A recent letter to the editor of the Deseret News implied that in wartime anything is permissible--including waterboarding--to protect ourselves. The letter writer said
We are at war. We have to win, whatever it takes. You sit in your safe, little ivory towers and postulate about the ethics of waterboarding and how we will be viewed by others. If I have to protect my children, my grandchildren or my great-grandchild by waterboarding the enemy, bring me the garden hose.I disagree. All wars are ultimately based in morality. In other words, immoral acts from one party to the war are the impetus for the other party to justify suicide bombings and other terrorist acts as moral. Which is where the United States largely finds itself today.
During the Senate confirmation hearings for Michael Mukasey, Senator Patrick Leahy and Mukasey had a conversation about torture
The panel's chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked Mukasey about the use of torture tactics in his first round of questions. Leahy called a 2002 Justice Department memo that allowed torture in some circumstances "one of the greatest stains on the history of this country."Later in the conversation, Mukasey stated
"we don't torture, not simply because it's against this or that law, or against this or that treaty. It is not what this country is about. It is not what this country stands for. It's antithetical to everything this country stands for."Yet, later in the hearings, he said that he was not sure whether waterboarding is torture.
In a letter to senators last week, Mr. Mukasey said the practice of waterboarding was “repugnant” but added that he could not judge its legality until he had been given access to classified information about interrogation techniques.But the Senate Judiciary Committee approved him anyway! Charles Schumer and Diane Feinstein voted in favor, and the committee vote was 11-8.
How can a nominee to become attorney general not know whether waterboarding is torture? That, in and of itself, should disqualify Michael Mukasey for the office. The ACLU found that
The federal Anti-Torture Act; the federal War Crimes Act which, even as amended by the Military Commissions Act, bans acts such as waterboarding;I often disagree with the ACLU, but I don't in this case. Michael Mukasey is not qualified to be Attorney General of the United States.
"While we support legislation to put the entire government, rather that just the Defense Department, under the Army Field Manual on Interrogations, waterboarding has long been a crime," said Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel for the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "Other than administering electric shocks or using the rack, it is hard to find a more clear-cut form of torture than waterboarding."