Wednesday, November 07, 2007


The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted and it appears pretty much a certainty that Michael Mukasey will be confirmed as the US Attorney General in the near future.

His hearings brought up the rather uncomfortable subject of torture. I was always understood that we (meaning the United States) didn’t torture people. But once stories about Abu Ghraib and secret prisons began appearing in the news, I was forced to confront the grim notion that our hands aren’t so clean.

Perhaps most galling was the revelation in the New York Times last month that the US government was publicly declaring torture illegal, while secretly looking for ways to torture more people in US custody.

And on top of it all, Mukasey refused to say whether or not waterboarding is torture (hint: it is).

The White House argument for waterboarding (simulated drowning) goes a little something like this: the US is waterboarding prisoners, but the US doesn’t torture. Therefore, waterbaording isn’t torture. It’s logic that would make Socrates proud.

Furthermore, argues the White House, these “enhanced interrogation” techniques that include stress positions, sleep deprivation, extreme hot and cold temperatures, and head slapping, are not inhumane or degrading… and they provide useful and accurate information.

I’m willing to believe our president when he says this, and I’m willing to go him one better. If these techniques aren’t inhumane or degrading and provide great information, let’s give congress the power to use them as well.

Imagine how much more forthcoming Alberto Gonzales would have been if he had been taken out of a freezer, placed before congress and asked:

“Why did you fire those attorneys?”

Gonzales: I don’t recall.

(sound of head slapping)

Gonzales: Ouch. I still don’t recall.

(sound of water being poured down a man’s windpipe)

Gonzales: Oh, now I remember, I’m an incompetent partisan hack.

This should make C-SPAN much more interesting.

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At 3:15 am, Blogger Birchsprite said...

Maybe Bush should get to experience some of the techniques too!

I am beginning to wonder if we in the west are sinking into a decline similar to the Roman Empire. We seem to be a civilisation at the corrupt end of it's life.

We have so much to feel shame for.

At 10:16 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think from now on waterboarding should be mandatory in any congressional hearing, grand jury, senate confirmation, etc - all to be broadcast on C-Span to aid in entertaining Americans during the writer's strike.


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