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

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The End Of America

You know, in a sane world the top story would not be who snubbed who at the State of the Union address, as if we're all eight years old. While the media looked the other way, human rights actually died on the vine in the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning.

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) said that he'd been getting the impression that Mukasey really thought about torture in relative terms, and wanted to know if that was so. Is it OK to waterboard someone if a nuclear weapon was hidden -- the Jack Bauer scenario -- but not OK to waterboard someone for more pedestrian information?

Mukasey responded that it was "not simply a relative issue," but there "is a statute where it is a relative issue," he added, citing the Detainee Treatment Act. That law engages the "shocks the conscience" standard, he explained, and you have to "balance the value of doing something against the cost of doing it."

What does "cost" mean, Biden wanted to know.

Mukasey said that was the wrong word. "I mean the heinousness of doing it, the cruelty of doing it, balanced against the value.... balanced against the information you might get." Information "that couldn't be used to save lives," he explained, would be of less value.

Biden responded, "You're the first I've ever heard to say what you just said.... It shocks my conscience a little bit."

So as long as we get some solid information, we can torture, be it waterboarding or thumbscrews or the rack or whatever. Because in every interrogation, you always know exactly what information you're going to get BEFOREHAND.

There's plenty more from this execrable hearing here and here and here. Basically Mukasey refused to support a ban on waterboarding, intimated that Congress hasn't weighed in on whether or not waterboarding is torture, and even refused to release details of the current CIA interrogation program. You can add in the fact that the Justice Department has been blocking a probe into politicization of the agency under Abu Gonzales to that if you so choose. And you recognize that these useful idiots on the Judiciary Committee got suckered, again. Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer figured it would be OK to clear the low bar of Abu G and give a guy who has now made a mockery of human rights the position. They legitimized torture and the breakdown of American values. They get abused again and again and again and it doesn't make a bit of difference.

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