Rudy Giuliani made a bit of a splash (oooh… bad pun) by announcing at a campaign forum that he was not sure that waterboarding was actually torture. Oddly enough, one of the mitigating factors against it being torture for Giuliani is who is doing the waterboarding. So evidently, if the Iranians had waterboarded the captured British sailors last summer that would be called torture, but if our intelligence agents are waterboarding the five Iranian captives we took in Kurdistan last spring that would not be torture.
Senator John McCain responded to Giuliani’s prevarication’s thusly:
€œAll I can say is that it was used in the Spanish Inquisition, it was used in Pol Pot€™s genocide in Cambodia, and there are reports that it is being used against Buddhist monks today,€
I suppose this is the perfect time to point out that Giuliani would obviously agree that those examples do constitute torture, because those were not American interrogators. It’s like McCain is trying to make Giuliani’s point or something!
Regardless of those pesky technicalities, McCain seems to have a certain belief that waterboarding is torture. So some enterprising journalist needs to ask how, or even if, McCain intends to vote on the nomination of Mike Mukasey for Attorney General.
Mukasey’s nomination has hit a bit of a snag with Mukasey being sent a letter from leading Senate Democrats asking that he clarify his belief on whether or not waterboarding is torture. I for one find it difficult to believe that the Democratic leadership is not taking Mukasey’s “massive hedge” as prima facie evidence that he will not end the practice. But they are extending the clock on his answer, giving Mukasey every opportunity to get it right, and trying their best to forgive and forget Mukasey’s transparently wrong headed response to the question.
The entire world, except for Republican koolaid drinkers, knows that waterboarding is torture. How is it that Mukasey and Giuliani evidently have the same wrong headed opinion? It turns out that these two have a history with each other, to the point that Mukasey has promised to recuse himself from any matter dealing with Giuliani if he is confirmed as Attorney General. Mukasey’s son works at Giuliani’s law firm. So when Giuliani was asked about his take on waterboarding being torture, he was echoing his pal Mukasey in yet another massive hedge on the question.
I highly suspect that Mukasey’s response to the Democrats letter on waterboarding will only extend his past obfuscation. So if the response is anything other than a flat out rejection by Mukasey of waterboarding as torture, can McCain in good conscience vote to confirm him as Attorney General. I know that the Presidential candidates are missing lots of votes while they campaign, and I suppose that will be one out for McCain. But if he really feels strongly about this issue (which is a big if considering McCains support the the MCA last year) how can he justify missing that particular vote. If this issue is as important to McCain as it should be, he will make a point of voting against Mukasey.