October 21, 2007
Torturing Logic

At a meeting of former White House speechwriters last week I learned that my old boss, Jim Fallows of The Atlantic, has a blog on the magazine’s site. Here’s an excerpt from a recent post:

On crucial points, Mukasey's second-day testimony amounted to a request that he and the Administration be trusted to do the right thing. Nothing against him personally, but the time for trust has passed. Unless Mukasey explicitly repudiates the most abusive parts of his predecessor's (and his President's) record, the Senate would be negligent and reckless to approve him.

A specific point: the "waterboarding" outrage. As is now becoming famous, Mukasey said this, when asked by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse whether waterboarding was constitutional:

“I don’t know what is involved in the technique,” Mr. Mukasey replied. “If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional.”

Either way you slice it, this answer alone is grounds for rejecting Mukasey. If he really doesn't "know what is involved" in the technique, he is unacceptably lazy or ill-informed. Any citizen can learn about this technique with a few minutes on the computer…”

So, if Mukasey was telling the truth in this answer, he is too lazy for the job. If he was lying, he's too dishonest.

Jim seems to think that proven laziness and dishonesty disqualify a man for high office. They don’t, not in a democracy. Take Bush’s reelection. Please.

If Mukasey is even remotely interested in the technique of waterboarding — which is doubtful, ignorance being bliss — he can read a first-hand account from a survivor right here on Bad Attitudes. And below is a helpful diagram, from 16th century Antwerp.


watrbrd.jpg

Webding3.jpg

Posted by Jerome Doolittle at October 21, 2007 02:13 PM
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I didn't know you worked with Fallows, but it's not surprising, he's one of my favorites. I syndicated his blog a couple of months ago, and would have sent along the URL had I known. He's been doing some very educational blogging from China.

Mukasey says, "If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional." So if waterboarding is not torture, then torture is constitutional? Or is this a "definition of ‘is’" parser, implying a "then" between the two "torture"s that he doesn't really mean?

Fallows is right about Mukasey, he's either lazy or dishonest, and it's pretty clear which. But Bush is not going to appoint anyone who's qualified to any job, most especially the one that might be tasked with prosecuting his folks.

Posted by: Chuck Dupree on October 21, 2007 5:26 PM

Hell, a simple Google™ image search will show the idiot pictures of waterboarding!

Posted by: SPIIDERWEB™ on October 21, 2007 8:26 PM

Thanks for the reminder that it is a method of the Inquisition. We tend to forget that, as though new language made a new modus operandi.

Posted by: Martha Bridegam on October 22, 2007 11:56 PM
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