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Michael Mukasey's Nomination Has Been Confirmed by the Senate,
by a vote of 53-40. News story here.
GV_:
Despicable. I look forward to donating time and money to Feinstein's primary opponent.
11.9.2007 10:42am
Lively:
Glad to hear it.
11.9.2007 10:48am
DCL (mail):
You'd think the Dems could have at least insisted on a vote confirming that waterboarding is torture as a prerequisite for confirming Mukasey. This is the most spineless, disappointing Congress I could have envisioned. Why did we work so hard to gain control if we refuse to use it?
11.9.2007 10:59am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
You're right. They're spineless wimps. You should definitely work to get them all thrown out of office. I suggest supporting Cindy Sheehan for senate... she's exactly what you want, right?
11.9.2007 11:09am
PLR:
Conveniently missing yesterday's two roll call votes (the other one was the veto override of the water works bill): Presidential candidates Biden, Clinton, Dodd, McCain and Obama.
11.9.2007 11:09am
wfjag:
I suggest supporting Cindy Sheehan for senate...

Sorry Dan, she's not running for the Senate. She's running against the House Speaker (on the grounds that the Speaker is too conservative -- which might actually be believed in S.F.)
11.9.2007 11:24am
Phutatorius (www):
Boo! Hiss! Boo . . .

[glug glug glug -- gasp! -- heave! -- glug glug -- gasp!]

I mean, hooray!
11.9.2007 11:29am
PLR:
wfjag: Sheehan is running on the basis that Pelosi is not antiwar. It has nothing to do with Pelosi being too conservative.
11.9.2007 11:30am
Oren (mail):
PLR - I think you mean not anti-war enough. While I suppose I'm technically anti-war, I also realize that W has dug us into such a shit-hole that it might take some finesse to dig ourselves out.

As far as Mukasey goes, I hope the process hasn't embittered him too much.
11.9.2007 11:52am
EH (mail):
You're right. They're spineless wimps. You should definitely work to get them all thrown out of office.
I'm starting to wonder what would happen if we had a wave of amateurs in Congress.
11.9.2007 11:54am
DDG:

You'd think the Dems could have at least insisted on a vote confirming that waterboarding is torture as a prerequisite for confirming Mukasey. This is the most spineless, disappointing Congress I could have envisioned. Why did we work so hard to gain control if we refuse to use it?


They could, you know, pass a law declaring waterboarding to be torture or otherwise banning it. And then it would definitely be illegal. But the Dems won't do that, of course, because then waterboarding vanishes as a political issue. They want to have their cake and eat it too.
11.9.2007 12:33pm
PLR:
Oren: If Pelosi is antiwar at all, it's only by word and not deed. I don't mind a plan that is more thoughtful than Disappear Overnight, but Pelosi has produced absolutely nothing but status quo.

DDG: Waterboarding is already illegal. You should read this fine blogsite more often.
11.9.2007 1:00pm
KeithK (mail):
The Dems never really had a chance to vote down Mukasey. Schumer has supported him from day one, which gives him enough votes to pass. All of the fuss about waterboarding aside, he remains a very well respected jurist with appropriate experience who deserves the support of Schumer, Feinstein, etc.

The only chance to defeat the nomination would be to prevent a vote. But doing so would provide plenty of justification for a recess appointment. So this was basically a fight the Democrats were not going to win. All they could do was get as much political mileage out of the fight as possible. They probably succeeded in that.
11.9.2007 1:03pm
KeithK (mail):
PLR:

Oren: If Pelosi is antiwar at all, it's only by word and not deed. I don't mind a plan that is more thoughtful than Disappear Overnight, but Pelosi has produced absolutely nothing but status quo.

No, Pelosi is anti-war but is faced with the challenges of actually governing with a small majority. Given the number of freshman, conservative Dems in her coalition, a strong anti-war stance that would truly satisfy her home constituents just isn't possible. Besides, any such action would be vetoed by the President anyway.
11.9.2007 1:06pm
PLR:
KeithK: I'll give you that Pelosi was saddled with Rahm Emanuel's handpicked freshmen hawks, and that as a leader she may have to act in ways that diverge from her own feelings and those of her constituents.

There are some things Congress can do that could not be vetoed, but there doesn't seem to be enough testosterone for such measures.
11.9.2007 1:15pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Sorry I messed that up. My only defense is that I try to avoid paying attention to anything she does.
11.9.2007 1:25pm
bittern (mail):
If teh Congress refuses to pass multiple overlapping and conflicting laws defining what is and what is not torture, they're not doing their jobs. First a law specific for waterboarding. Then one for drawing and quartering. Then one for fingernails. Otherwise, how is the CIA supposed to have a clue? We need more statutes. It's all Clinton's fault. I mean, Pelosi's.
11.9.2007 1:44pm
NatSecLawGuy:
This was a despicable vote on the part of Democrats in Congress. If anyone should hopefully carry with them the idea that when information is lacking one should not be vindictive it is the Attorney General of the United States. Based on that fact alone that he could not say waterboarding is torture we have this result. Despicable. I just am glad it ended up not sacking the guy.
11.9.2007 1:49pm
DDG:
PLR: you should pay attention. No, waterboarding is [i]not[/i] illegal per se. Torture is illegal (and, pursuant executive order, may not be used on enemy combatants). But whether waterboarding is torture under the law is not clear. That's the point.

Congress, could, if it wished, wave its magic legislative wand and declare waterboarding illegal. But it hasn't for purely political reasons -- so it could, e.g., play politics with this nomination.
11.9.2007 2:01pm
PLR:
NatSecLawGuy: To be fair, if it was despicable it was only due to the six Democrats who predictably voted to confirm (treating Lieberman as a Democrat), not the Democrats as a whole. Not one Republican Senator balked at confirming him.
11.9.2007 2:09pm
PLR:

PLR: you should pay attention. No, waterboarding is not illegal per se. Torture is illegal (and, pursuant executive order, may not be used on enemy combatants). But whether waterboarding is torture under the law is not clear. That's the point.

Bullshit. If you have authoritative sources with actual legal precedent to the contrary, please provide same.
11.9.2007 2:19pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Not that I have any intention of engaging you on the issue, PLR, but it's a little amusing that the link behind your "bullshit" claim is titled "Waterboarding used to be a crime"
11.9.2007 2:39pm
PLR:
Daniel Chapman, the amusement you feel is most likely admiration for an unnamed headline writer's use of the literary device of verbal irony. I also admire it, but it doesn't change the legal issue addressed in the piece.
11.9.2007 3:01pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
There's nothing ironic about the headline. The article is a historical summary, and therefore the headline uses the past tense.
11.9.2007 3:09pm
DCL (mail):
And the article refers to the fact that what was settled precedent under domestic and international law has apparently been overturned by fiat by Yoo, Gonzales, Rumsfeld, and Cheney. That we are even have to debate whether waterboarding is torture shows how depraved we have become. I'm ashamed to be an American.
11.9.2007 3:35pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ddg: "They could, you know, pass a law declaring waterboarding to be torture or otherwise banning it."

You could, you know, educate yourself on the subject (say, by reading prior comments). Then you would know that it's already illegal. As plr pointed out.

"whether waterboarding is torture under the law is not clear"

Only to those who think that waterboarding is magically something other than a form of asphyxiation. Or those who magically think that asphyxiation does not entail the threat of imminent death.

This has all been documented in prior threads. Please take a look. If you insist on posting nonsense, please at least try to make it new nonsense that we haven't seen before.

natsec: "If anyone should hopefully carry with them the idea that when information is lacking one should not be vindictive it is the Attorney General of the United States."

Waterboarding has been considered a form of torture for centuries. It's also a felony violation of US code, along with UCMJ and GC. You should explain what "information is lacking." Actually, all that's lacking is a basic respect for the rule of law (not to mention morality).

daniel: "There's nothing ironic about the headline. The article is a historical summary, and therefore the headline uses the past tense."

You're implying that there was a substantive change in the legal environment that made waterboarding no longer a crime. But there hasn't been. The only change is that we now have a president who considers himself above the law. And a bunch of authoritarian admirers who endorse this perspective. Like Mukasey. And you.
11.9.2007 3:48pm
bittern (mail):
Oh DCL, don't be ashamed to be an American. Try to be ashamed about something you did or didn't to. It makes for a better story. :-)
11.9.2007 3:49pm
bittern (mail):
Jukeboxgrad,
There may indeed have been a substantive change in the legal environment that made waterboarding no longer a crime. As DCL says, domestic and international law has apparently been overturned by fiat by Yoo, Gonzales, Rumsfeld, and Cheney. Whether there is legal ramification to this sort of torture remains to be seen. I don't think there's much question that neither torturer or torturee is going to be quite the same again.
11.9.2007 3:59pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
If the Administration brought back the rack (assuming that they haven't already done so), perhaps Daniel Chapman could explain what it means if a disgusted pundit writes "racking used to be a crime"? And DDG will write that "racking is not illegal per se", pointing out their is some dispute whether the rack really constitutes torture.

Drop the pretense, OK? A lot of stupid people feel safer knowing torture is between them and life under Islamofascism. Such beliefs used to be expressed in German, and not about Islam.
11.9.2007 3:59pm
Maureen001 (mail):
Acceptable alternative?

The situation has been posed during debates about whether waterboarding would be an acceptable tactic to presidential candidates if used against captured terrorists in the instance where intel says a nuclear attack is imminent in a US city and information necessary to defending against that attack is believed to be known by one or more captured terrorists. Given that not-so-unlikely scenario, what approach would be acceptable to obtain the information necessary to protect the citizens and residents of this country to those in opposition to waterboarding?

Would it be O.K., say, to unfetter some pharmaceutical companies to come up with an actual "truth" serum? Reality is that there is no such thing. Sodium pentothol, which is nicknamed "truth serum" has the side effect of loosening inhibitions, which in some people causes them to speak freely, but this does not compel recipients to spill the beans.

Would it be O.K. to do a "Mission Impossible" scenario (i.e., trick the terrorist into thinking he/she is talking with a kindred soul under some sort of crisis scenario)? Would that cause the "severe mental pain" as stated in US Code Title 18 and render it a no-no?

Minimum sentencing under US Code 18 calls for payment of a fine OR imprisonment. Would waterboarding be O.K. with y'all if a fine is levied and paid? Under our judicial philosophy of paying for your crime and then rejoining our law-abiding society, that should make it O.K., right?

Please don't ignore the question I've posed. We want our elected officials to make everything right, but we don't offer the solutions and somehow magically expect them to come up with them. But we're supposed to be a citizen-government, so start helping, please. What should be done in the above instance?
11.9.2007 5:03pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
maureen: "Under our judicial philosophy of paying for your crime and then rejoining our law-abiding society, that should make it O.K., right?"

Please pay attention to the earlier threads. Several people have made interesting comments about this point, summarized here.

"Given that not-so-unlikely scenario"

I don't accept your premise. As far as I can tell, no one has shown proof that torture has ever saved a single life. Therefore it's a bit fanciful to imagine it saving a very large number of lives.
11.9.2007 5:13pm
wfjag:
jukeboxgrad

Waterboarding has been considered a form of torture for centuries. It's also a felony violation of US code, along with UCMJ and GC. You should explain what "information is lacking." Actually, all that's lacking is a basic respect for the rule of law (not to mention morality).

PLR

Waterboarding is already illegal. You should read this fine blogsite more often.


Actually, both of you should read this fine blogsite more often (or, at least, more carefully and completely). See Orin Kerr, October 23, 2007, comment titled "Mukasey, Waterboarding, and Public Opinion:" and the discussion to it.

"Waterboarding" is a "prohibited activity" under the current Army Field Manuel. A Field Manuel is NOT a regulation and its violation is NOT a crime under the UCMJ. Any Army interrogator using waterboarding would have had to have received an order not to use it -- so the crime would be disobeying an order or some other offense under the UCMJ (like battery, Conduct Unbecoming an Officer, or something else). However, waterboarding, by itself, is not a crime.

It is also not defined as an offense under the US Code provisions, and fails to meet the standards for a criminal offense.

When the Military Commissions Act was being considered by the Senate, SEN Kennedy offered an amendment which would have made waterboarding a crime. The amendment was defeated.

Last time I checked, US law didn't allow prosecutors (civilian or military) to make up the definition of a crime because they don't happen to like the conduct. Congress has to define conduct which is criminal. As to waterboarding, it has failed to do so, but members of Congress take every opportunity to grandstand to the press on this issue.

If you think waterboarding should be a crime, call your Congressmen and tell them to stop grandstanding on the issue and to enact laws do that.
11.9.2007 5:23pm
Kelvin McCabe:
I thought the speaker of the house could decide which bills come to the floor for a vote?? If she is really anti-war, cant she simply not bring or allow war funding bills to get a vote? Won't the money run out? Wont troops have to come home then? The president cant veto a bill that doesnt exist! The override votes are then irrelevant. Is this not the power of the purse?

I know i know, she will be labeled as being against the troops by the repubs. Who gives a flying sh*t. She is being labeled against the troops for KEEPING THEM IN IRAQ by her own party. Republicans werent going to vote for her anyway. And now, all she has left to lose is her own base, which she is well on her way to losing. Good! The Dems are spineless, they are not committed to ending the war, they have not stood up to this administration in any meaningful way, they consistently cave on important issues and get outmanuevered consistently. In a nutshell, they are completely worthless. The only real question is whether this can be changed in the near future, or as some like me suggest, this is another sign that the two party system has completely failed, "We The People."
11.9.2007 5:26pm
Maureen001 (mail):
jukeboxgrad: I have read those threads. Did you purposely miss my point or was I not clear enough? I am NOT arguing the illegality of waterboarding. I am not passing moral judgment on its practice or lack thereof. I am asking two things:
1. US Code 18 allows for payment of a fine when someone is convicted of torture. Does that make it O.K. to you, someone who points to the statute as explanation for why waterboarding should not be done, provided the offender turn himself/herself in, be convicted, and fined, say, $10?
2. What alternative do you find acceptable?

The "not-so-unlikely scenario" I was referring to was the possibility of a nuclear attack in one of our cities. Do you think that unlikely? Really?
11.9.2007 5:43pm
Maureen001 (mail):
Bringing this back to the thread of the topic, there was expressed expectation of both some Senators and some posters on this website that Michael Mukasey should have declared himself on the issue of waterboarding. I am taking issue with those who insist on shooting things down without ever offering up something in its stead.
11.9.2007 5:46pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
wfjag: "both of you should read this fine blogsite more often"

The one who's blithely ignoring prior discussion is you.

"A Field Manuel is NOT a regulation"

No one said it is. We don't need to refer to the "Field Manuel" to know that waterboarding is a crime.

"waterboarding, by itself, is not a crime"

How tiresome. Waterboarding is a form of asphyxiation. Asphyxiation entails the threat of imminent death. US Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113C establishes torture as a felony, and defines it, among other things, as "the threat of imminent death." And this is aside from UCMJ and GC, which also outlaw torture, and define torture in a manner that clearly encompasses waterboarding. And keep in mind that there is a long history of US courts defining waterboarding as torture (pdf).

"When the Military Commissions Act was being considered by the Senate, SEN Kennedy offered an amendment which would have made waterboarding a crime. The amendment was defeated."

How tiresome. By the logic you're using, the application of electric shock and burning are now not a crime. This is explained in detail here.

By the way, one of many facts you're ignoring is this: DOD ruled that waterboarding is a violation of UCMJ. This is explicitly acknowledged in a once-secret DOD legal memo. A discussion about that memo (including a link to the memo) is here.

"If you think waterboarding should be a crime, call your Congressmen and tell them to stop grandstanding on the issue and to enact laws do that."

If you think waterboarding shouldn't be a crime, call your Congressmen and tell them to repeal the existing treaties and statutes which clearly define it as a crime. As it is, you're simply condoning lawlessness.
11.9.2007 5:47pm
GV_:
wfjag, you're about two weeks of republican talking points behind.

Torture is a crime under U.S. law. I'm not going to provide the site -- or explain why waterboarding meets the statutory definition -- because you've no doubt seen that 30 times before and ignored it already. Likewise, the Ted Kennedy argument has been debunked several times as well.

I think the most recent Republican talking point is to rely solely on the ticking-time-bomb scenario outlined above. I'd stick with that one. It will be at least a few weeks before it runs its course.
11.9.2007 5:51pm
GV_:
Okay, jukeboxgrad is clearly not as fed up as I am, since he actually provided the cite and explaination that I was too lazy to type out again.
11.9.2007 5:55pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
maureen: "Did you purposely miss my point or was I not clear enough?"

The latter. And you're still not being clear enough.

"US Code 18 allows for payment of a fine when someone is convicted of torture"

I don't know what you mean by "allows." You seem to be suggesting that "when someone is convicted of torture" the statute provides a way for them to buy their way out of prison. Really?

"Does that make it O.K. to you, someone who points to the statute as explanation for why waterboarding should not be done, provided the offender turn himself/herself in, be convicted, and fined, say, $10?"

Only if the offender has a convincing story to tell about how they became sure that this was the only way to save lots of lives, and that they did indeed save lots of lives.

"What alternative do you find acceptable?"

As I said, I think that question was already answered, here. If you have a problem with what was said there, please be more specific.

"I was referring to was the possibility of a nuclear attack in one of our cities. Do you think that unlikely? Really?"

Did you purposely miss my point or was I not clear enough? It turns out that I do think "the possibility of a nuclear attack in one of our cities" is rather unlikely. But that isn't the claim I made. The claim I made is that it's unlikely that torture is going to save lives (in that situation or any other situation). Do you really not understand the difference?

"I am taking issue with those who insist on shooting things down without ever offering up something in its stead."

I am taking issue with those who pretend that nothing was offered up even though something was offered up.
11.9.2007 6:05pm
Maureen001 (mail):
Instead of flipflopping all around this, let's just look at the pertinent section of US Code:
TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 113C > § 2340
§ 2340. Definitions
As used in this chapter—
(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;
(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
(C) the threat of imminent death; or
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and
(3) “United States” means the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the United States.
§ 2340A. Torture
(a) Offense.— Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.
(b) Jurisdiction.— There is jurisdiction over the activity prohibited in subsection (a) if—
(1) the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or
(2) the alleged offender is present in the United States, irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged offender.
(c) Conspiracy.— A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.
*******
It seems clear to me that the definition given for torture includes waterboarding. But it also says that the penalty for torturing someone may be a fine. I asked you whether your "24" scenario could be an instance when a minimal fine would be justified for waterboarding someone, and you thought it would be O.K. only if the offender has a convincing story and lots of lives are saved. So, if the information is obtained, but too late to stop the terrorist act and lives are not saved, or if only some lives are saved, you think the offender should be locked away for 20 years? You think their sentence should be contingent upon the outcome, but not the act? Am I reading you correctly?

You keep referring to your same post as if it provides any sort of alternative to waterboarding or other form of coercion. It does not. It says, in essence, "I don't know of any instance where torture saved lives, therefore it doesn't", President Bush should plead a mea culpa, and an offender could always hope for a presidential pardon. Nope, no alternatives offered there.

I really hope you are right that you think it unlikely we will suffer any domestic terrorist attacks, but I fail to see what you base your optimism on. President Bush? It doesn't seem likely. Inability or perhaps humanity of the terrorists? Hardly.

You are as much a member of this citizen-government as any other US citizen. You've enjoyed the armchair quarterback position that allows you to find fault with what is being done without having to contribute any workable ideas of your own. You are as responsible for the status quo as those you fault. And you are not alone. There's a great number of people just like you who have the attitude that what happens to this country, in this country, or on behalf of this country is somehow divorced from them personally. Hogwash and codswallop. It's your right to criticize what others are doing, but it's your dam* responsibility to come up with something better if you don't like it.

Oh, and jukeboxgrad, don't you find it curious that the statute refers to those outside the United States?
11.10.2007 4:27am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
maureen: "You think their sentence should be contingent upon the outcome, but not the act?"

I think both should be taken into account. But the key point is that a court considers the evidence and makes a decision. As tarheel said, than at least "there is accountability (either criminal or democratic) for the decision to take extra-legal action."

"you think the offender should be locked away for 20 years"

You can (and I guess you will) ask hyphothetical questions all day long about whether I think Sentence X would be appropriate in Situation A. But then what about Sentence Y in Situation B. What's your point? I've already stated the general principle that I find appealing.

"You keep referring to your same post as if it provides any sort of alternative to waterboarding or other form of coercion. It does not."

It's not that it provides "any sort of alternative to waterboarding." What it does is suggest that there can and should be "accountability (either criminal or democratic) for the decision to take extra-legal action."

"I don't know of any instance where torture saved lives, therefore it doesn't"

I'm not claiming that torture has never saved a life, or could not possibly save a life in the future. I'm merely noticing this interesting phenomenon: there appears to be an absence of proof that torture has ever saved a life (even though there are a lot of people who would he highly-motivated, for obvious reasons, to find and present such proof). This tends to suggest that those who imagine this as being likely to happen in the future, on a grand scale, are being a bit hysterical.

"Nope, no alternatives offered there."

An alternative has been offered. I realize you don't like it (for reasons you haven't explained very clearly), but that's not a basis to claim it hasn't been offered.

"You've enjoyed the armchair quarterback position that allows you to find fault with what is being done without having to contribute any workable ideas of your own."

I've read through your rants several times, and I'm still looking for the part that's packed with "workable ideas of your own." Maybe you can help me find it. Because you're certainly no "armchair quarterback," right?

"don't you find it curious that the statute refers to those outside the United States?"

No. We already have domestic protections that are stricter. The point of the statute is to extend those protections (in a weaker form) around the world.
11.10.2007 7:38am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
After reading a lot on this subject (here and elsewhere), I have to say that the best summary was offered by andrew:

A lot of stupid people feel safer knowing torture is between them and life under Islamofascism. Such beliefs used to be expressed in German, and not about Islam.
11.10.2007 7:38am
GV_:
Maureen001 -- assume we captured a terrorists who knew where a nuclear bomb was about to go off. Also assume we captured his three daughters, aged 5, 10, and 15. We've tried everything to get him to talk, but he won't. If someone knew that raping and brutally killing his 5-year-old daughter in front of him and then threatening to do the same to his 5 and 15 year old would get him to talk, would you condone that decision?

This is all silly. This isn’t how the real world works, and there’s no reason to make policy based on situations that are so absurd that they would only happen on a TV show.

The real purpose of these hypotheticals is to start people down the slippery slope. Well, what if we were only 50% sure he knew the relevant information? What if it weren’t a nuclear bomb, but a normal bomb in a crowded area? It’s a slippery slope once you start trying to draw arbitrary lines. I’d rather have a bright-line rule: no torture, period.

It’s sad that so many Americans have turned into such a weeping pile of mess that they’re ready to condone acts of barbarianism because they’re afraid. What kills me about Americans who condone torture or who want to have us fight the hardest to keep the “terrorists over there” is that they’re typically sitting in some small shithole of a city in the mid-west or the south. I find it very telling that the cities that are the biggest terror targets -- New York, D.C., LA, Chicago, and San Francisco -- are full of people who are most opposed to this administration and its war mongering.

Our founding fathers thought some moral principles were worth risking their lives over. It’s sad that we, as a country, are now so willing to cast aside important moral principles because it has the faintest chance of saving lives.
11.10.2007 10:37am
Geesh:
I think this is the best part of Mukasey's confirmation.. if this story is accurate, Democrats sold his confirmation for some pork for Louisiana :)


According to Senate aides familiar with the behind the scenes negotiations, conservative Republicans backed off a threat to raise a point of order against Landrieu's money because Democrats agreed to give attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey a quick vote.


Politico
11.10.2007 12:32pm
Smokey:
"As far as I can tell, no one has shown proof that torture has ever saved a single life."
heh.

Anyone who can say that with a straight face is certainly in need of this [formally endorsed by Dennis Kucinich, no less]. No wonder Maureen001 is running circles around the namby-pambys so effortlessly.

[And no, I'm not anyone's buttboy, much as they wish it. Do your own research, while I sit back and laugh.]
11.10.2007 6:23pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey: "running circles around the namby-pambys"

Us "namby-pambys" can tell the difference between a serious answer and a dumb joke. The best you can do is the latter, which tends to confirm my premise: no one can show proof that torture has ever saved a life. Not even a single instance, and not even regarding a single life.

Those who fantasize about this happening on a massive scale have been spending too much time playing with their Jack Bauer dolls. What a big surprise that the network guiding your reality is Fox.

"Maureen001"

I asked her to describe her "workable ideas," since she was accusing others of not having any. Since that question was posted, she's been making the sound that crickets make. Her style seems to be hit-and-run, just like yours. As I've already pointed out, you're a coward and a hack who routinely ignores what you cannot refute. You have an odd idea of what it means to be "running circles around" someone.
11.11.2007 10:21am
Maureen001 (mail):
jukeboxgrad:"...there appears to be an absence of proof that torture has ever saved a life (even though there are a lot of people who would he highly-motivated, for obvious reasons, to find and present such proof)..."

This is a leap of logic that takes you right off the I-don't-know-therefore-it-ain't cliff. Who exactly do you suppose would be in possession of such information, and why do you think something as grave as torture (and yes, I believe the descriptions I have read of waterboarding fit the definition of torture, as stated in the US Code) would be openly shared? You've mentioned both the President and Vice President as having something to gain by sharing data on torture saving lives, if they had it. And yet these two are the very people who cannot responsibly give out that kind of information! Nor could the military leaders who might have the facts. You want chapter and verse on intel of the highest security without showing one bit of ability to comprehend and recognize it in the context in which it might occur -- you want results, and they'd better be the results you want -- or else!

The process by which someone might be tried for breaking laws related to torture exists, so when you call for that to happen, the means to do so is already there. Most people, including yourself, acknowledge that there is the possibility torture could be necessary to prevent widespread catastrophe. We are at war with an enemy who has yet to back off, throw up its collective hands, and say "Oops. Pardon me. I screwed up when I attacked you repeatedly. Won't happen again." I don't like the idea of torture; I believe there is a sacrifice of a bit of humanity for the ones who have to resort to it, and I don't see it being ordered lightly. But I also don't see an alternative. The true appeal of a "24" scenario is that Jack Bauer does what he has to in order to gain the means to save the country; no one has to order him to do it and it's a verified bad guy he does it to. The US Code says Bauer pays a price for breaking the law when he does what he does, and you are comfortable with that, but most of the viewing audience finds that wrong on some level -- that, and the personal toll it takes on him, is what makes Jack Bauer a sympathetic character. But enough of LaLaLand.

In my initial post on this topic I wondered about short-cutting drug research into an actual "truth serum" and the possibility of head-tripping a terrorist. I asked for some brain-storming because I believe in the Collective Intellect, meaning people as a group are able to problem-solve much better than small select target groups. Part of my experience in life was to serve as a public official. I found most naysayers, regardless of the issue, don't bother to offer alternatives. I am asking for alternatives, but you've only offered status quo. So far, you don't fail to disappoint.

GV: The real purpose of hypotheticals is to acknowledge that there are circumstances where torture would reasonably be considered. Name one person who would say, "Naah! Let my child die horribly, but don't dare torture a terrorist." You're asking for learned ethics to trump natural instinct, in this case, self-preservation. Not going to happen, and unless some alternative method of gaining necessary information arises, the possibility of having to use torture stands. Alternatives will ONLY come about if some effort is put forth, even and especially by those who disagree with torture.

I find it ironic that some of the loudest complainers about what the military and its watchdog, government, does are those who feign an inability or lack of desire to take control and have input into viable options. It's not their responsibility, it's ours because in this country we are them. This schizoid artificial division the us-vs.-them crowd promote is deletorious to our self-preservation and it needs to end.
11.12.2007 7:46pm
Maureen001 (mail):
jukeboxgrad:"...there appears to be an absence of proof that torture has ever saved a life (even though there are a lot of people who would he highly-motivated, for obvious reasons, to find and present such proof)..."

This is a leap of logic that takes you right off the I-don't-know-therefore-it-ain't cliff. Who exactly do you suppose would be in possession of such information, and why do you think something as grave as torture (and yes, I believe the descriptions I have read of waterboarding fit the definition of torture, as stated in the US Code) would be openly shared? You've mentioned both the President and Vice President as having something to gain by sharing data on torture saving lives, if they had it. And yet these two are the very people who cannot responsibly give out that kind of information! Nor could the military leaders who might have the facts. You want chapter and verse on intel of the highest security without showing one bit of ability to comprehend and recognize it in the context in which it might occur -- you want results, and they'd better be the results you want -- or else!

The process by which someone might be tried for breaking laws related to torture exists, so when you call for that to happen, the means to do so is already there. Most people, including yourself, acknowledge that there is the possibility torture could be necessary to prevent widespread catastrophe. We are at war with an enemy who has yet to back off, throw up its collective hands, and say "Oops. Pardon me. I screwed up when I attacked you repeatedly. Won't happen again." I don't like the idea of torture; I believe there is a sacrifice of a bit of humanity for the ones who have to resort to it, and I don't see it being ordered lightly. But I also don't see an alternative. The true appeal of a "24" scenario is that Jack Bauer does what he has to in order to gain the means to save the country; no one has to order him to do it and it's a verified bad guy he does it to. The US Code says Bauer pays a price for breaking the law when he does what he does, and you are comfortable with that, but most of the viewing audience finds that wrong on some level -- that, and the personal toll it takes on him, is what makes Jack Bauer a sympathetic character. But enough of LaLaLand.

In my initial post on this topic I wondered about short-cutting drug research into an actual "truth serum" and the possibility of head-tripping a terrorist. I asked for some brain-storming because I believe in the Collective Intellect, meaning people as a group are able to problem-solve much better than small select target groups. Part of my experience in life was to serve as a public official. I found most naysayers, regardless of the issue, don't bother to offer alternatives. I am asking for alternatives, but you've only offered status quo. So far, you don't fail to disappoint.

GV: The real purpose of hypotheticals is to acknowledge that there are circumstances where torture would reasonably be considered. Name one person who would say, "Naah! Let my child die horribly, but don't dare torture a terrorist." You're asking for learned ethics to trump natural instinct, in this case, self-preservation. Not going to happen, and unless some alternative method of gaining necessary information arises, the possibility of having to use torture stands. Alternatives will ONLY come about if some effort is put forth, even and especially by those who disagree with torture.

I find it ironic that some of the loudest complainers about what the military and its watchdog, government, does are those who feign an inability or lack of desire to take control and have input into viable options. It's not their responsibility, it's ours because in this country we are them. This schizoid artificial division the us-vs.-them crowd promote is deleterious to our self-preservation and it needs to end.
11.12.2007 7:46pm
Maureen001 (mail):
Sorry for the double post. The air card sometimes seizures.
11.12.2007 7:47pm