Friday, October 19, 2007

Mukasey Confirmed

Michael B. Mukasey has not yet been confirmed as Attorney General, but his most recent testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee (on 10/18/2007) have confirmed that he is indeed the "moral idiot" that I described earlier.

Asked whether "waterboarding" (the controlled drowning of detainees to obtain information) might be constitutional, Mukasey answered (evasively) that, "“If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional.” Mukasey either does not know, or does not care, that a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, was tried and convicted of war crimes in 1947, and sentenced to 15 years hard labor, because he waterboarded a U.S. civilian during the second world war.

Just as troubling (or perhaps more troubling) is that Mukasey adheres to the view that the President as commander-in-chief under Article II of the Constitution can ignore the laws enacted by Congress under Article I of the Constitution. So electronic surveillance carried out on the orders of the President might be legal even if prohibited (and made a criminal act) by the laws enacted by Congress. According to Mukasey, “The president is not putting somebody above the law; the president is putting somebody within the law.”

Or, as Richard Nixon put it, ""When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal."

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