October 31, 2007

Just more outrage from these people

Is this what conservatives want from government? Less protection? Because those tasked with protecting consumers from, oh, you know, lead paint in toys or flammable cribs doesn't want to protect us from anything:
'The nation's top official for consumer product safety has asked Congress in recent days to reject legislation intended to strengthen the agency, which polices thousands of consumer goods, from toys to tools."
Compassionate conservatism, evidently, doesn't give a shit if your kids get lead painted toys, or if one of their toys kills them or a friend. That is what conservatism means to Bush and his cronies.

Sigh.

*****

Also from Obsidian Wings this take on our AG nominee. Who, by the way, won't define waterboarding as torture. He says it is repugnant to him personally, but until he finds out what the CIA has been up to, he won't say because he doesn't want to get them in legal trouble.
There is an easy way for Mukasey to get around the fact that he has not been briefed on what the CIA did: just define waterboarding, say whether waterboarding so defined is torture, and add that not having been briefed on what the CIA did, he doesn't know whether or not what they did meets his definition. That Mukasey has not taken this obvious route suggests that he is not motivated by his own uncertainty, but by the desire to keep people he believes have engaged in torture from being punished for their crimes.

That we are even having a debate about this question, and that it is not a foregone conclusion that someone who claims not to know whether waterboarding is torture cannot possibly be confirmed as Attorney General, is a testament to the moral degradation of our country, and of our political discourse.
We prosecuted Japanese for war crimes for using this technique. Everyone knows it is torture.
Imagine what we would think of a country where candidates for high office and nominees for the highest law enforcement position in the country had earnest debates about whether or not the rack was torture ("hey, I do stretching exercises before I go jogging, and it doesn't hurt me!"), or whether disembowelling living prisoners shocked the conscience ("I had my appendix out, and I'm doing just fine!") We would think that the people who said such things had utterly lost their humanity. Yet for some reason, altogether too many of our fellow citizens seem to think that it is perfectly acceptable for politicians and their appointees to have the same debates about waterboarding.
These people make me more than a little ill. And what bothers me more is that people I know see this as just a political disagreement. The first item above about regulation is a political issue. I find the Bush admin's approach ridiculous, but there is an argument to make about regulation and reasonable people can disagree. But, thanks to Bush and Cheney, Americans are arguing about torture like it is discussing different tax plans. People who should know better are parsing, and justifying torture. They are deferring to people with no moral compass.

I have said this before, but I grew up at the end of the cold war. I remember fearing nuclear (sorry, nukular) attack. I learned about our system always in contrast to the Soviet Union. We valued open government, rule of law, rule of the people, and an actual judicial system. They jailed people on a whim and denied them rights. They tortured people.

Now we do all of that. Our President sees the Constitution as a piece of paper he can ignore. And people who should know better shrug.

4 comments:

Thomas said...

They keep talking about the Politics of Personal Responsibility, while personally ignoring the oversight demands of their own offices. Protecting corporations from liability for their own actions seems to be the real agenda!

steve s said...

Do you have a source for the prosecution of the Japanese for waterboarding? I have heard this in several blog entries and haven't been able to find anything, except for a claim by a Senator that this happened.

leighton said...

Steve,

Try here for starters, which links here. An excerpt of the Salon link:

It comes from the trial in Manila of Sgt. Maj. Chinsaku Yuki, a Japanese military intelligence officer. The witness is Ramon Lavarro, a Filipino lawyer suspected by the Japanese of providing assistance to resistance forces. "I was ordered to lay on a bench and Yuki tied my feet, hands and neck to that bench lying with my face upward," Lavarro testified. "After I was tied to the bench Yuki placed some cloth on my face and then with water from the faucet they poured on me until I became unconscious. He repeated that four or five times."

steve s said...

Thanks. That helps a great deal. I have been in some debates in regards to torture and I don't want to use something without a decent source.