As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, November 02, 2007

DiFi Hearts Torture

Make no mistake, at this point, a vote for Judge Mukasey is a vote for torture.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Dianne Feinstein of California say the will support Michael Mukasey's nomination to be attorney general. Both are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

They did the old Friday-afternoon get-out-of-Dodge news dump on it, too. Guess DiFi learned a lot on that Air Force One ride with George.

Michael Mukasey has refused to explain whether waterboarding is torture. Allowing him to be the nation's highest law enforcement official means sanctioning that opinion at the highest levels. Worse, Mukasey's views on executive power - believing that the President has unenumerated powers in wartime - sanction official lawbreaking at the highest levels, and emasculate Congress in their attempts to do anything about it. DiFi just eliminated her need to show up at the office.

UPDATE: A bit more here.

In announcing her support for Mukasey, Feinstein, D-Calif., said "first and foremost, Michael Mukasey is not Alberto Gonzales," referring to the former attorney general who resigned in September after months of questions about his honesty.


Wow, the standards of government have gone completely into the toilet.

UPDATE II: John Dean:

Nixon’s Attorney General had been removed (and was later prosecuted for lying to Congress) – a situation not unlike Alberto Gonzales’s leaving the job under such a cloud. Nixon was under deep suspicion of covering up the true facts relating to the bungled break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate, not to mention widespread rumors that he had engaged in abuses of power and corrupt campaign practices. Today, Bush is under even deeper suspicion for activities far more serious than anything Nixon engaged in for there is evidence Bush has abused the laws of war, violated treaties, and ordered (or approved) the use of torture and political renditions, which are war crimes.

Since Judge Mukasey’s situation is not unlike that facing Elliot Richardson when he was appointed Attorney General during Watergate, why should not the Senate Judiciary Committee similarly make it a quid pro quo for his confirmation that he appoint a special prosecutor to investigate war crimes? Richardson was only confirmed when he agreed to appoint a special prosecutor, which, of course, he did. And when Nixon fired that prosecutor, Archibald Cox, it lead to his impeachment.

Before the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee completely cave-in to Bush, at minimum they should demand that Judge Mukasey appoint a special prosecutor to investigate if war crimes have been committed. If Mukasey refuses he should be rejected. This, indeed, should be a pre-condition to anyone filling the post of Attorney General under Bush.

If the Democrats in the Senate refuse to demand any such requirement, it will be act that should send chills down the spine of every thinking American.

This group of Senators couldn't hold the jockstraps of their 70s counterparts, that's the bottom line. I've been saying this ever since Mukasey was nominated. They should have exacted a price for confirmation. Instead, it's another in a long line of caves.

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