Friday, November 09, 2007

Wrong on torture

Despite the fact that he won't give a straightforward opinion that nearly drowning someone is torture, Michael Mukasey has been confirmed as US Attorney General in a surprise vote in the US Senate. Worse, as Glenn Greenwald points out, leading Democrats voted for him even though they claimed to be opposed to torture and Mukasey's stand:

The most amazing quote was from chief Mukasey supporter Chuck Schumer, who, before voting for him, said that Mukasey is "wrong on torture -- dead wrong."

A commentator at Daily Kos puts it this way:

This is a watershed moment. It's now possible to be "wrong on torture" and survive. Not just survive, though. Thrive. Win high office. Be the chief law "enforcement" officer of the United States of America.

What standard does this set? What practices, if any, are and will forever be out of bounds?

Chuck Schumer's logic is just another step toward the day when campaign ads of the future will deliver as a straight line the news that the opposition is, "Wrong on cannibalism. Wrong for America."

One does wonder what is wrong with America's political leadership. The Democrats had the votes to stop this appointment but were content to pose for the cameras.

I'm not sure this was a watershed moment, though. I'd pick the passage of the Military Commissions Act.

What this vote shows is that this drift toward dictatorship will not just slowly run out of steam. The American people will have to do something to stop it.

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