November 2, 2007

Oh good god

I think this last year of having to listen to this idiot will be the longest year in human history! Crooks and Liars � Bush %u201CPlaying the 9-11 card%u201D to force the Mukasey nomination through: Attacks Bloggers!
Bush: “The job of Attorney General is essential to the security of America” … “Some in Washington should spend more time responding to the warnings of terrorists like Osama bin Laden, and the requests of our commanders on the ground, and less time responding to the demands of bloggers and Code Pink protesters.”
Of course, he is the same person who not only disbanded the CIA unit dedicated to finding OBL, but also said

“I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.”

And that isn't all. Evidently, Bush is threatening to not appoint another AG if the Senate doesn't confirm Mukasey. Because he is a uniter, right? Political Bulletin: Friday, November 2, 2007: "Media reports particularly noted Bush's suggestion that if Mukasey is rejected by the Senate, he will not nominate a replacement. The Washington Times titles its front-page story "It's Mukasey Or No One, Bush Warns." NBC Nightly News reported Mukasey's nomination "does look increasingly shaky ahead of next week's vote, and if it does fail, the President suggested today that he may not nominate anybody else, leaving him without an attorney general, potentially, for the rest of his term." ABC World News also reported the President "spent much of his day trying to save the nomination."
By "save" they mean challenge the patriotism of anyone who disagrees with him. This man is not only a bad President--he is a bad person.

And let's just remember that the Senate is upset because Mukasey won't say that waterboarding is torture. He says it is repugnant and if torture, then is illegal, but since he hasn't been briefed, he can't say. The NYT suggests that Mukasey can't be clear, because he would open the door to prosecutions throughout the Bush administration, a fact that Jack Goldsmith said was a constant worry inside the Administration. And with good reason.

Bush and Cheney have made us all complicit in torture. They have undermined our very moral character. Shame on them. And shame on us for allowing them to do this.


ubub said...

I found his "if . . . then" responses to be highly troubling, especially given that he seems to have made no effort to look into the situation or seek any analysis. Gonzales' testimony amounted to "I don't know" but Mukasey's position seems to be "I refuse to know." He acknowledges that philosophically, torture is wrong, but he's not being appointed to the US Department of Philosophy. "If" your job is law-related, "then" your answer must come from that domain as well.

It was suggested the other day on Democracy Now that this is a trap question because if he answers that it is torture, then ewveryone involved with 3 documented cases of waterboarding, from front-line CIA and military personal all the way up to the Decider-in-Chief could be prosecuted for war crimes. If he answers that it is not torture, then he likely jeopardizes his nomination, not to mention the international political fall-out that would result.

steve s said...

What does the US Code say on torture? Is this an issue that needs to be addressed by the legislature first? He may be right.

As for war crimes prosecutions, I doubt this would happen no matter what torture is defined as. This typically only happens to people on the losing side. The US may have committed war crimes in WWII and the USSR certainly did. How many people from those countries were tried for war crimes?

Streak said...

We need to clarify that waterboarding meets the statutory definition of torture? We certainly didn't need to for the last 50 years. We knew it was wrong. This is a hedge by an immoral administration.

and Steve, the fact that the winning side wasn't prosecuted for war crimes says little about the morality or immorality of waterboarding. In fact, it says nothing.

ubub said...

Procedurally, isn't the AG charged with the task of interpreting existing law? At the state level, agencies request AG opinions and use them to guide operations of specific statutorily driven programs. It is less clear to me if the federal situation is parallel - do you know, Steve?

If the answer is that Congress needs to act before he can answer the question, might that not be a reasonable response itself? If US Code is silent on a definition of torture or does not speak to its legality or illegality, then I hope the nominee would make that case. It's still weaselly but may be well within the law.

One thing I missed on Democracy Now, and maybe they didn't even address it, was which court would have jurisdiction over war crimes prosecutions? I cannot imagine a US court taking this up, frankly, nor do I see the current admin recogning the authority of any non-US courts over these matters.

ubub said...

The Chicago Trib, a moderate-to-conservative paper, has a pro-Mukasey editorial at,0,2551273.story.

What is interesting to me is that the editorial itself laments the fact that Mukasey is being backed into a legal corner on a complex issue while it also notes that waterboarding is illegal under the 2005 McCain amendments, recently promulgated rules on interrogation, and the Army's own procedure manual. So, if a newspaper can find so many examples of why waterboarding is illegal, why can't the nominee for AG?

steve s said...

ubub, that is the point I was trying to make. It is my understanding the the AG is supposed to enforce the laws as written. I don't know what the US Code says on torture.

The war crimes thing would have to be tried by some international court or tribunal. I just don't see that happening.

ubub said...

But isn't enforcement predicated on the AG's own interpretation of those existing laws?
From that perspective, isn't it appropriate to ask a nominee what his/her view of the law is?

If plain language were enough we wouldn't have courts, so perhaps it is not as clear as many journalists make it out to be. That reasoning, though, leads me to find it appropriate to ask.

steve s said...

Yes, that is a very appropriate question and he should be able to answer it in the way you have suggested. If not, then he should withdraw himself from the nomination.

steve s said...

Well, I found it after a brief search. Torture is illegal under US Code. Look up 18 U.S.C. 2340

If I can find this, then he certainly can. The law is actually pretty clear.

Streak said...

I think this is all moot. Just heard on NPR that Shumer and Feinstein are going to vote to approve. Mukasey will be our next AG and the President clearly has protected himself from prosecution or oversight.

Just another in a long list of very sad days in this administration's evisceration of our system. Mukasey might be a good person, but he has clearly been instructed how to answer which means that he is certainly not going to go against Cheney. Feinstein said that at least he was not Gonzales. Yeah, that bar lowering thing has got to stop.

Bootleg Blogger said...

Streak- as soon as I heard about this on the radio I wondered if you'd have a chance to blog on it. I had to fight to keep the car on the road! This administration continues to sink lower and lower in elementary school grade level tactics- threats, tantrums, etc....

Your last point about it all being moot is, for me, the biggest concern of all. The dems have been spineless since they got a majority- from Pelosi's "impeachment is off the table" up until this latest cave to the repubs. It's bad enough to have the president that we have. It's even worse not to have a true opposition party.

Later- BB

Streak said...

BB, you are exactly right. The discussions comparing this to Watergate really reveal how weak congress has become. They can't force the President to do anything. The fact that we don't have a special prosecutor looking into anything is proof of that.