Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

November 3, 2007

Mukasey and Waterboarding

Filed under: politics — codesmithy @ 10:18 am

There are very few issues where the right thing to do is unambiguously clear. Torture is one of those issues. Waterboarding is torture. It is a technique that makes the victim think they are going to drown. Not in some twisted action movie sense that you’ll know you’ll really be fine at the end, or some amusement park ride just for fun. You are strapped down, blind and water is pored over your mouth and nose so you cannot breath. It doesn’t stop, until you talk or you die.

Have people died after being subjected to this? Quite possibly, although it is doubtful the government will ever honestly acknowledge it. Our leaders will not clearly define torture. They will not say waterboarding is torture. They will not say if the government has waterboarded anyone.

Torture is defined as following in U.S. Code:

1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;
(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
(C) the threat of imminent death; or
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and
(3) “United States” means the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the United States.

The U.S. has waterboarded people.  I want to make this especially clear, if any senator votes to confirm Mukasey, a man who will not define torture now and if prior Attorney Generals are any indication will not be more forthcoming in the future, they are effectively endorsing torture as a matter of U.S. policy.  There is no “good German” defense for this.  We cannot honestly claim “we didn’t know.”  We do know.  We knew, and we did nothing to stop it.  Installing Mukasey as Attorney General is installing a future war criminal in the eyes of the world.

Don’t give into Bush’s threats.  Force him to nominate someone who will clearly define torture, and if he refuses, let the post sit empty.  It should serve as a symbol that there has, in fact, been little justice under this President.  Failure to do so should weigh heavily on everyone’s conscience.

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