetence that never ceases to amaze.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  21. I wonder whether “the least intelligent 20%’ of the country includes the 11% that approve of Congress. The Pres’s approval rating, as bad as it is, is still much better than Congress’s.

    Steverino (e00589)

  22. How and why the democratic leadership could be so terrified of the least intelligent %20 of the country I just don’t know.

    I don’t either, but they bowed down to Joe Biden’s pick anyway.

    Pablo (99243e)

  23. the US has only used it a total of 3 times and hasn’t used it at all in 4 years.

    Says who? Bush? ROTFL.
    Passing a law making waterboarding illegal does not imply that it was legal before. Tax protestor nuts are always saying drivel like that about clarifications in the tax code. The truth, which some people don’t like to deal with, is that waterboarding was a count in criminal indictments against Japanese officers (and others), which is why people are scurrying to find some minor difference in the techniques they used than we used. As far as I can see, we owe these officers posthumous pardons, now that’s clear their crime was not winning the war—waterboarding is AOK if you get some confessions out of it. The Mukasey nomination was a chance to see if we were getting an AG who would enforce the law even against his own boss, or more likely, against VP Cheney. The answer appears to be No.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  24. Passing a law making waterboarding illegal does not imply that it was legal before. Tax protestor nuts are always saying drivel like that about clarifications in the tax code.

    There’s a difference between criminal laws and tax laws.

    Let’s put it this way: California’s BAC level for DUI was once 0.10%. Now it’s 0.08%. If you drove at 0.08% before the law was changed, you weren’t busted. Once the law was changed, no one who had driven with a BAC of 0.08% in the past was rounded up and prosecuted.

    Steverino (e00589)

  25. “I wonder whether “the least intelligent 20%’ of the country includes the 11% that approve of Congress.”

    Read the numbers. just under 50% say the democrats aren’t pushing enough.

    blah (fb88b3)

  26. Here’a the rest of the quote

    And that’s what has all of us non-authoritarians out here so panicked; it’s fairly clear very little of import the majority of Americans want will be inacted or occur until this president –this historically incompetent, corrupt and unpopular president — leaves office.

    It’s very depressing, especially in light of the history of fighting for freedom and equality that this country represents, when the majority leadership is so unbelievably powerless against what should be entirely conquerable challenges.

    Sorry to disappoint you SPQ’r.
    Really, I am.

    blah (fb88b3)

  27. Passing a law making waterboarding illegal

    Read that again, and apply logic. If you MAKE something illegal, then by definition it was NOT illegal before, and thus was legal.

    Scott Jacobs (91f7ff)

  28. Read the numbers. just under 50% say the democrats aren’t pushing enough.

    Yeah, yeah. Spin it any way you want. Bottom line: more people are pissed off at Congress than at Bush. Deal with it.

    Steverino (e00589)

  29. The rest of the quote does not improve it, blah, especially when such historical ignorance is displayed as this: “…this historically incompetent, corrupt and unpopular president …”

    But incompetence and ignorance seem to be your stock in trade.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  30. Does slavery’s not being illegal change the underlying moral status of slavery?

    Since I’m not a utilitarian (I believe in fundamental human rights that inhere regardless of country, creed, or color) waterboarding’s effectiveness or the rareness of its use are of secondary importance.

    Fritz (d62210)

  31. The truth, which some people don’t like to deal with, is that waterboarding was a count in criminal indictments against Japanese officers (and others), which is why people are scurrying to find some minor difference in the techniques they used than we used.

    They’re not minor differences, Andrew, they’re major differences, not the least of which is that they did it to uniformed POW’s who are explicitly protected from such treatment by the Geneva Conventions.

    Pablo (99243e)

  32. The truth, which some people don’t like to deal with….

    Funny stuff, Andrew J.

    Pablo (99243e)

  33. My impression was that the AG is worried that if he says waterboarding is illegal that his toes will be held to the fire when people start suing/investigating the CIA etc. for doing it… especially if/after someone finds out that it has been done more than 3 times… and the AG would have more trouble covering the CIA’s butts or ignoring calls for investigations. The Dems wanted him to commit so they could immediately call for investigations and make political hay either way, and the (now) AG wanted to be able to stall for the current admin.
    Luckily the Dems gave it up and will look for another way to get their knife into the Repubs before election time.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  34. In the first place, Pablo, in at least one case the Japanese waterboarding was of an American civilian. It would be appreciated if you got your basic facts straight, especially if you are going to talk about “truth”. But the relevance of the uniform is zero: the International Convention Against Torture (ratified by the US) and the Third and Fourth Geneva Convention (ratified by the US) prohibit the use of torture against civilians in all cases “whatsoever”. Pretty big word, “whatsoever”.

    Now, what if it turns out that the Bush Administration has also revived use of the rack? I have no doubt that many faithful minions will be out there saying “There is a lot of doubt that the rack is really torture”. Someone will point out the rack looks a lot like the traction devices used for our own wounded troops with broken bones. Someone else will point out that without the rack we never would have gotten KSM’s admission that he was behind the grassy knoll in Dallas. And after all this, if Congress decided to specifically outlaw use of the rack, it would not mean the rack had been legal before.

    The correct analogy, if you want to use a drunk driving, is once upon a time there was no specific standard for BAC. The question was whether you were impaired. Adding the .10 BAC limit to the law did not imply that driving with a .10 BAC level was previously legal. On the contrary, it is impossible to have such a BAC level and not be an impaired driver. And indeed, you can still be cited for driving while impaired even if you pass the BAC test, if there is other evidence, although your chances of beating the rap in court are much better. But there is a simplicity to the chemical test. Likewise, declaring that waterboarding is illegal is not an acknowledgment that it used to be illegal. This is remarkably elementary. Only the Bush Devotion Syndrome coupled with the entirely artificial “controversy: over whether the rack (oops, I mean waterboard) is torture causes you not to see ethat.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  35. Likewise, declaring that waterboarding is illegal is not an acknowledgment that it used to be legal.

    Sorry for the typo.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  36. In the first place, Pablo, in at least one case the Japanese waterboarding was of an American civilian. It would be appreciated if you got your basic facts straight, especially if you are going to talk about “truth”. But the relevance of the uniform is zero: the International Convention Against Torture (ratified by the US) and the Third and Fourth Geneva Convention (ratified by the US) prohibit the use of torture against civilians in all cases “whatsoever”. Pretty big word, “whatsoever”.

    That assumes that what was done to KSM was torture, Andrew. Which is to sat that it assumes facts not in evidence. And what Asano did was to nearly drown them. From the testimony:

    ! [We] were strapped to stretchers and warm water poured down our nostrils until we were about ready to pass out

    ! [They] strapped him to a stretcher and elevated his feet and then poured on his face so that it was almost impossible for him to get his breath.

    ! [The victim] was then taken into the corridor, strapped to a stretcher, which was tilted so
    that his head was toward the floor and feet resting on a nearby sink. Water was then
    poured down his nose and mouth for about twenty minutes…

    Pablo (99243e)

  37. Andrew J Lazarus,

    I agree we need to keep our facts straight. First, here’s the ABC Blotter link that states waterboarding has only been used 3 times and not at all since 2003. It sounds to me like the source for that information is from the CIA not the Bush Administration but, either way, what makes you doubt it?

    Second, the Washington Post article you linked discusses water torture by a Japanese soldier, Yukio Asano. Here’s a link to the charges against Asano:

    Charge: Violation of the Laws and Customs of War: 1. Did willfully and unlawfully mistreat and torture PWs. 2. Did unlawfully take and convert to his own use Red Cross packages and supplies intended for PWs.

    Specifications:beating using hands, fists, club; kicking; water torture; burning using cigarettes; strapping on a stretcher head downward.

    Even if water torture refers to waterboarding the way it’s done by the CIA (and I doubt it for the reasons stated by Pablo above), Asano was convicted for more than that. It’s disingenuous for Senator Kennedy to suggest that Asano was convicted for waterboarding.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  38. But DRJ, disingenuousness is what the debate is really all about. The only purpose is for the production of frothy rhetoric justifying the ridiculous delusions of the Bush Derangement sufferers.

    The key is this farce at the Mukasey’s confirmation hearing, where the only purpose was to focus on rhetoric. The Democrats have no intention of actually passing legislation on the subject – because they fully intend to leave any future Democratic administration the same wiggle room.

    Its cheap, dishonest theatrics and it got old years ago.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  39. Andrew, basic principle: if you ban something by law, it necessarily implies that before the law was passed, it was allowed. COnversely, if you legalize something, it necessarily implies that it had been illegal before.

    Are you so devoid of common sense that you would argue to the contrary?

    Congress can pass a law that says the CIA can’t use waterboarding from now on but it can’t pass a law saying that the CIA can’t use waterboarding from 1999 on.

    Steverino (e00589)

  40. Since I’m not a utilitarian (I believe in fundamental human rights that inhere regardless of country, creed, or color) waterboarding’s effectiveness or the rareness of its use are of secondary importance.

    Maybe I’m too much of a situational ethicist for my own good, but morality is something only the winner gets to worry about. If you lose, saying “At least we did the right thing” doesn’t do anyone much of any good now, does it?

    If waterboarding some poor asshole from the desert saves a life, I say go for it, and say a hail mary later.

    Scott Jacobs (91f7ff)

  41. AJL – If, as you argue, there is such a rich legal history of this procedure being outlawed and prosecuted by the U.S., why are you so dependent for illustration on one case?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  42. Pablo, one of the prisoners in question was a civilian [see note 64]. It is only under Bush that civilian internees are somehow not PWs, but are fair game for perverted fantasies (cf. Gitmo). As far as your claim that Asano was convicted for more than waterboarding, that’s true. But if waterboarding were legal, he couldn’t be convicted of it at all! If your argument made any sense (it doesn’t), I couldn’t say Charles Manson was convicted of the murder of Sharon Tate, because Manson was convicted of other crimes, too.

    daleyrocks, link to more cases. Satisfied?

    Steverino, like the arguments of tax protestors, your claim that waterboarding (and anything else) is legal until prohibited is superficially-sensible rubbish. Driving with BAC over .10 is an example. Or would you like to argue that same-sex marriage was legal in, say, Nevada until recently prohibited? Reinforcement and clarification of laws happens all the time. And, incidentally, it’s also true in the other direction. The law that prohibits California cities from restricting access to public streets based on residency specifically states that it is not making new law; it was intended to ratify a judicial decision to the same effect. If you’d like to continue this, post some authorities, OK?

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  43. Hmm, somebody was not paying attention in civics class when they were talking about Ex Post Facto laws.

    nk (597e8b)

  44. AJL – I reas Wallach’s draft when some other lefty linked it here a few weeks ago. That was probably you, come ro think. It’s pretty week tea IMHO. A Texas sheriff is covered by U.S. domestic statutes. How does that have anything to do with the laws of war? He gives examples of peosecutions by other countries, but not much by the U.S. as far as I recall. Interestingly, the article does provide evidence that waterboarding works as an interrogation tool, though.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  45. Pablo, one of the prisoners in question was a civilian [see note 64].

    Yes, and the illegality was that he was tortured. Not interrogated, nor waterboarded a la KSM. Tortured. You should know what that word means since you keep using it.

    Now, the same goes for the POW’s, but even if they were to represent that they waterboarded him for purposes of interrogation, you can’t interrogate a POW under the GC’s. Name, rank and serial number, period.

    But if waterboarding were legal, he couldn’t be convicted of it at all!

    If we were talking about the same thing, Asano vs. KSM, that would be a relevant comment. But we’re not and it isn’t.

    Pablo (99243e)

  46. It’d be nice if Wallach would have clearly documented exactly what was done in the cases he references. Submerging a person’s head in water for minutes then bringing the person up for an insufficient time to catch their breath is not the same as triggering a person’s gag reflex by pouring water over their face. He points to cases of the former and then doesn’t differentiate those cases from the latter.

    bonhomme (d737be)

  47. daleyrocks, link to more cases. Satisfied?

    I’m not. You’ll need to point out the cases that correlate to the KSM action. I’ve been through that and not seen them. The closet they come is the one I cited in my #36.

    Pablo (99243e)

  48. But here’s what KSM “confessed to” according to the Pentagon (which, I’d point out, is not quite the same as proving actual responsibility, or preventing actual attacks), along with commentary:
    1. The 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City that killed six people and injured more than 1,000.
    Well, that worked real good. Thanks to that, the WTC wasn’t bombed. But I’d point out that Clinton apprehended and prosecuted the perps, and they were convicted.
    2. The 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington using four hijacked commercial airliners. Nearly 3,000 people were killed.
    Ditto last comment, except the actual perps are dead (along with the 3000). Good job.
    3. A failed “shoe bomber” operation to bring down two US commercial airliners.
    Reid was apprehended by passengers on the plane not thanks to KSM’s confession.
    4. The October 2002 attack in Kuwait that killed two US soldiers.
    And where are the actual perps?
    5. The nightclub bombing in Bali, Indonesia that killed 202 people.
    I’ve talked to some of the folks that did the investigation here, and KSM had nothing to do with rounding up the perps (although wiretapping did).
    6. A plan for a “second wave” of attacks on major US landmarks after 9/11 attacks. Alleged targets included the Library Tower in Los Angeles, the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Plaza Bank building in Seattle and the Empire State Building in New York.
    Jupiter was also fortunately prevented from falling into the Sun, causing massive solar flares that would have engulfed and fried the Earth.
    7. Plots to attack oil tankers and US naval ships in the Straits of Hormuz, the Straits of Gibraltar and in Singapore.

    8. A plan to blow up the Panama Canal.
    Wow. See #6.
    9. Plans to assassinate former US presidents including Jimmy Carter.
    See #7. FWIW, Carter decided to face down Sudanese warlords … armed with nothing more than a very load voice [along with more moral capital than the entire maladministration could muster if they emptied all their pockets].
    10. A plot to blow up suspension bridges in New York.
    … with blowtorches.
    11. A plan to destroy the Sears Tower in Chicago by burning fuel trucks beneath or around it.
    … someone’s been watching too much telly.
    12. Plans to “destroy” Heathrow Airport, Canary Wharf and Big Ben in London.
    Ditto #11.
    13. A planned attack on “many” nightclubs in Thailand targeting US and British citizens.
    Ditto #7.
    14. A plot targeting the New York Stock Exchange and other US financial targets after 9/11.
    Ditto #11.
    15. A plan to destroy buildings in Elat, Israel, by using planes flying from Saudi Arabia.
    Old dogs, new tricks….
    16. Plans to destroy US embassies in Indonesia, Australia and Japan.
    Wow. They’re gonna win hands down if we have to build $50B embassies in all 170 or so countries.
    17. Plots to destroy Israeli embassies in India, Azerbaijan, the Philippines and Australia.
    Newsflash: Israeli embassies are potential targets….. Full story at 11.
    18. Surveying and financing an attack on an Israeli El-Al flight from Bangkok.
    Ditto #17.
    19. Sending several “mujahideen” into Israel to survey “strategic targets” with the intention of attacking them.
    Ditto #17.
    20. The November 2002 suicide bombing of a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, frequented by Israelis. At least 14 people were killed.
    And the 14 are still dead. Ditto #1 and #2.
    21. The failed attempt to shoot down an Israeli passenger jet leaving Mombasa airport with a surface-to-air missile on the same day as the hotel bombing.
    Double-dipping on “plots”, eh?
    22. Plans to attack US targets in South Korea, such as US military bases and nightclubs frequented by US soldiers.
    That’s the job of the Koreans!!! (the attacks on the U.S. servicemen, that is).
    23. Providing financial support for a plan to attack US, British and Jewish targets in Turkey.
    24. Surveillance of US nuclear power plants in order to attack them.
    Imagine. We had to torture KSM to get this nugget…..
    25. A plot to attack Nato’s headquarters in Europe.
    26. Planning and surveillance in a 1995 plan (the “Bojinka Operation”) to bomb 12 American passenger jets, most on trans-Pacific Ocean routes.
    Ummm, that (the torture) was done by the Philippine authorities.
    27. The planned assassination attempt against then-US President Bill Clinton during a mid-1990s trip to the Philippines.
    28. “Shared responsibility” for a plot to kill Pope John Paul II while he visited the Philippines.
    29. Plans to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
    30. An attempt to attack a US oil company in Sumatra, Indonesia, “owned by the Jewish former [US] Secretary of State Henry Kissinger”.
    31. The beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped in Pakistan in January 2002 while researching Islamist militancy.

    KSM confessed to this. Did he do it? Good question, because if KSM confessed to all this, and we just take his word for it, job done, and no need to find out if there’s another perp who might be culpable….

    A mixed laundry list of bizarre plots, and ones that have already succeeded. Many of the ones “stopped” look pretty lame (not to mention there’s no assurance they’ve actually been thwarted).

    And we hardly need torture to find out about the existence of plots that have already occured. Hard to make the case for “exigent” circumstances here; no TTB and need for speed. What’s needed is accuracy (which means good police work).”

    blah (fb88b3)

  49. Pablo, you appear to have problems reading the link I provided. Let me help you. This is from the victim’s affidavit.

    They then began pouring water over my face and at times it was almost impossible for me to breath without sucking in water. This torture continued for what must have been a half hour or an hour. [my emphasis]

    And this is from the charge sheet

    the accused Yukio Asano, did, willfully and unlawfully, brutally mistreat and torture John Henry Burton, an American Prisoner of War [who was a civilian –AJL], by beating him; and by fastening him head downward on a stretcher and forcing water into his nose. [my emphasis]

    Now, are you really going to argue that the word torture only applies to the beating while the waterboarding was mere(!?) unlawful brutal mistreatment? Waterboarding, at least using Japanese methodology, is torture and a war crime. Give this one up. And torture is torture whether its used for interrogation, or punishment, or sadistic amusement.

    You are also completely off-base with the assertion that

    you can’t interrogate a POW under the GC’s. Name, rank and serial number, period.

    You can’t punish a prisoner of war for refusing to answer beyond that, but you are perfectly able to interrogate him lawfully, in a language he understands. See Article 17 of the Third Geneva Convention. No wonder you guys need to call everyone illegal combatants. Your view of the existing law is colored by urban legends.

    nk, You are willfully missing the point. It is not an ex post facto law when a practice that is already illegal is also made illegal in a new law. I’ve quoted two examples already. Let’s take another example: in the early 1960s, I’m too lazy to Google up the case, the trucking magnate Roy Fruehauf gave a labor leader a loan. He was charged under the law that made it illegal for businessmen to make gifts to union heads (as potential bribes). Whether a loan was a gift was a major issue in the case. He was acquitted, although subsequently “loan” was added to the specific list of prohibited actions. Now, suppose he was convicted. Are you trying to tell me that if Congress decided to add a few more items to the law like “no cash gifts, no loans, and no free Internet access”, it would really retroactively legalize that loan and they would have to release the prisoner? None of this is real legal reasoning; it’s all a pastiche arising from Bush Devotion Syndrome.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  50. Andrew, you seem to have problems understanding the definition of the word torture, as well as noting that I indicated this guy was tortured.

    This torture continued for what must have been a half hour or an hour.

    My emphasis this time.

    KSM went 2 minutes. Not half an hour. Not an hour. Not between beatings or burnings.

    Two minutes. Reading is fundamental.

    Pablo (99243e)

  51. Andrew, if you’d like to continue you should also answer my #47.

    Thanks in advance, mate.

    Pablo (99243e)

  52. Andrew,

    Please cite the law that gives adequate notice under the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause that waterboarding is punishable as a crime and I’m on your side.

    nk (597e8b)

  53. Frankly, Pablo, I don’t understand your #47. What do you mean by “correlate”?

    As far as I can tell, we’re now in negative pregnant territory. The Japanese waterboarding was torture because it lasted for half an hour. The KSM waterboarding was not, because KSM broke after only two minutes.

    Does this interesting way of measuring torture by how quickly the victim breaks apply to the rack, too? Couldn’t I make an argument that our waterboarding must have been even more painful and brutal, to get such quick results?

    Try again.

    NK, as you can see from the links, there are precedents for water torture going back to the 17th century. From the Wallach article:

    In all cases, whether the water cure was applied by Americans, to Americans, or simply reviewed by American courts, it has uniformly been rejected as illegal; often with severely punitive results for the perpetrators.

    We punished American soldiers for waterboarding during the Phillipine Insurrection. We also court-martialed Americans for waterboarding during Vietnam. Some people believe that our new computer-controlled waterboard (yes, snark) is something so amazingly different from a centuries-old practice whose description as illegal “torture” was no more controversial than the equivalent claim about the rack. Welcome aboard.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  54. I’m sorry, Andrew, but I was a fairly competent defense attorney. Same-sex marriage was punishable by burning at the stake in the 17th century. My definition of “illegal” is the correct one. “A duly-enacted and promulgated law adequatedly gives notice that an act is punishable as a crime.”

    nk (597e8b)

  55. Here are some more “lefties” that are against torture and for the rule of law:

    November 2, 2007
    The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy, Chairman
    United States Senate Washington, DC 20510

    Dear Chairman Leahy,

    In the course of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s consideration of President Bush’s nominee for the post of Attorney General, there has been much discussion, but little clarity, about the legality of “waterboarding” under United States and international law. We write because this issue above all demands clarity: Waterboarding is inhumane, it is torture, and it is illegal.

    In 2006 the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the authority to prosecute terrorists under the war crimes provisions of Title 18 of the U.S. Code. In connection with those hearings the sitting Judge Advocates General of the military services were asked to submit written responses to a series of questions regarding “the use of a wet towel and dripping water to induce the misperception of drowning (i.e., waterboarding) . . .” Major General Scott Black, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General, Major General Jack Rives, U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General, Rear Admiral Bruce MacDonald, U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General, and Brigadier Gen. Kevin Sandkuhler, Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, unanimously and unambiguously agreed that such conduct is inhumane and illegal and would constitute a violation of international law, to include Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

    We agree with our active duty colleagues. This is a critically important issue – but it is not, and never has been, a complex issue, and even to suggest otherwise does a terrible disservice to this nation. All U.S. Government agencies and personnel, and not just America’s military forces, must abide by both the spirit and letter of the controlling provisions of international law. Cruelty and torture – no less than wanton killing – is neither justified nor legal in any circumstance. It is essential to be clear, specific and unambiguous about this fact – as in fact we have been throughout America’s history, at least until the last few years. Abu Ghraib and other notorious examples of detainee abuse have been the product, at least in part, of a self-serving and destructive disregard for the well- established legal principles applicable to this issue. This must end.

    The Rule of Law is fundamental to our existence as a civilized nation. The Rule of Law is not a goal which we merely aspire to achieve; it is the floor below which we must not sink. For the Rule of Law to function effectively, however, it must provide actual rules that can be followed.

    In this instance, the relevant rule – the law – has long been clear: Waterboarding detainees amounts to illegal torture in all circumstances. To suggest otherwise – or even to give credence to such a suggestion – represents both an affront to the law and to the core values of our nation.

    We respectfully urge you to consider these principles in connection with the nomination of Judge Mukasey.

    Sincerely,

    Rear Admiral Donald J. Guter, United States Navy (Ret.)
    Judge Advocate General of the Navy, 2000-02

    Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, United States Navy (Ret.)
    Judge Advocate General of the Navy, 1997-2000

    Major General John L. Fugh, United States Army (Ret.)
    Judge Advocate General of the Army, 1991-93

    Brigadier General David M. Brahms, United States Marine Corps (Ret.)
    Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant, 1985-88

    Ken Hirsch (92c4bc)

  56. I think it’s repugnant that Democrats would treat a compromise candidate like Mukasey this way. Waterboarding was never the issue – the US has only used it a total of 3 times and hasn’t used it at all in 4 years.

    Why does it matter how many times the law has been broken? The real question is whether Mukasey is going to enforce laws impartially. Mukasey was a shoo-in until he couldn’t answer a simple question about whether the controlled drowning of somebody was torture.

    Ken Hirsch (92c4bc)

  57. I give you credit for consistency, Ken.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  58. I don’t, consistent misrepresentation is boring.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  59. The Japanese waterboarding was torture because it lasted for half an hour. The KSM waterboarding was not, because KSM broke after only two minutes.

    Is there any judicial opinion you can point to that supports this? No. The statute does not require the act to be prolonged, only the mental harm. A mock execution may only last ten seconds, but it is still torture and illegal.

    Ken Hirsch (92c4bc)

  60. Ken – Was KSM’s mental harm prolonged?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  61. “A duly-enacted and promulgated law adequatedly gives notice that an act is punishable as a crime.”

    That crime would be: “torture.” Which is why we’re arguing whether waterboarding is torture. You and the rest of Pat’s Peanut gallery are saying it isn’t. History has defined it otherwise, but that’s only the past, and maybe the present is diferent. Hm? It’s true, language is slippery thing:

    Black=void=empty=clear=blank=White.

    So have your fun. But if you’re interested in a serious debate, about morality and practicality, and both come into play here, you should listen to what the experts say.
    Alan Dershowitz says that it worked for the Nazi’s so we should use it too. I give credit to him for being so direct.

    blah (fb88b3)

  62. Waterboard is torture according to those most familiar with, such as this SERE instructor or acting assistant attorney general Daniel Levin.

    Or, if you want expert military legal opinion, how about four retired admirals and generals:

    […]
    The Rule of Law is fundamental to our existence as a civilized nation. The Rule of Law is not a goal which we merely aspire to achieve; it is the floor below which we must not sink. For the Rule of Law to function effectively, however, it must provide actual rules that can be followed. In this instance, the relevant rule – the law – has long been clear: Waterboarding detainees amounts to illegal torture in all circumstances. To suggest otherwise – or even to give credence to such a suggestion – represents both an affront to the law and to the core values of our nation.
    […]
    Rear Admiral Donald J. Guter, United States Navy (Ret.)
    Judge Advocate General of the Navy, 2000-02

    Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, United States Navy (Ret.)
    Judge Advocate General of the Navy, 1997-2000

    Major General John L. Fugh, United States Army (Ret.)
    Judge Advocate General of the Army, 1991-93

    Brigadier General David M. Brahms, United States Marine Corps (Ret.)
    Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant, 1985-88

    Ken Hirsch (92c4bc)

  63. Ken, the fact that your link to ABC news article about Levin does not say what you claim it says only confirms my opinion of your credibility.

    By the way, Nance’s article has been posted here over and over again. Your links are repetitive.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  64. Ken – Did any of those gentlemen ever have to make a call on whether specific conduct constituted torture? Any idea?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  65. The Democrats are just upset that their latest ‘get Bush’ plan blew up in their faces. The idea was to get the AG candidate to say water boarding was illegal, approve him, then impeach Bush.

    This makes no sense. The House and Senate have sole jurisdiction over what is an impeachable offense. The AG’s opinion doesn’t enter into it. Besides, every court that has ruled on it says waterboarding is torture. This has been the decided law for over one hundred years.

    Ken Hirsch (92c4bc)

  66. More misrepresentations Ken. Its becoming a pattern.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  67. Or, if you want expert military legal opinion, how about four retired admirals and generals:

    Great. Now get it writen into actual law, and you might have something.

    Waterboarding by the CIA is not, as statute currently stands, illegal.

    Calling it immoral does not make it illegal. Calling it illegal does not make it illegal. Codifying into law that it is illegal is what actually makes it illegal.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  68. Ken just intends a drive by I suppose, and won’t acknowledge that Levin’s quote in the ABC article does not support his claim. typical of the level of discourse on this.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  69. Waterboarding by the CIA is not, as statute currently stands, illegal.

    It boggles my mind that anyone can actually believe that. Waterboarding is designed to cause suffering and fear of imminent death. What do you think torture is? People have been convicted of it before, for many decades.

    I have to ask you, if a defense attorney argued that, while his client had sex with the victim after he rendered her unconscious with a drug, he’s innocent of rape because that drug is not specifically mentioned in any law? Is your reaction, oh, what a clever lawyer, I never thought of it that way, I guess the defendant is innocent? Or is your reaction, what a slimy lawyer, using the worst kind of distortions to get his sick bastard client off?

    Oh, and the rape was very brief, so there was no “prolonged mental harm”.

    Ken Hirsch (92c4bc)

  70. Ken, you’ve no place for complaining about distortions.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  71. Ken just intends a drive by I suppose, and won’t acknowledge that Levin’s quote in the ABC article does not support his claim

    I linked to the article so anybody can make up their own minds. If you think Levin would agree with you, why don’t you write him and ask? I doubt you’ll like his answer.

    Ken Hirsch (92c4bc)

  72. Guys, I have a new waterboarding post, on the main page.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  73. No, Ken, you misrepresented the article, claiming that “Waterboard is torture according to those most familiar with, … or acting assistant attorney general Daniel Levin.”. The article clearly shows that Levin did not state that.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  74. It is only under Bush that civilian internees are somehow not PWs, but are fair game for perverted fantasies (cf. Gitmo).

    The Geneva Convention does not protect terrorists because they do not wear Uniforms, show allegiance to an organized state… etc. The proper treatment of ununiformed persons not observing the Laws of Warfare is summary execution on the battlefield. If we provide better treatment than that, we are being benevolent.

    red (9e9332)

  75. until he couldn’t answer a simple question about whether the controlled drowning of somebody was torture.

    until he couldn’t answer a simple question about whether the he showed his respect for the prerogatives of the legislative branch by implicitly observing that Congress had not passed a law making controlled drowning of somebody was torture.

    How odd that liberals want the Attorney General to make new law rather than pass the law in Congress.

    red (9e9332)

  76. until he couldn’t answer a simple question about whether the controlled drowning of somebody was torture.

    until he couldn’t answer a simple question about whether the showed his respect for the prerogatives of the legislative branch by implicitly observing that Congress had not passed a law making controlled drowning of somebody torture.

    How odd that liberals want the Attorney General to make new law rather than pass the law in Congress. How cowardly of Congress to foist their responsibility upon the Executive Branch. BTW I asked my senator’s office what his position on waterboarding was. They said that the Senator had taken no official position — Doh.

    red (9e9332)

  77. Does this interesting way of measuring torture by how quickly the victim breaks apply to the rack, too?

    No, Andrew. The rack causes physical harm and extreme pain. The rack is torture.

    Couldn’t I make an argument that our waterboarding must have been even more painful and brutal, to get such quick results?

    Of course you could, but it would be disingenuous and you’d be wrong. It isn’t about pain or suffering, it’s about invoking an autonomic reaction and producing fear.

    Pablo (99243e)

  78. It boggles my mind that anyone can actually believe that.

    I believe that because it happens to be an actual fact, not whateverit is you have floating around your god damn head.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)


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