The current flap in the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the president’s attorney general nominee, Michael Mukasey, is marked more by the pusillanimous conduct of the committee democrats than anything else. Only one of the ten democrats ever served in the military – Kennedy, back in the 50s. Headed by Senator “Leaky” Leahy, the democrats are positing their approval/disapproval on the subject of water-boarding, an interrogation technique about which everyone has an opinion with reference to torture.
The democrats want Mukasey to say that water-boarding is torture, and Mukasey simply says he doesn’t know if it is or not. The matter has nothing to do with the Justice Department unless and until a specific case regarding it must be handled. Providing an opinion beforehand is something that the democrats – or at least most them, as lawyers – would not do, but they hassle Mukasey for not doing that. That is a pusillanimous copout, since the senators could easily introduce a bill in Congress to specifically outlaw water-boarding, and be done with it. It would pass in the democrat-controlled Congress and the president would then sign or not, and the matter would go to the courts, as it should.
Water-boarding neither kills nor even injures a subject of an interrogation. It is scary, but CIA operatives undergo the procedure themselves as part of their training. So do military personnel who stand a considerable risk of capture. Mukasey has written the committee to the effect that the interrogation technique is “over the line” and “repugnant” on “a personal basis,” but added that he would need the “actual facts and circumstances” to strike a “legal opinion.”
At a time when Muslim jihad-mongers are willing to lop off heads or commit all sorts of other trauma, such as hanging burned and mutilated bodies from a bridge superstructure (American Blackwater employees in Iraq), the matter needs to be judged not a propos a military/Geneva Convention protocol but from one relating to animalistic cruelty. Al Qaeda operatives are not part of an army, do not wear uniforms, and mutilate/assassinate non-combatants (women and children in the marketplace or office-workers in the WTC and elsewhere in the U.S. on 9/11) as their main method of “fighting” for a cause. They deserve to be hanged, after a thoroughgoing flogging or a bit of bone-breaking, so water-boarding them is an act of mercy. Sadistic animals are routinely put to death in this country, but the lawmakers have qualms about the tender mercies vis-à-vis terrorist assassins who blow innocent people apart.
The democrats on the committee aren’t interested in protecting the precious rights of the terrorists not to be treated the same way as their innocent victims. They’re interested in bogging down the administration and are hell-bent on using every procedure available. Holding Mukasey’s nomination hostage is just like Kennedy’s committee currently holding hostage the nomination of Dr. James Holsinger to be surgeon general, ostensibly unsatisfied with his views regarding homosexuals, but actually just thumbing the president’s eye. Holsinger once stated the obvious, to wit, that anal and oral sex can be gangbusters to one’s health, terribly politically incorrect, of course. The big thing in the hallowed chambers of the Congress now is the “investigation/hearing” as modus operandi for hamstringing any progress in governing, and this will be the case through the elections next year.
As things get better in Iraq – though this is by no means guaranteed despite the current upswing – the democrats will try harder to undermine the administration. The elections may well turn on whether or not the president has been right about the Middle East, and currently he seems to be vindicated by the “surge” and the new strategies in place there. Voters will recognize results, just as they already are bored to tears with the whining of Senate Majority Leader Reid and the “I’m great because I’m a grand-mom” approach by Speaker Pelosi, as if men don’t give a fig about children and everyone else.
The president said the other day that Mukasey doesn’t even know if water-boarding is being carried out (classified information); that he doesn’t want to offer an opinion that could legally jeopardize U.S. interrogators; and doesn’t want the terrorists to know what may or may not be done with them when the little darlings are caught. That should be good enough for “Leaky” and the gang (sounds like a rock group), and they should pass the nomination out and let the chips fall where they may, but do they have the intestinal fortitude? Nah!