Sarcasm doesn’t translate well to text, so let me say it right out: I’m being sarcastic. Michael Mukasey, the controversial attorney general candidate who refused to classify waterboarding as torture, was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday. Let’s allow Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer explain in his own words why this is okay (taken from C&L):
When Judge Mukasey came before the Senate judiciary committee last month he refused to state waterboarding as torture. That was unsatisfactory, that was wrong. That will be a blemish on judge Mukasey’s distinguished career for as long as he lives. But he has made it clear that if Congress passed further legislation in this area, the President would have no legal authority to ignore it…
This has to be one of the saddest, most pathetic statements I’ve ever heard, and that’s saying a lot. So, if Congress writes a new law that unequivocally states that waterboarding is torture, and if it gains majorities in both houses, and if it survives a Republican filibuster, and if Bush doesn’t veto it, and if Bush doesn’t just write a signing statement saying he’s going to ignore the law anyway, then our new attorney general will agree that pretending to drown someone to get information out of them isn’t really acceptable.
Schumer, and all the Democrats who voted for Mukasey, have just implicitly agreed that it is ambiguous whether or not a technique that was used to obtain confessions during the Spanish Inquisition is torture. They’ve also implicitly agreed that certain forms of torture are not prohibited under the U.S. Constitution.
Democrats, despite being heavily on the side of public opinion on matters such as these, continually cave because they’re afraid of being seen as ‘wusses’ when it comes to national security. I’m reminded of an old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, in which Calvin is being called a ‘wimp’ by the school bully for not signing up for school baseball. Calvin replies, “I’m not a wimp! In fact, I’m going to the office to sign up right now!” Standing at the coach’s door, Calvin then says to himself, “Then again, if I’m not a wimp, why am I taking the path of least resistance?”
Every Democrat who agreed to let torture become U.S. law by default is one of these wimps. Pathetic.