Rudy Giuliani’s old pal, Judge Michael B. Mukasey, is having a harder time than anyone thought before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Late in life, he is learning that when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.
Fear of opening the door to criminal or civil liability for torture or abuse, whether in an American court or in courts overseas, appeared to loom large in Mr. Mukasey’s calculations as he parried questions from the committee this week. Some legal experts suggested that liability could go all the way to President Bush if he explicitly authorized waterboarding …
Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the committee’s top Republican, said at a hearing Wednesday that any statement by Mr. Mukasey that waterboarding is torture could fuel criminal charges or lawsuits against those responsible for waterboarding.
“The facts are that an expression of an opinion by Judge Mukasey prior to becoming attorney general would put a lot of people at risk for what has happened,” Mr. Specter said.
Exactly so, Arlen. Sadists who knowingly order and/or allow the infliction of illegal and medieval torture belong in jail. The list includes, but is by no means limited to, George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, John Yoo, I. Lewis Libby, Jr., John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Porter Goss, and Michael Hayden.
It also includes the low level bullies who actually carried out their orders. Following illegal orders is itself illegal, as we should have learned from Nuremberg.