Friday, November 02, 2007

Can I Be Attorney General Now? - Bush: No Mukasey, No Attorney General - : WASHINGTON — President Bush sought to save Michael Mukasey's troubled nomination for attorney general Thursday, defending the retired judge's refusal to say whether he considers waterboarding torture and warning of a leaderless Justice Department if Democrats don't confirm him.

"If the Senate Judiciary Committee were to block Judge Mukasey on these grounds, they would set a new standard for confirmation that could not be met by any responsible nominee for attorney general," Bush said.

Hey, wait a minute. I can meet that standard. I can say, unequivocally, that waterboarding is torture. Especially after reading this article by a guy who actually does it. Malcolm Nance has the unenviable job of waterboarding candidates for the US Navy SEALS. Why? To teach them how to resist...say it with me...TORTURE. His assessment of the technique?

1. Waterboarding is a torture technique. Period. There is no way to gloss over it or sugarcoat it. It has no justification outside of its limited role as a training demonstrator. Our service members have to learn that the will to survive requires them accept and understand that they may be subjected to torture, but that America is better than its enemies and it is one’s duty to trust in your nation and God, endure the hardships and return home with honor.

2. Waterboarding is not a simulation. Unless you have been strapped down to the board, have endured the agonizing feeling of the water overpowering your gag reflex, and then feel your throat open and allow pint after pint of water to involuntarily fill your lungs, you will not know the meaning of the word.

Waterboarding is a controlled drowning that, in the American model, occurs under the watch of a doctor, a psychologist, an interrogator and a trained strap-in/strap-out team. It does not simulate drowning, as the lungs are actually filling with water. There is no way to simulate that. The victim is drowning. How much the victim is to drown depends on the desired result (in the form of answers to questions shouted into the victim’s face) and the obstinacy of the subject. A team doctor watches the quantity of water that is ingested and for the physiological signs which show when the drowning effect goes from painful psychological experience, to horrific suffocating punishment to the final death spiral.

Waterboarding is slow motion suffocation with enough time to contemplate the inevitability of black out and expiration –usually the person goes into hysterics on the board. For the uninitiated, it is horrifying to watch and if it goes wrong, it can lead straight to terminal hypoxia. When done right it is controlled death. Its lack of physical scarring allows the victim to recover and be threaten with its use again and again.

Nance recalls meeting a victim of the technique from Cambodia:

He told his interrogators everything they wanted to know including the truth. They rarely stopped. In torture, he confessed to being a hermaphrodite, a CIA spy, a Buddhist Monk, a Catholic Bishop and the son of the king of Cambodia. He was actually just a school teacher whose crime was that he once spoke French. He remembered “the Barrel” version of waterboarding quite well. Head first until the water filled the lungs, then you talk.

So, again. I can say it clearly. Waterboarding is torture. Ask the guy who does it.

Seeing as how I can meet the standard the Congress has set, I am ready to take my position as Attorney General of the United States.

Your move, Mr. Bush.


pattinase (abbott) said...

How can anybody doubt this is torture? We are barbarians or at least have put them in charge.

Anonymous said...

You also meet Sen. Feinstein's major qualification of not being Alberto Gonzales.

LongHairedWeirdo said...

Yeah, this bugs the hell out of me. There's only one thing I have to wonder about... was Mukasey ever known to be batshit crazy before? Is there anything in his record that shows that he could look torture in the face and say "naw, that's not torture!" in order to suck up to his boss (using "suck up" in the most derogatory fashion possible, naturally)?

On the one hand, Bush has shown an uncanny knack of finding truly evil people who will do what he wants.

On the other hand, if I were in Mukasey's shoes, I'd probably say the same thing he's saying. It'd be the only way I could become AG, and thus, the only way I could try to clean house.

I consider this the functional equivalent of hoping Santa Claus puts coal in Bush's stocking on Christmas, which makes him repent.

At the same time, it seems we're stuck with Mukasey, and giving up in total despair isn't an option.

What bothers me about all of this crap is that so many people are treating this as normal... felonies by the President, torture, and the Constitution turning into the last square on the toilet paper roll, that gets torn off in strips just to fill out the pad you need.